The Spread: Coronavirus Causes Conference Cancellations

Matt Raebel

Matt Raebel


This week on The Spread – FIA Boca and OIC canceled due to coronavirus concerns, and record-smashing options trading and clearing volumes crash Robinhood, but not the OCC.

Produced by Mike Forrester.


Welcome to The Spread, I’m Matt Raebel. 

The big story for the past few weeks has been the coronavirus, which has now led to the cancellation of both FIA Boca and the Options Industry Conference, so it looks like JLN’s planned escape to the sandy beaches of Boca Raton and Puerto Rico are a no-go. Chicago’s got beaches, too, but I probably won’t be heading there before at least June unless I decide to take up ice fishing. 

The big guy John Lothian published a write-up on the Boca cancellation a day before news of the OIC cancellation hit. Although the Boca cancellation was unprecedented, John wrote that FIA made the right call. I’m gonna say here and now that the OIC also made the right call; I was looking forward to the event, but I’m looking forward to not catching a potentially deadly virus even more. 

The MIAX Futures Exchange was recognized at the WSL Awards – no, I don’t mean the World Surfer League, but that would be super impressive. The Fund Technology and WSL Awards recognized MIAX for “Most Innovative Technology” for the second year in a row. MIAX also set new records for executed options volume in February as the stock market plunged farther than any time since ‘08. 

MIAX wasn’t the only one setting records during the late February equity market crash; the CME Group and Cboe also had record-high options trading volumes during that week. While that was going on, the trading app Robinhood suffered a crash of its own; instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, this Robin Hood tripped and knocked itself unconscious, spilling everyone’s money all over the floor. Robinhood’s popular trading platform suffered a complete outage at the height of the trading frenzy, which its CEOs blamed on an “unprecedented load” of trading activity that caused the platform’s software to shut down for several days. On the flipside of that, the OCC cleared more options contracts in a single month than it ever had before – over 40 percent of which were cleared in the last six trading days of the month. Apparently over 90 billion order messages were sent between the OCC and various exchanges on Tuesday, and then over 100 billion were sent on Friday. Throughout all of that, the OCC’s systems held steady, setting new records for, among other things, most order messages sent in one day. 

One more thing before we wrap up for this week: even though the Options Industry Conference is cancelled, the OIC is still raising money for World Central Kitchen, so if you haven’t already, check out their website to find out how to donate. We’ll put the link below this video on the site so you can find it easily. 

Anyway, stay healthy, stay cool – we’ll see you next week. Until then, happy trading.


Options Industry Conference – Fundraising – World Central Kitchen

2020 Options Industry Conference Cancellation

A Reporter’s Story About the Boca Cancellation

MIAX Exchange Group Reports February 2020 Trading Results and New Records; Recognized for Most Innovative Technology for Second Year in a Row at Fund Technology and WSL Awards; Tom Jarck Joins Exchange Group as Volatility Products Specialist

Options Thrive As Markets Nosedive

OCC February Total Volume Up 60.7 Percent from a Year Ago – Highest Volume Month Ever for U.S. Equity Options Industry

Message traffic skyrockets in U.S. equity options markets

Down $52,000 in a day: Furious Robinhood customers want payback following the app’s two day outage

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