The Futures Industry Association has cancelled its flagship conference in Boca Raton, Florida, with just six days notice as the financial industry takes flight from the Coronavirus outbreak.
The high-profile annual gathering attracts leading lights from the world's banks, exchanges, policy makers and technology vendors to Florida each year to debate key issues facing the cleared derivatives industry.
In a statement announcing its decision, the FIA says: "It is with great disappointment that FIA has decided to cancel its 45th Annual Boca International Futures Industry Conference on March 10-12 due to concerns for the health and wellbeing of our conference attendees surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus."
The FIA caters to more than 1000 delegates at the annual shindig each year. Just last week, the trade body was insisting that the event would still take place, issuing a “no handshake or hug” policy.
The move to pull the plug on the event come as some of the largest US banks impose travel bans on staff.
"The World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control continue to escalate the threat levels surrounding the Coronavirus, with experts predicting that cases will grow materially in the US leading up to next week’s meeting," states the FIA. "In addition, many of FIA’s members have implemented non-essential travel restrictions that make it difficult for panelists, speakers and participants to attend the conference, including key stakeholders within investment banks, asset management firms, exchanges, clearinghouses and regulators."
Speakers who were due to address this year’s gathering included Jeffrey Sprecher, chief executive and chair of Intercontinental Exchange, Heath Tarbert, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Citadel.