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All posts by: Elise Fleischaker

FinTech Exchange 2017 Puts the Focus on Data

Last week, hundreds of financial and technology professionals, including myself, gathered in Chicago for Barchart’s third annual FinTech Exchange. The event focuses on technology specifically for the markets and trading. The theme each year has evolved to reflect timely topics. As Barchart CEO Mark Haraburda shared in the John Lothian Newsletter, this year’s content was “focused on data, the way data is delivered, the way data is stored, the way data is analyzed and visualized as well as the new types of data in the alternative data space.”

While the attendees and presenters came from all over, Chicago’s presence was the strongest—not only because the conference is held there, but because Chicago has become an epicenter of fintech innovation.

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Report from FIA Boca 2017: Clear Skies and Sunshine

Another FIA Boca conference (#FIABoca) is in the books. Despite a snowstorm that hit the midwest and east coast, creating travel challenges for many, about 1,100 attendees from a record 25 countries eventually made it to the historic “pink resort” to gain insight from industry thought leaders, network with connections old and new, and soak in the Boca Raton scene and sun.

Boca 2017 was sentimental for all of us at Trading Technologies because it marked the two-year anniversary of the TT® platform’s launch. Our CEO Rick Lane shared how watching the TT platform grow over the past two years was in many ways like raising his twin two-year-old toddlers: “In many ways, the milestones they’ve achieved in their second year of life mirror the same of the technology platform in which TT has invested so much.” Read his full story in “TT at Two.”
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The Outlook for Fintech in Chicago: A View from FinTech Exchange 2016

If it seems you can’t go a day without reading something about the world of financial technology a/k/a fintech, you’re probably right. Fintech is on fire. Reports say global investment in financial technology has ballooned from $2.8 billion in 2012 to more than $22 billion in 2015. And the pace of investment is not slowing down: $5.3 billion flowed into fintech in the first quarter of this year, up 67% over the same period in 2015.

Fintech is certainly hot in Trading Technologies’ hometown of Chicago. According to World Business Chicago, our local fintech economy represents $25.9 billion in gross regional product and 123,156 employees from 8,412 companies.

Barchart recently brought together representatives from many of these companies to explore the latest technologies for financial exchanges and trading at the second annual FinTech Exchange.

I don’t think anyone was surprised that the event sold out. As Barchart’s Mark Haraburda explained in his opening remarks, Chicago isn’t just another fintech hub. What differentiates Chicago’s fintech ecosystem from other cities where fintech is strong, he explained, is the enduring leadership we have in the capital markets space. Mark said this became abundantly clear to Barchart’s team as they prepped for FinTech Exchange 2016 by attending events in other cities.

FinTech Exchange put a spotlight on some of these companies by giving more than 20 firms the opportunity to talk about their latest innovations and how they’re being used in the financial markets. Topics spanned from alternative data, artificial intelligence and deep learning to binary options, bitcoin and more. I walked away with a deep sense of appreciation for how our industry contributes to Chicago’s reputation as a leading fintech hub.

Here are some of my key takeaways.

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Rocking for ALTSO: Live at the Tech Tap

Last week at the TT Tech Tap, we hosted a sponsor-appreciation event for a terrific non-profit group called A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO). Several talented folks who have day jobs in our industry entertained the crowd with live music, and proceeds raised went to provide relief for the Nepal earthquake victims. We even got featured on Chicago’s WGN-TV news in a story about local Nepal fundraisers.

A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO)

You might have heard of ALTSO and their Rocktoberfest events, which take place each October in New York and Chicago. TT is proud to be associated with ALTSO and their mission of providing free orthopedic care to kids around the world who suffer from limb disabilities. Last week’s event was aimed at recognizing ALTSO’s many corporate sponsors while also attracting support from additional firms in the industry.

I sat down with two industry veterans and long-time friends, Chuck Mackie and Ray McKenzie, to talk about their personal involvement with ALTSO, the group’s mission, their upcoming events and how others can help.

Ray McKenzie, co-chairman of the ALTSO Chicago Rocktoberfest Committee.
Ray McKenzie, co-chairman of the ALTSO
Chicago Rocktoberfest Committee.

Elise: What can you tell us about ALTSO and how the group became connected to our industry?

Ray: ALTSO was founded by C. Mead Welles, who has worked for emerging market hedge funds most of his career and traveled frequently in the developing world. He was deeply affected by the children he saw on the streets of some of the cities he visited and wanted to find a way to really change their lives. Mead is a musician, and ALTSO started as a group of like-minded members from the financial industry getting together to perform for their peers to raise donations. With the proceeds raised for ALTSO, Mead was able to establish a global network of doctors and healthcare workers to truly transform children in need with free operations and prosthetic limbs for the life of the child up to age 18.

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