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UWI business school creates finance lab in partnership with Bloomberg, Stock Trak

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2015 | 9:06 AM
Professor Densil Williams, executive director of the Mona School of Business.

The Mona School of Business Management on Monday launched the MSMB Finance Lab, which the business school's chairman, Patrick Hylton, said was the first of its kind in the region.

Constructed at a cost of $22 million, the lab features Bloomberg data and provides students of the business school with real-time access to 50 global exchanges as well as access to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, a LED ticker and video wall, and individual computers for access to data and analytical tools.

Hylton, who is also group managing director of National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB), said the lab will provide students with hands-on experience in trading in multiple markets and "bridge the divide between the theoretical and the empirical".

Keynote speaker at the launch, deputy group managing director of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Dennis Cohen, said that in addition to a robust issuer and consumer base, a well-functioning capital market needs service providers who disseminate market information, and as such, the finance lab would have a positive impact.

The Bloomberg component of the lab offers from an array of information on financial matters as well as a chat system with the ability to execute trades.

"You will have access to volatility indices, global benchmarks, all the major market indices, a trading platform, all the portfolio analysis tools you could imagine and research," said Cohen.

"All of NCB's financial data is there. There is no need to go to a financial statement."

Bloomberg, he said, processes 60 billion pieces of information from the market each day.

"It even offers a feature that lets you track ships carrying commodities, a bit of information that can be invaluable to a trader. You can even see the position of every ship in the world," said the banker.

MSBM executive director Professor Densil Williams said the finance lab occupies 144 square feet of space on the ground floor of the Sir Alister McKintyre Building at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. It hosts 12 Bloomberg terminals and 24 work stations connected to the terminals.

"Overall, a maximum of 36 students can be accommodated in the lab at any one time," he told Wednesday Business.

The lab was developed in association with Bloomberg Limited; Stock Trak, which provided the MSMB global markets simulator; and Rise Display, which provided the hardware, including the ticker and video wall.

UWI, Mona, is Stock Trak's first global trading branded site for a university. It is also the first time it has integrated a local stock exchange's live data feed "to make the site even more valuable to students", according to information attributed to Thomas Reti, head of global business and education at Stock Trak, at the launch.

The company said that all students of MSMB will now be able to simulate trading of securities from global exchanges.

Williams said public access to the lab was under consideration, principally through special courses.

"The lab will be used to facilitate teaching and learning in courses such as portfolio management, financial management, among others. Further, the lab will be used to offer customised short courses as requested by companies and individuals. "