Next week is the CBOE Risk Management Conference, of all the events that are put on by different exchanges, associations and nonprofits, this is the only one that I absolutely refuse to miss.  Considering how great many great events there are, that is saying something but it is true for a multitude of reasons.

For starters I learn a lot.  Last year there were sessions on trading VIX futures, trading SPX options, and trading equity options that I put to use almost immediately after returning from the conference.   It’s amazing how in a closed environment, how much top traders and analysts are willing to share about the approaches to the markets.  One tidbit that I first heard last year at RMC was how skew was getting more and more bid in the SPX.  For those in the professional space skew movement between last March and this coming march has been a dominant theme in index trading.  Another piece that I found interesting was techniques to recognize shifts in volatility in the ‘selling volatility safely’ presentation.  The point is, I have been a trader for near 15 years now, and I learned some tricks.  In hindsight,  the keynote speaker last year made a comment on how just because the fed raises rates doesn’t mean long term rates have to go higher.  He was dead on.

This year I am looking forward to a few of the presentations.  Most notably intersections between Macroeconomic conditions and Volatility and just about everything on Track 1 on day two of the conference.  Additionally, I’ll be interested to see what news ‘leaks’ out of CBOE.  Last year a senior CBOE official confirmed we would see VIX weekly futures and options in 2015, the most important new products introduced to the market last year.

Another major reason I go is for the networking.  Last year I met with multiple people that I am starting to do business with only this year.  Unlike other conferences where it’s all ‘industry insiders’ there is no one classification of attendee.  There are pension funds, brokers, mutual funds, asset managers, vendors, and hedge funds all in one spot.  This might be the only conference where one particular group (buy side or sell side) hasn’t polluted attendance to the point of discouraging one group or another from showing up.  My guess is that when I get down there I will find someone that I either want to do business with via my hedge fund, my education and consulting company, or work with me in the media.  I may find myself, like last year a simultaneous buyer and seller at this conference.

Finally, the conference is just plain fun.  I get to see people I know, meet new people and enjoy good food and beverages.  On a personal level, I'll be wearing my ‘media hat’ which means I get to interview some of best sources of industry knowledge.  I will also be recording a few podcasts with my friend Mark Longo.  If you see me, stop me and if you want to be interviewed let me know and we can see if we can find a spot for you in our podcast series.

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