FLASH FRIDAY is a weekly content series looking at the past, present and future of capital markets trading and technology. FLASH FRIDAY is sponsored by Instinet, a Nomura company.
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet.
While the omicron variant is proving much less severe than previous iterations of the virus, skyrocketing case numbers over the past couple weeks made it clear that 2022 would start out in two-steps-back mode in the ongoing quest for normalcy.
The first shoe in the trading industry dropped on Monday January 3, the first business day of the new year: the STAC Mid-Winter meeting was postponed.
“Due to a variety of uncontrollable factors, STA Chicago has decided to postpone their 96th Annual Mid-Winter Meeting, January 12-13,” the STA e-mail stated. “They are targeting to reschedule the conference for late Q1/early Q2. STA will communicate new dates once we have more information.”
STAC has always been a unique gathering, known largely for its non-stellar date and location: mid-January in Chicago, when temperatures typically struggle to get out of the 20s, and the sky is slate gray at best.
But it’s warm inside the Chicago Hilton. “This timing has proven to be a great way to jump-start the new year and engage members on new trends in the markets,” STAC President Michael Goetsch told Traders Magazine. “Our organization believes this is a great way to start to the year and if we can convince more than 450 industry professionals to come to Chicago in the middle of January, we can accomplish anything.”
Traders Magazine Editor recalls attending a STAC once five or six years ago when sleep was hard to come by because of the coughing and sneezing of the guy in the next room at the Hilton, and the trip was cut short by a day due to an impending snowstorm in New York.
But, note that this year’s STAC will be the 96th annual, which means the event is doing something right.
For one, the STAC event has virtually no competition, as most event organizers are barely finished catching up with their holiday emails on the second full week of the year, and events aren’t planned for another month at least.
Two, STAC is a decidedly non-pretentious event that doesn’t try to attract the most people with off-site outings or Instagram-worthy photo backgrounds at the poolside reception. Instead, it starts the year with solid content and networking around trading and market structure. Meat and potatoes.
“STAC wants to promote the interests of its members by providing leading content and programs along with a voice on matters affecting the markets,” Goetsch said. “At the same time, we feel it is important for us to give back to our local Chicagoland community. As one of the largest affiliates, the STAC Mid-Winter Meeting is a unique event as we attract industry professionals from across the country to start the year with discussions reflecting on the past year and visions for the future.”