Daniel Day-Robinson has a big challenge in front of him. He wants the SFOA’s Burgenstock Conference to be relevant again. The new CEO of the Swiss Futures & Options Exchange took full control of the conference this year after partnering with the Futures Industry Association last year.
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Of course the FIA is the 800-pound gorilla of international derivatives conferences, with major global events in London, Chicago, Boca Raton and Asia, and is fully merging with the former FOA in the UK (now FIA Europe) and FIA Asia.
Did I say Day-Robinson has a big challenge in front of him?
But he has a plan to revitalize SFOA and its legendary conference and the mission of the SFOA.
The first thing is to go back to the roots of the conference by focusing on new products and markets. At one time, it was THE place to make big announcements. Eurex, the marriage of DTB and the Swiss Exchange, SOFFEX, was unveiled at Burgenstock. There is funny story about the CME’s electronic trading platform being announced there as well. Globex sounds so much better to Europeans than “Post Market Trading,” or PMT, it turns out.
With Geneva, Switzerland home to many international organizations, and a well-known neutral diplomatic centre, and headquarters for lots of physical commodities traders, Day-Robinson says he believes he has the perfect city to bring global leaders together.
He also wants to change the SFOA’s membership structure to be more inclusive. I know I would be a member if it was structured differently and more affordable. He aims to attract more physical commodity traders, claiming Geneva is home to half the global wet crude trading.
Another thing he wants to do is update the value proposition for the Swiss Derivatives Review, the SFOA’s thrice yearly magazine. A monthly edition online edition is now issued.
And he wants to address the name of the organization. The name Swiss Futures & Options Association is not as inclusive as he would like. At one time the word Commodities was in its name, so name changes have happened before.
Day-Robinson is trying hard not to compete with the FIA, but rather find a new niche SFOA can build on from its continental European perch. The future of the Burgenstock Conference is the item at stake, it would seem.
One idea for the conference is to attract a younger audience, he says, confessing that his generation has hung on for too long (I resemble that remark). He was a 27 year-old equities market maker with 40 year-old bosses at one time. Getting those types of market participants to the Burgenstock Conference would be a big win. He plans on featuring some young people on panels, finding new fun events and inviting some of the leading women from the industry to attend.
He says he wants to bring youth, diversity and more fun to Burgenstock.
Day-Robinson has good connections to younger people, as he is a director at a company called Global Training Group.
“GTG provides training in the finance, commodities & shipping sectors and Global Energy is an annual gathering of nearly 500 oil and gas professionals in Geneva, now in its 3rd year.”
We have invited Day-Robinson to be one of our speakers at the MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity in London in mid-October. That will get him in front of even more young people.
There is too much history at the Burgenstock Conference for it not to have a future. It is Daniel Day-Robinson’s challenge, but he has a plan. Now we will just have to wait for the conference in a few weeks to see if it will work.