Boca Raton, Fla.— A record number of participants joined FIA at its 41st annual International Futures Industry Conference in Boca to consider the future of the industry. One-third of the 1,150 attendees were from outside the U.S. Participants included industry leaders and regulators from 27 countries and an exceptional lineup of speakers.
John Boehner, Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015, addressed participants at the ICE Energy Breakfast and spoke about U.S. elections and the economy before being inducted into the Futures Hall of Fame. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State, was the keynote speaker at the Optiver Power Lunch where she gave remarks that addressed current geopolitical challenges and the importance of rebuilding confidence in our markets.
FIA president and CEO Walt Lukken touched on the same theme in his opening remarks, in which he challenged participants to address this challenge by focusing on the industry’s core mission: “Our markets exist for the purpose of allowing businesses to hedge risks and focus their attention on growth and innovation and away from uncertainty and volatility. This connection to real economic needs is the reality that gave birth to these innovative markets more than 175 years ago. The key to unlocking our future is rooted in the economic footings that launched these markets, and which remain at the core of our mission today.”
That theme was echoed by CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad in his keynote address, in which he said that, “every day, farmers, ranchers, energy companies, and many other commercial businesses use the derivatives markets to deal with uncertainty in commodity prices, interest rates, stock prices, and foreign exchange rates.” He noted that uncertain times, “underscore the importance of our mission, which is to make sure these markets function with integrity and transparency, to facilitate competition, and to prevent fraud and manipulation.”
In an interactive session in which participants considered the future of market infrastructure, this idea was expanded, with delegates emphasizing the importance of a global perspective when considering regulatory and technological developments. Participants also noted that the industry’s success depends on diversification of participants across all layers—from exchanges to FCMs, to asset managers and market participants.
The Boca session built upon a membership survey that FIA conducted last year, in which 800 members responding from around the globe responded with more than 1,800 comments. While members nearly unanimously said that FIA is evolving in the right direction and more than 70% are optimistic about the future of our industry, members identified three key ideas that will impact our growth: regulation, risk, and resiliency.
Members said that clarity, consistency, and finality from the world’s regulatory bodies in order to enable our markets to function and grow. They also expressed concern about new regulatory risk, which comes from unintended consequences caused by regulation and the evolving market structure. But despite these challenges, members remain confident that the industry’s resiliency will continue to drive growth.
At FIA’s board meeting, directors voted on strategic objectives for 2016 that will address these themes, build on the industry’s strengths, and position FIA members for continued success. They included specific advocacy initiatives on capital requirements, CCP risk, third-country equivalence, regulatory scope, and market infrastructure efforts including cybersecurity and automated trading. They also emphasized the continued importance of strong commodity markets and a collaborative, inclusive industry approach to key challenges.
FIA’s next major conference is the 9th Annual International Derivatives Expo in London, June 7-8.