Friday, April 4, 2014

MTA Award Dinner 2014

I made a really good decision just last week - to attend the 2014 MTA Awards dinner. While I was not going to attend the MTA Symposium for many reasons not the least of which was still having to do my day job, I was too close geographically to miss the dinner. Red Buttons would be proud because some very worthy technicians did finally get their dinner.

The location was certainly far off the beaten path at a place called Cedar Lake on 26th Street near 11th Avenue. But when we went inside the place looked great and the bar was open.

Let the networking begin.

It was great to see people I have not seen in years. It was also great to put faces with names from the MarketsList, Twitter and newsletter articles from over the years. We commiserated. We encouraged each other. We caught up with each others' careers and I am sure there will be a little career shuffling in the wake of the event. No help wanted ads could compare.

Tyler Wood and Bill Kelleher CMT put together a great event which included aerialists dancing above the floor. It seemed a bit strange but the theme of the night was the "Art of Finance" so it did fit. Tom DeMark send a photo of the three performers home to his wife and daughter, who questioned whether he was really at an MTA event.

Speakers from Ralph Acampora CMT to Ralph Vince introduced a distinguished list of honorees.

Recognition Award Bob Pisani from CNBC, who gave a passionate plea for baby boomers not to be afraid of the markets. He trashed analysts without a solid opinion. He gutted Michael Lewis and his "Wall Street is rigged" comments. And he said that technical analysis does indeed add value.

MTA executive director Tim Licitra introduced Service Award winner Jeff Lay CMT who talked of service - to others and to the MTA. He talked about he received help getting into the business and how each of us should pay that forward.

Michael Carr CMT introduced this year's Dow Award winners Michael Gayed CFA and Charles Billelo CMT, who discussed their paper "An Intermarket Approach to Beta Rotation."

Dr. Jerry Blythe spoke eloquently about this years Memorial Award winner Joe Granville who worked hard yet took the time to enjoy life. The award was accepted by his wife Karen Granville, who got a standing ovation.

Then MTA President David Keller CMT recognized past MTA Annual Award dinners who came on stage for a photo. In attendance were Steve Leuthold, John Murphy, David Krell, Ralph Acampora, Hiroshi Okamoto and Ned Davis.

Ned Davis stayed on stage to say a few words about the late Martin Zweig and what he meant to our profession. 

Finally, Ralph Vince introduced Tom DeMark, who said many words about this year's Annual Award winner Larry Williams. Tom, who is just as well known as Larry, spoke only of Larry. Of how Larry helped him decades ago when we was starting in the business. And then there were stories about a truly remarkable life aside from trading. They ranged from spending time in jail to managing professional boxers to running for political office and each one was more fascinating than the last.

I was honored to be sitting at the dinner table with Ralph, Tom, Larry and members of his family. There were even more stories. I leaned on Larry's bother in law to get him to write an autobiography that I would pre-order today.

Larry finally took the stage, talking about his life, the changing landscape of the markets, how the people in the room were not wolves on Wall Street. After his battles with the regulators he told us to stay alert in case they back track.

The evening ended with a quick discussion with Ralph V, Tom and Larry, led by Bob Pisani. Tom said stocks were very near a peak (the Dow tanked 159 points the next day after an inital rally following the payrolls report). Larry said a monster bull market will begin in 2015.

A few more handshakes followed and I had to dash out the door to catch my train back home. I was very busy tweeting and texting about a great evening.

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