SIMON SAYS

SIMON SAYS

''IT MAY NOT GET ANYMORE UPBEAT THAN THIS," said a futures trader about next week's Futures Industry Association Inc.'s annual get-together.

The conference attendee and other futures industry executives will generally mix together an equal part of business and pleasure at the Boca Raton, Fla., gathering. However, the tone to the industry's premier conference scheduled for March 7-10 probably will be no more upbeat than the 1989 conference, although there are marked contrasts between the two events.When futures types met last in Florida, the industry was still reeling from the press' revelations about the FBI sting operations in Chicago futures pits. Trepidation was high that the government's investigative powers would widen and net more suspects.

The atmosphere in the industry on the eve of this year's conference is that it has proved it can weather those storms, but as a result of the investigations now may be feeling the pinch of tougher government regulations.

On Thursday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission finalized rules that will require tougher measures for collecting exchange trading cards and preparing trading records. The CFTC said the rules changes stemmed from the federal probe of fraudulent trading practices.

* * * * *

TOUGHER MEASURES aren't being shunned by the exchanges, said John Damgard, president of the FIA, but part of the issue is self-regulation.

Many exchanges already have put in place, or strengthened their trading rules to include better audit trail procedures and record keeping, and don't necessarily believe tougher CFTC rules are required.

* * * * *

NEW RULE CHANGES may have altered or, at least accelerated the time frame for fine-tuning its trading rules in anticipation of tougher government- mandated requirements.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange instituted new floor trading rules last week that helped address the issue of improved audit trail.

The CME said its most important priorities to members are to resolve trading rule issues and to establish a secure transaction process.

The exchange's "Blueprint for the 1990s," a long-term plan that requires it to carry out those objectives relating to regulation, also mandated that regulatory and margin issues issues relating to stock index and options be resolved quickly.