In the trading world, how-tos and simulations abound. There are also a good number of trading competitions aimed at reaching the highest rate of return. But there’s not another contest that combines the elements of competition and learning about markets quite as well as the CME Group Trading Challenge.
Now in its 11th year, the competition has the added benefit of intercollegiate (and global) competition, an element that helps build excitement among participants in a similar way as college sports might.
The Trading Challenge invites college and university teams to trade futures over the course of a month on an electronic platform provided by CQG with newsfeeds powered by Dow Jones. CME Group’s Tim Perlick explains things in this video:
As Perlick notes, the competition is being expanded beyond a strictly commodities competition this year. In all previous competitions, competitors were limited to two or three commodity contracts to trade, usually gold and oil. The Trading Challenge now invites participants to trade financial futures like equities, treasuries and foreign exchange as well.
In addition to diversifying the portfolios and market knowledge of competitors, the expansion into new asset classes also adds many possible outcomes to competition results. A team focused more on commodities, for example, could miss an opportunity for gains in treasuries if a Federal Reserve announcement were to make news. A team focused on the financial side might likewise miss an opportunity in ag markets if a USDA report were to signal a change. Since the competition uses real market pricing and real news (but not real money) scenarios like these are quite possible.
The Trading Challenge has also grown on a global scale. Last year, teams from 26 countries were represented in the competition with a team from Colombia placing third in the final standings. This map shows the concentration of 2013 Trading Challenge teams across the globe:
The practice round for the competition starts Jan. 27, with the first official trading starting on Feb. 4. Registration is open for one more week.