Pocket ACES

Pocket Aces
by Chris Halverson, CAPIS
STA Chairman of the Board

As a parent of two inquisitive kids, I’m asked a variety of questions every day. Given my limited bandwidth, the interrogation can be a bit much and I sometimes revert to cliché’ d responses. It’s just human nature.

As a member of the Security Traders Association (STA), I’m often asked about the value of the organization. In other words, why join? What does STA provide its members? Back in 1999, I didn’t give the “value proposition” of STA membership much thought. I just liked the people. It was a great community of professionals and we all enjoyed each other’s company. Plus, at $100/year, membership was a bargain.

Having spent the past 20 years in this industry and serving on both the local and the National level, I have a new appreciation for the STA brand and where it fits in our professional lives. So what exactly does STA do for its members and the industry at large? The simple answer is ACES…Advocate, Communicate, Educate and Support. Given our industry’s love affair with acronyms, we thought this was appropriate, and maybe even a tad clever.

STA creates a sense of community that goes beyond networking and is a great resource for its members. Its value-add proposition is the product of teamwork by the 240 individuals who serve on affiliate boards and the thousands of individual members who support STA.

But ACES is more than an acronym. It’s the reason STA has thrived for the past 86 years. As a leading trade organization in a rapidly evolving industry, STA is uniquely positioned to help all individuals in the financial services community. That said, membership has additional privileges as we will always go the extra mile for STA members. Below is some background on how.

Advocate – STA advocates for its members in a variety of areas. With initiatives like Women in Finance and Student in Finance , we foster a culture of inclusion and help with the unique career development needs of women and the next generation. We recently launched the STA Job Re-entry initiative, or STAR, to assist displaced individuals who want to re-enter the financial services industry.  STAR provides useful information and tools to help them navigate the process.

Communicate – Through STA News , we regularly communicate relevant content with our distribution list of over 23,000 subscribers, including monthly newsletters, Taking Stock and Lighthouse articles, and Open Calls. We also routinely engage legislators and regulators about the important issues we encounter through comment letters and Talking Points. We have numerous calls and face-to-face meetings throughout the year in DC. Our members come from diverse backgrounds and business models across the U.S. and Canada. Consequently, STA is viewed as a trusted resource on market structure issues for our congressional and regulatory leadership and a valued news source for our members and the industry.

Educate – STA takes pride in being an unbiased educational resource. We host Open Calls and write thought-provoking newsletters. Committees and Working Groups within STA are comprised of subject matter experts from a variety of backgrounds (Market Structure, ETFs, Listed Options, Retail and Asset Management). These groups help us stay informed and allow STA to share news and issue comment letters in a timely manner. STA’s annual conference in Washington DC is a great example of our efforts to create networking opportunities at educational events. The 2019 Market Structure Conference had over 750 registrants representing 264 firms. It included 18 sessions of content and featured a diverse lineup of 62 presenters.

Support – We realize that our affiliate structure is what makes STA a true “grassroots” organization with national distribution capabilities. Therefore, we take pride in supporting each of our 24 affiliates and their members by offering additional benefits. In addition to hosting invitation-only monthly calls with affiliate boards to share information, we use our members-only newsletter, At-the-Midpoint , to distribute content, promote affiliate events, and support charitable causes. Our affiliates have a long history of giving back to their local communities. 

So what does all of this mean? Why is STA so important? In my opinion, STA creates a sense of community that goes beyond networking and is a great resource for its members. Its value-add proposition is the product of teamwork by the 240 individuals who serve on affiliate boards and the thousands of individual members who support STA. It remains something that we can all be proud of and deserves our efforts to ensure its existence for generations to come.

If you are not currently a member of STA, I encourage you to become one. Join your local STA affiliate. Dip your toe in the water. Get engaged and become a part of the STA community. Membership is still a bargain.

“In order to create something that lasts for generations, you have to inspire the next generation.”

– Kobe Bryant