Competing conferences

February 6, 2011 01:04 PM

I was fortunate to get a couple extra days of warm weather as I was in Florida for the Managed Funds Association (MFA) conference last week and was stranded there (no angry letters please). A lot of people were in the same boat and some had been away from home for quite some time as there was another Florida conference that preceded MFA Network.

AlphaMetrix held its Summit conference on Jan. 27-28 in Miami and many of the managers went to MFA from the AlphaMetrix conference.

 All the managers we talked to raved about the AlphaMetrix conference and how it was set up. Meetings were set electronically and managers gained maximum exposure to allocators giving their presentation in half-hour blocks to various allocators throughout the day.

This is the second group that has offered an alternative to the MFA conference, something that may concern the MFA, though AlphaMetrix is not an industry group. In fact it seems to be an audacious endeavor as AlphaMetrix is basically a managed account platform for managed futures and hedge fund investors. I haven’t spoke to the folks at AlphaMetrix for a while and they have adjusted their business model a couple of times but basically they offer an intermediating service to managers and to allocators so there may be risk putting them together.

What these conferences always claim to offer is bringing managers in front of potential customers but there always seem to be more sellers than buyers at these events. AlphaMetrix seems to have delivered the allocators.  

People we spoke to praised the conference but questioned whether it would be profitable. But one thing is apparent, these conferences show the growth in managed futures, and CTAs want to be recognized for what they offer not as a subset of something else. That is something MFA is beginning to recognize and their challenge is in being able to represent the various business that come under a growing umbrella.

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of Modern Trader, Daniel Collins is a 25-year veteran of the futures industry having worked on the trading floors of both the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.