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? (read more…)

APPrise Mobile’s platform for investor-relations communications is designed to help companies, whether large or small, create native applications that supply the target audience with a wealth of crucial information, said Jeff Corbin, APPrise’s founder and CEO.

“Public companies needed a communications solution to inform or ‘apprise’ their investors on their mobile phones and tablets,” Corbin said in an e-mail interview. “TheIRapp was created to solve this problem. It was developed to be a cost-effective, easy-to-implement solution that would provide public companies with their own branded app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.”

More than 125 companies are using the company’s investor-relations app solution, while the number of investors who have downloaded one or more of APPrise customers’ apps has surpassed 75,000, he said. (read more…)

One of the lesser known financial regulations implemented as part of Dodd-Frank is the requirement for swap dealers to be able to produce a full reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Satisfying the new requirement will require a range of technologies and processes, many of which are still in their infancy.

Bloomberg Vault sponsored a webinar “Tackling the Challenges of Trade Reconstruction,” exploring issues such as:

• Handling unstructured data, including tagging
• Weighing in-house versus outsourced solutions
• Establishing best practices around compliance

“The new rules [regarding trade reconstruction] are onerous and affect lots of different parts of the organization—front, middle and back office of firms,” said Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault. Those rules cover such areas as:

Recordkeeping: Records must be kept of all written and oral communications that lead to execution of swap.
Searchability: Data must be maintained in a form that identifiable and searchable by transaction and counterparty. (read more…)

When do you advise clients to start thinking about death planning? Have you broached this subject with your own loved ones? Not easy questions to process, are they?

As with many things, understanding the appropriate time to have these discussions with clients is both personal and widely varied depending on client preferences and generational differences. A recent Bloomberg article got me thinking about this topic specifically as it highlighted that many millennials aren’t currently purchasing life insurance, nor do they consider it a priority. Of course, this is partially due to younger generations marrying and starting families later in life; however, it also serves as a reminder of the role social media plays in helping financial professionals educate and advise certain consumer segments, particularly those who that may not be actively looking to make a purchase.

A new viewpoint for a new generation

What if firms viewed social media not as a chance to sell to younger prospects, but instead an opportunity to educate and build a relationship with them? (read more…)

Social media has become a necessity for financial advisers to stay “top of mind” with clients and prospects, but they need to be able to “put the time and dedication into it” in order to make their efforts successful, said Amy McIlwain, president of Financial Social Media.

LinkedIn is a popular choice for financial-services firms because its users are there for business purposes, making it the “trade show” of social media platforms, McIlwain said Saturday during NAIFA’s Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego. On LinkedIn, “your booth is going to be your profile,” which should be complete and tell your story effectively, she said.

Advisers who use Twitter should “listen first [and] talk second,” she said. As they become acquainted with the platform, they should follow others and take note of trending topics, which are designated with hashtags, she recommended. Once comfortable, they should join in the conversation and tell interesting, relevant stories to build their brand, she said. (read more…)