Buy Side Eurovision!

BST Europe warmed up the crowd this week ahead of the song-singing phenomenon.

Tim Bourgaize Murray, Buy-Side Technology deputy editor

Tim wraps up our coverage of 2015's BST Europe, and complains about some awful luck in an office pool, before officially welcoming in summer.

Among the many office pools we run at Incisive Media, one of the more entertaining is organized by our resident Eurovision expert (and head of US events), Steve Brown. He's a font of knowledge when it comes to this event, providing predictions, analysis — it's a whole thing.

Unfortunately, we pick our songs from a hat, and I happened to end up with (ugh) the United Kingdom ... whose act is, well, awful. The small hope would be that it's a jingle that gets in your head, like bad elevator music, and that it's one of the few acts that isn't an overwrought power ballad. But from lyrics to execution, top to bottom, it's just bad. Like, at the level of the early auditions in American Idol televised purely for entertainment. That bad.

So, given my partial Spanish ancestry, I'll take a relative dark horse in Spain to win — great voice, everyone loves the language (and the country, even its creditors!), and she's the better half of Manchester United's erstwhile goalkeeper, David De Gea. That's worth something, right?


One of the other things about Eurovision, ridiculous though it really is, is that it at least pretends to foster good vibes in the region at a time when certain relationships in Europe are fussy, if not outright strained.

And comity was also a primary theme at our annual Buy-Side Technology Europe conference this week in London.

As my colleagues Marina Daras and John Brazier reported from the event: a boardmember at ESMA defended the regulatory body's work to date on creating a capital market union; the co-CRO at BlackRock lauded his firm's flexible risk management platform; C-levels talked about developing good attitudes towards tech on the business side; and the keynote from Aspect Capital's CTO reinforced the need for agility, something the buy side doesn't always get right.

I recommend giving all of those a quick read, possibly with Eurovision entries as background music (the favorites are Sweden, Norway, Albania, and Italy ... not that I'm an expert!)


Random Thoughts/Links

  • Memorial Day is early in 2015, meaning a wedding I'm going to on Sunday on Long Island is going to take three hours to get to. Still worth it. For anyone heading further out the South Shore, go to this place in Nepeague and get the lobster roll for me. One of my favorite places in the world to just sit around and breath in some ocean air. I once saw John Slattery (who played Roger Sterling in Mad Men) there, talking casually about "pear-shaped bottoms". Enough said.
  • This might or might not be the year Bitcoin really takes off, but if it doesn't, that won't be for lack of trying as the industry continued this week to post new offerings related to the digital currency. As noted in my feature on the subject this month, I suspect this rise is probably most related to large corporates and distributors like Amazon and Ebay adopting their platforms to accept BTC these days. Should be interesting.
  • Speaking of features, my next one is on an archaic exemption being stripped from the SEC's rule on broker-dealer registration with Finra, called 15b9-1. Let's just say there's a lot of industry malcontent over whether this is a good thing or a (very) bad thing — even among the prop trading shops that are most affected. Anyone who has a colorful opinion on this should drop me a line; those who haven't heard about it should take a look, because the outcome could augur greater changes for HFTs going forward, too.


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