On Sept. 16, the McDonough School of Business Center for Financial Markets and Policy will host its third annual Financial Markets Conference, in partnership with the Financial Times. The conference will allow attendees to gain insight into the current market environment, as well as offer networking opportunities to students.
“This time, it’s particularly interesting because the question about financial markets quality has become center stage for a number of reasons,” said Reena Aggarwal, professor of business administration and finance and director for financial markets and policy. “There’ve been certain glitches in financial markets that have been pretty high profile.”
The release of Michael Lewis’ popular book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” this summer brought the question of rigged financial markets to the mainstream. However, the conference will not focus on the ideas presented by Lewis, but instead on what areas of the U.S. market are thriving.
“Georgetown has a real responsibility to educate the market and educate policy makers,” Aggarwal said. “We are completely unbiased. We are not an advocacy group of any kind. Our faculty does in-depth research that can guide the markets and can guide the policy makers and regulators. That’s what this conference is about.”
Bringing together policy groups and financial powerhouses including BlackRock, CME Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rosenblatt Securities and ITG, the conference aims to create nonpartisan dialogue around current global financial issues and potential solutions.
“The broad thing is, we want to make sure that our companies can raise capital, can innovate and investors have a place to invest their money, which they can do confidently, and that the markets are fair,” Aggarwal said. “We’re not just talking about the very large companies, but really small and medium sized enterprises. They are the engines of growth. We’ve got to make sure that they’ve got access to capital.”
Specifically, conversations will address U.S. markets, which Aggarwal views, despite Lewis’ claims, as currently thriving and setting an international example. How to ensure that this apparent success continues will also be addressed.
“How do we make sure that the markets continue to operate in a fair and transparent manner, and everybody can invest in the markets confidently and companies can raise capital in an efficient manner?” Aggarwal said. “I think that’s really important for the competitiveness of U.S. financial markets.”
Aggarwal urges that students consider attending as well, since lectures will present information relevant for those interested in entrepreneurship or gaining a richer knowledge of current financial trends in general.
“You have a great idea, but at the end of the day you’re going to need funds to make your venture sustainable and grow,” Aggarwal said of aspiring student entrepreneurs. “Any student that’s interested in any aspect of financing should come to the conference. We can really come up with some solutions and some recommendations going forward.”
“It seems very important to stay up to date on the financial markets, especially as a business stuent, and this conference is a great opportunity to do so,” Theodore Gritz (MSB ’15) said.
With recruitment season underway, the conference allows students to start meeting and networking with high-ranking members of financial and policy groups. But along with basic networking, Aggarwal claims that information gleaned at the conference will prove useful when interviewing.
“There will be lots of people from government agencies, there will be lots of people from the private sector,” Aggarwal said. “Juniors who are going to be interviewing for the summer jobs need to have some unique things to talk about in their interviews. They don’t want to sound like every other potential candidate.”
Since the conference will examine the past, present and future of financial markets, students will be able to build a knowledge base of changing capital market structure, as well as get insights into changes currently underway. PwC, a consulting group that frequently recruits Georgetown graduates, will be presenting its Capital Markets 20/20 report, which will discuss their strategic plans for the next decade.
The conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. with registration through the Center for Financial Markets and Policy website.