Opening Remarks (about Leo Melamed) by CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo before FIA Annual Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida, March 14, 2018
“Thank you. Good morning. Thank you, Walt. It is great to be here at FIA’s 43rdInternational Futures Industry Conference. It is certainly the one annual event that brings together all participants in the global derivatives markets.
So I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to all of you about our work at the CFTC. Thank you for your attendance.
There is a comment attributed to Isaac Newton. He said that, if he saw farther than others, it was because he stood on the shoulders of giants.
Today, I can’t help but think of one of the giants of the derivatives industry: Leo Melamed. We all see farther because of Leo. Many of you know Leo. Some of his colleagues and friends are here today. We have all, directly or indirectly, been influenced by him.
Leo is the Chairman Emeritus of the CME Group and one of the central figures in American commerce and trade. He has just announced his retirement. In the world of derivatives, he has been a leader who shaped and guided our thinking. In electronic commerce, he actually took us into a new world. He is often called the “father of financial futures.”
Leo Melamed’s vision, brilliance, and accomplishment have spread out from Chicago to include the entire world, a world that began for him with harsh clarity through escaping with his family from Nazi-invaded Poland. Then, the stuff of legend: crossing wartime Siberia by railroad and then by boat to Japan, crossing the Pacific by ship only months before Pearl Harbor. He and his family eventually found safety in America. From there, he stumbled into the world of finance by mistake, yet by pluck and hard work, he thrived and conceived great innovations in trade and commerce. He founded and chaired the NFA from 1982 through 1989, and provided direction and guidance of the Chicago Merc as it grew into one of the great institutions of American finance.
Leo has been a grand figure striding the world’s financial landscape. A consummate professional, a creative visionary. And, what I admire most: a fearless believer in the promise of tomorrow.
Leo dared to define his own future, not have it defined for him. When he started out in Chicago seventy years ago, he found markets that were small, commodity based, and domestic. He leaves markets that are enormous, diversified and international.
And, we are here today - standing on Leo’s shoulders - participating in global derivatives markets that are legacy of a man who was not afraid to envision a brighter and more prosperous future. I dedicate my remarks today to Leo Melamed.”
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