A Decade of Events
On April 1, 2008, a new event organizer held it first gathering, at the Toronto Board of Trade in downtown Toronto.
Thomas Caldwell, founder and chairman of Caldwell Asset Management, delivered the opening keynote, followed by four panels populated by executives of trading firms, asset managers and exchanges. The conference — later renamed the Canadian Trading and Investing Summit — was about content and connections, as were all MM events held since.
Thomas Kalafatis, then a vice president of sales and trading for TSX Markets, spoke on the first panel.
“I knew Mohan and David (Markets Media CEO Mohan Virdee and Managing Director David Griffiths) from their prior work” at Euromoney and Financial News, Kalafatis, now a managing partner at Independent Trading Group Inc., said in November. “I supported them in the marketplace because I thought they did a very good job in bringing communities together. They have proven me correct over the last 10 years.”
Exchanges — the nexus of financial markets, where traders trade, tech providers plug in, and regulators watch — occupied a rapidly evolving space, both in terms of mergers and acquisitions as well as internal processes and business models.
“It was a period of change and disruption in the exchange space, not to mention the fact the markets were quite chaotic with the financial crisis looming,” Caldwell recalled. “There were many moving parts. Markets Media was one of the early groups, one of the few commentating mechanisms that really was on top of that at that stage of the game.”
Markets Media’s 2008 conference schedule was an ambitious one, with events in Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco in addition to Toronto.
There was some trial and error with content in the early days. To wit, the inaugural Global Markets Summit in New York offered sessions on currency fluctuations, renewable energy, and cleantech, in addition to the core topics of exchanges, dark pools, regulation, and institutional trading and technology.
The theme of disruption as a big draw for conferences was evidenced by the first Summer Trading Network event in July 2010. Held in New York, the event focused on high-frequency trading, one of the hottest topics on The Street. Manoj Narang, then-head of HFT firm Tradeworx spoke to an overflow crowd, and extra chairs couldn’t be brought in fast enough.
There have been many notable speakers at MM events over the years. These include Anthony Scaramucci, briefly the head of communications for President Donald Trump; Duncan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange; Barbara Novick, one of the original founders of BlackRock; and many head of trading at large buy-side and sell-side institutions.
To be sure, because markets change and today’s big trend can be a yawner of a topic tomorrow, conferences can get stale, especially in a crowded space. So conference organizers need to evolve their offerings.
After a few years, Markets Media focused on New York, Chicago, Toronto and later London as conference venues. Summer Trading Network took on a fintech theme; awards were added, both overall (Markets Choice Awards) and Women in Finance; and Global Markets Summit, the year-end affair, evolved into Markets Media Week, with separate events focused on trading in equities, fixed income, and FX.
Photos of many past Markets Media events can be viewed here.
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