Posted by Cognito on Mon, Apr 14 2014

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Back in Paris for TradeTech with HFT at the top of the agenda

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Having been held in London for the last few years, TradeTech moved back to Paris in 2014, drawing in a larger continental European audience than in previous years. The event still attracted a vast number of UK firms – unmistakeable by the hordes of Londoners getting together on the Eurostar – to discuss the inevitable debates on high frequency trading (HFT) and transaction cost analysis (TCA) amongst other issues that are important to capital markets.

I don’t think anyone anticipated, however, that Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys was going to be the talk of the town. The conference got all the more exciting with the announcement that one of the book’s protagonists, Ronan Ryan of IEX was going to be beamed in via Skype for a chat. He was asked whether he thought the markets are being rigged by HFT traders who front run orders placed by investors, as the book suggests. Not all HFT firms are seen as pirates trying to rob the market, he said, but some are taking advantage of loopholes in the system.

A particular highlight of the event was when ex-FBI agent Joe Navarro took to the stage to close the first day and share his insights on the four dangerous personalities: the narcissist, the predator, the paranoid, and the emotionally unstable. Why is this relevant for the TradeTech audience? We live in a world built on interpersonal relationships and every person fits into one (or a cross-over) of these personality types. They will in some way affect your company. His advice: be observant of people’s behaviours.

There was a lot of discussion about a ‘new chapter’ for Europe. The financial markets are in a new era, said Dominique Cerutti of Euronext when he opened the two day conference and compared to the last five or so years, there’s been a strong awareness that financial markets are crucial to the economy and we’ve witnessed a shift amongst banks. A slow one but no less significant – which is evidence that Europe is certainly coming out of the global slump of previous years.

There was a real buzz around broader economic trends and how they are affecting the financial services industry. With an exciting line-up of speakers and a refreshed setting, the move back to Paris appears to have revitalised TradeTech and re-engaged the industry.

Written by Katherine Dvorkin

Events, TradeTech, Trading and Technology,
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