Thank you all for being here today.
It is great being back in Chicago when the flowers are out and the ice has melted. I brought my family here last August to spend the weekend, see a Cubs game and enjoy the Air Show and it may have been the best weekends weather-wise of the summer. My wife—being a southerner from Louisiana—was literally ready to move here. Later, when I came back here in January, I texted my wife a picture of the frozen lake with the wind-chill in the teens and asked “Still want to move here?” With all kidding aside, this town in one of the best cities on the planet in the summertime.
My job today is to introduce our keynote speaker, but before I do, I wanted to talk a bit about this event and what it means to FIA.
FIA is proud to host this first-time event that focuses on the important and growing sector of the retail futures and options markets. As some of you may know, this event is the direct result of feedback from many of you in this room, and we want you to know we hear you and want to find ways we can better deliver value and content to our members. We hope to host similar events in the future that focus on this important segment.
Our conference today will look at issues related to the retail community with panels discussing how education, technology and product innovation can empower retail investors, whether its new products like cryptocurrencies or legacy products like equity options, FX and traditional futures.
I want to thank our sponsors: CME Group, TD Ameritrade and our partners CBOE, Charles Schwab Futures, E-Trade and TradeStation for their support in putting on this event. I also want to thank our moderators and panelists for joining us today and sharing their insights.
Today, as we witness the continued digitization and globalization of trading, we are also seeing the greater democratization of our markets. Gone are the trading pits that once dominated this industry but also constrained it. Now people and companies around the globe can access our markets with the stroke of a keyboard or the swipe of a smart phone, irrespective of where they are located.
Nowadays, anyone with an Internet connection can create an account and begin their trading life. Such openness, however, has both potential and pitfalls. For example, the incredible growth of the cryptocurrency space has allowed ordinary people—and not just the privileged few—to become early investors in this asset class. This fervor also raises the likelihood of fraud and misconduct by those preying on ill-informed investors.
At FIA we believe that a well-educated and informed investor is key to stable growth in our markets, and it is a key theme we will talk about at this conference. This is one of the reasons why we partnered with CME, IFM and the National Futures Association on Futures Fundamentals, a free online eLearning platform designed specifically to educate those who are interested in our markets.
We also believe there is a necessary role for regulation and oversight by the NFA and the CFTC in order to ensure integrity and fairness throughout the marketplace. The more you know, the more you can identify investment opportunities and protect yourself against those who want to separate you from your money.
Before I conclude, while today’s event is unique for us, we hope it won’t be the last. We are looking for future partnerships where we can host additional events that are more tailored to this part of the investment community and we welcome your feedback on that front.
With that, I am pleased to introduce Chicago resident Andrew Busch to be our featured speaker today. In April of last year, CFTC Chairman Chris Giancarlo named Andy to be the agency’s first Chief Market Intelligence Officer. Part of this role includes producing a popular financial podcast aimed at educating the public on the agency, its rules and the marketplace it serves. Mr. Busch comes to this role from the boutique economic research company he founded, Bering Productions Inc. (BPI). Mr. Busch also served as the Global Currency and Public Policy Strategist at the Bank of Montreal, where, among his roles, he advised the White House, US Treasury and Congress on the financial markets. Andy has also been a frequent commentator on CNBC.
Please help me welcome Andy to the stage.