Remarks of Craig Donohue, OCC Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – IOMA Opening Session
Thursday, April 12 8:30am
W Chicago City Center – Great Room 2
Welcome comments at opening session with Nandini Sukumar and Chairman Wu Qing
Good morning everyone.
I will not take too much of your time as we have a very full agenda for the next two days. However, I want to congratulate Chairman Wu and Nandini for putting together a very strong agenda that touches on some of the key issues facing the post-trade industry.
On behalf of my colleagues at OCC, I welcome all of you to Chicago!
Chicago is known for a lot of things. It has been called "The Windy City", not because of our climate but for our brand of politics. The great poet Carl Sandburg once described Chicago as "The City of the Big Shoulders". And if you are a knowledgeable sports fan, you will know Chicago also has been known as "the home of Michael Jordan."
However, Chicago also is known as a global financial center. It is home to CME Group and to the Chicago Board Options Exchange, two of the world's largest derivatives exchanges. It also is home to some of the most innovative financial thinkers on the planet. Since the Nobel Prize for economic sciences was created in 1968, nine Nobel Laureates have come from the great city of Chicago.
Of special importance to me is the fact that Chicago also is the home for my dear friend and colleague Leo Melamed, the father of financial futures and one of the most innovative financial thinkers of the 20th century! Leo has just announced his retirement after 50 years of leadership at CME Group and on behalf of our global industry.
When he was chairman of the CME in 1972, Leo revolutionized global financial markets with the innovative creation of the International Monetary Market, which became the first futures market for financial instruments and the launch of currency futures. Leo also led the charge for CME and the global derivatives industry with the introduction of other innovative financial derivative products, including Treasury bills, Eurodollars, and stock index futures. And I was very fortunate to work closely with Leo when CME launched Globex, the world's first futures electronic trading system.
But there is more to his story than just financial markets. Leo, who is a Holocaust survivor, found safety in the U.S. during World War II. His escape as a child from Poland with his parents took two years and spanned three continents, six languages, the Trans-Siberian railroad, and Japan, courtesy of a life-saving transit visa from the Japanese Counsel General to Lithuania. Leo's journey ended in the U.S. in 1941, and our country has been the benefactor of his wisdom ever since.
While Leo always said that the best ideas came from the Chicago open outcry trading floors, I always give him credit for having the vision to start Globex, and to keep fighting for it for so many years. It put CME and Chicago on the right path to capitalize on the global trend toward electronic trading.
I consider Leo to be not only my mentor, but a great friend who I have relied on for wise counsel and advice over these many years. To me, Leo Melamed epitomizes the great saying that Daniel Burnham once said of Chicago, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble. Logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency."
Please join me in thanking Leo Melamed for all of his contributions to our global economy and to the world of financial derivatives.
Chicago also is home to OCC, the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization, and what we describe ourselves as the foundation for secure markets. As with any global central counterparty, our purpose is to ensure confidence in the financial markets and the broader economy.
Our mission is straightforward: we promote stability and market integrity through effective and efficient clearance, settlement and risk management services. We also provide industry-leading thought leadership and education to market participants and the public about the prudent use of the products we clear. My colleagues John Davidson and John Fennell will be addressing some of these issues over the next two days.
And I am pleased that Nandini and I will have the chance on Friday morning to sit down Craig Phillips, who is counselor to Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, for a fireside chat on some of the key issues facing global financial markets.
So I thank you all for coming to the great city of Chicago for this important conference. I hope you find the conference to be beneficial, and I also hope you find your time in Chicago to be enjoyable!
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