Dear SFA members, SFVegas sponsors, and SFVegas attendees,
With just under six weeks to go until our Vegas conference, I wanted to reach out to all of you and provide a brief update on our annual gathering and to highlight a few of our ongoing workstreams at SFA. The enormity of what all of us have faced and tackled since we last met in February 2020 is almost unfathomable. Not only have we all had our lives upended in ways that we still struggle to fully grasp, but we also have seen a couple of the most chaotic and hectic years both directly in our markets and in the public policy arena.
Throughout it all, over the past 18 months, I, for one, have come to deeply appreciate the importance of person-to-person interactions more than ever. While the amount of work time in the office may be changing fundamentally, what hasn’t changed is the fact that meeting with colleagues, clients, and counterparties in person adds invaluable elements to strengthening relationships, deepening business partnerships, and engaging in idea generation. That is why we are so focused on hosting a safe and rewarding conference, allowing our members and sponsors to gather, reconnect, and exchange ideas, and to do so in a responsible manner.
Over the past few weeks, we have spoken to quite a number of you, and we thank everyone – including and especially our event sponsors – for the support they have provided in helping to shape this year’s conference. As of this moment, we have over 3,000 in-person registrants and over 140 sponsors, growing by the day. In years past, these numbers tend to spike in the days leading up to our event. But we know that attendees remain focused on health and safety protocols, especially with constantly evolving news about COVID-19 and its variants. That is why all attendees this year will be required to use the CLEAR app – which is the service used at airports – to verify that they have been vaccinated against SARS-COV2. We are working closely with the Aria Hotel and local health officials to stay fully in compliance with all government guidance. And with the protocols we have in place, we know we can host everyone in a safe and responsible manner to allow you to gather together with peers, clients, and partners many of whom you haven’t seen in far too long – and new relationships who you may have never met beyond your video conference screens.
For anyone facing corporate travel restrictions or who prefers not to travel, it was important to us and our sponsors to provide a virtual participation option. Additionally, this is a great opportunity for inclusion of more junior team members who will also benefit from hearing the wide array of thought-provoking speakers who are covering covering topics at the forefront of our industry – ESG, financial technology, LIBOR transition, Capitol Hill and regulators, and so much more.
Meanwhile, throughout this pandemic, our work in Washington has continued at a rapid pace. To cite just a few examples, SFA has worked closely with staff and elected officials in the House and Senate to advance legislation creating a safe harbor for legacy LIBOR contracts without adequate fallback language, and a bill has already advanced out of committee in the House. We are fully engaged in a comprehensive effort to build industry best practices on ESG and sustainable investing for the securitization markets. We remain coordinated with our global peers on rules impacting securitization as an investment across the globe. We are modernizing mortgage PLS data reporting fields, while also establishing a standard setting organization that can be used to help the private market remain in compliance with Dodd-Frank’s Ability to Repay rule. And, of course, we have worked to establish two-way dialogues and relationships with career staff as well as newly installed political heads of the regulatory agencies in town. These are but a few of the many items we have in progress. We do all this work with a sense of quiet pride, representing an industry that we know plays a crucial role in credit formation and economic growth for our country and beyond.
For those still finalizing travel and meeting arrangements for Vegas, please reach out if we can be of assistance in any way whatsoever. This includes any questions you may have or concerns you would like addressed. Like many aspects of our lives, we are grappling with the changes imposed upon us by events outside of our control. But please know that we will build off the energy and enthusiasm to see one another that so many of you have expressed to us.
Thank you again for allowing us to represent this industry. We can’t wait to see you soon.
Structured Finance Association