Stock exchange game pays dividends for students

A stock exchange game with a difference is helping school students who are studying CISI qualifications to understand how markets work


The CISI worked with Z/Yen Group, a commercial think-tank based in London, to create CISI Exchange.

Matthew Bolton, CISI Teaching and Learning Specialist, said: “CISI Exchange is a bespoke version of Z/Yen’s existing ExtZy stock market game, offering players the chance to build up and manage a portfolio of shares. But instead of buying and selling company stocks, players buy and sell shares in countries, Premier League football clubs and a selection of up and coming music artists with each entity represented by an underlying website.”

Dividends on the shares are calculated via unique visitor statistics for each site. The higher the number of unique web hits, the higher the dividends paid out on an entity’s shares. 

“Apart from being a bit of fun for students, the game helps students to generally understand how markets work and the effects of popularity and perception on share prices,” said Matthew.

He said that while there are several existing stock market games used in schools, none fully met the CISI’s requirements.

"The CISI was looking for a stock market game which would provide a longer-term view for investing that would appeal to school students"
“There is often a focus in these games on short-term gains, with quick profits being the main driving force for players. A number of these games are played at a frantic pace with a myriad of events taking place in the space of a matter of minutes. The CISI was looking for a stock market game which would provide a longer-term view for investing that would appeal to school students."

Students have been able to use CISI Exchange from September 2014. The game is split into three game periods, which coincide with school term times. The first game period concluded on 19 December 2014 and saw some interesting developments. 

“The countries market proved to be the most attractive for investors, with students quickly picking up on evolving problems in the eurozone, as shares in France and Germany became popular options for players. Players also looked to Russia as tensions with the Ukraine escalated.  Even in the football market, players spotted that there was value to be had investing their hard earned points in West Ham, as the team went on an unforeseen good run in the league.”

The first round saw almost 50 students from five UK educational institutions regularly playing the game with CISI students in Sri Lanka also getting involved. The first trading period also saw its fair share of controversy when two players were prohibited from making trades following the breach of market regulations. Duplicate accounts had been created, which were being used to sell shares at overly inflated prices.

“It proved a very good lesson for students in the importance of integrity and ethics!,” said Matthew.

WinnerThe winner of the first trading period was Danny Mcintyre, a student studying the CISI’s Level 2 Award in Fundamentals of Financial Services at Victoria College in Jersey. Danny achieved a net worth of 11,857 points, over 8,000 more than the second-placed student. Danny was presented with an iPad for his efforts by Jersey Committee President Paul Clifford and the Committee’s Student Liaison Officer, Eliff Carr.

When asked how he had been so successful, Danny explained that he had a simple strategy.

“I mainly bought shares that paid high dividends. I was able to buy them cheaply during the week and then their price dramatically increased over the weekend. This enabled me to make large capital gains and buy more shares throughout the next week.”

Danny felt that he had benefited from “staying one step ahead of the competition” by relentlessly searching the market for low value shares where other players had not spotted their potential.

CISI Exchange has also been used as part of a three-day employer insight event for 60 students, organised by Investment 2020 and hosted by three firms in London.  Students used the game to develop their knowledge of basic investment strategies, culminating in groups presenting about the strategies they utilised while playing the game.

Matthew said: “As the second game period comes to an end, it is hoped that more schools will encourage their students to get involved but who’s to say we haven’t already unearthed the next Warren Buffett!”

Published: 10 Mar 2015
  • News
  • Fundamentals of Financial Services
  • Danny Mcintyre
  • CISI Exchange

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