Hello, my name is Mike Rask and I am honored to serve as Chairman of the Board for the Security Traders Association in 2018. This will be my 20th year involved in STA, most of that time has been with the Dallas STA affiliate. I have had the privilege of working for Hodges Capital in Dallas, TX for the past 13 years where I am the Director of Trading. Like you, I am on the front lines of this great industry everyday; on the trading desk, executing trades on behalf of clients who have placed their trust in us. Our industry is constantly evolving and truly unique for its ability to connect people across the nation and around the globe.
STA is a unique financial services industry group with more 250 industry professionals who volunteer their time serving on any one of the 24 affiliate boards across North America. While our membership is primarily traders of equities and options from buy-side and sell-side firms of every type, we are proud to also have individuals from technology, exchanges and compliance among our ranks. Our membership is diverse and we do not push any single business model. STA’s core strengths remain its diversity and 85 year history which dates back to the Securities Act of 1934. We are truly a grassroots organization that strives to ensure our markets protect the interests of investors and remain the most liquid in the world.
From time to time, I am asked why am I involved in STA? My answer is simple. It is my belief that people who are employed in a professional vocation, as we are, should be involved in a trade group or association that represents their vocation. For those of us with carriers related to trading, STA is the best way that I have found to stay up to date on proposed legislative and regulatory changes in our industry, to monitor current issues and industry trends, network with industry peers and to give back to this great industry that has provided each of us with employment.
The securities industry is a constantly changing industry. We are in the midst of several legislative and regulatory changes that will affect our industry for years to come, including MiFID II, Consolidated Audit Trail and a potential pilot to study access fees.
As our industry absorbs these changes we hope you’ll look to STA as a resource for obtaining the facts and when appropriate, providing a voice. Please know that as we work with regulators we will recommend they pay attention to due process and follow certain principles that we believe have proven sound over the decades. Some include that rules need to be clearly written and balance competition with regulation. Regulators should make use of comment periods and pilot programs that provide the data needed for making changes. Incremental changes are best because they limit unintended consequences. Cost/benefit analysis need to be conducted. We will encourage solutions that do not favor any one business model or platform, but rather benefit our entire marketplace and industry as a whole and foster investor trust, integrity and capital formation. Additionally, I want to remind you that this is a grassroots organization. We want to hear your opinion and viewpoint on these issues as they develop throughout the year.
Throughout 2018, we will keep our members up to date on industry-related issues in a variety of ways. We will publish our monthly newsletter, which will provide updates on issues affecting our industry. This newsletter is a “must read” for all industry participants. We also send out short thought-provoking stories called “Taking Stock.” We will have periodic conference calls that you can join in on with subject matter experts. We also put out periodic press releases on significant news items that are of interest to our members.
Planning is already underway for our 85th Annual National Market Structure Conference, which will take place October 3 – 5 in Washington DC. We anticipate having more than 600 attendees present to hear two days of informative content. This is a “must attend” event for anyone in our industry.
As we go through 2018, I encourage each of you to get more involved in this great industry of ours. Attend a conference, make a new contact, learn, speak up, be proactive, be positive and remember that this is still a people business.
Wishing you a happy and productive 2018.
January Newsletter here