CME Group recently unveiled the Futures Institute, an online platform for education, market research and simulated trading of futures. The platform features a mix of live classes, interactive modules, market research and training materials and engages participants with multiple trading strategies, including testing and simulation capabilities.
The platform’s Futures Challenge, which takes place every month, allows participants to compete in a simulated environment tracking 36 of the most liquid futures contracts across six asset classes: Energy, Metals, Interest Rates, Agriculture, FX, and Equity Indexes. The Futures Challenge incorporates training modules to educate traders on how to create trade plans, manage risk and analyze markets from both fundamental and technical perspectives.
Ahead of the first Futures Challenge, which kicks off the first week in March, SmartBrief chatted with Mark Omens, senior director and head of retail sales at CME Group, to learn more about the site.
SmartBrief: What is the genesis of this site?
Mark Omens: As we’ve gone around the world doing educational events through our brokerage partners and through industry trade shows, we’ve discovered that individuals find it easier to get educational content on cash equities than on futures. Even when they could find information on futures, it was piece-meal all over the place. So we wanted to create a centralized place where it would be easy for anyone to get an in-depth learning experience.
SB: Who is the target user for the site?
MO: We welcome anyone looking to expand their knowledge on futures, but the focus for us is individuals who are already active and trading in the markets. It can be in any of the markets or regions — cash equities, options, ETFs, etc. We are also looking to attract existing futures traders who are looking to learn additional products or learn more about the ones they already trade.
SB: How did CME Group go about collecting and vetting all this resource information (training modules, research, etc)?
MO: It is a combination of internal and external resources. We have ex-traders who work for CME Group collaborating with third-party industry experts. Everything we are trying to do is from a practical trading perspective. For example, our head of education is a 30-year ex-floor trader. So we are teaching from experience and teaching in a way that is practical for the end-user.
SB: What else is CME Group doing to attract talent to the futures and options markets?
MO: On the retail front, we are working with many of the large broker-dealers in the US and around the world to educate their internal staff who might be new to offering futures and their clients who might not be currently trade futures. We want to give them a solid foundation on the futures markets.
SB: What is next for the Futures Institute site?
MO: We have plans for adding new tools and elements to keep the institute as a valuable resource for traders. We will be basing future enhancements on trader feedback.