Q&As

GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

Is the competition for postgraduate students or for undergraduate students?

A school can send a team that consists of either MSc/MBA students or undergraduate students. Ph.D. students are also allowed.

How many students make up each team?

There are 4 students per team (two boys and two girls), plus an optional team advisor (faculty, staff, club head).

How many teams can participate from each school?

We are pleased to accept the registration of more than one team per European university. Due to logistical constraints, the maximum number of teams is 51. Registration is open until July 15th or until 51 teams are registered, whichever comes first.

How does registration work?

To reserve a spot for RETC 2018, please fill out the online ‘RETC 2018 – Team Registration Form’ (Step 1 of the registration process). The form should be filled out by a faculty/staff member (pdf) or a student (pdf).
The second step of the registration process (Step 2) is the ‘Team Member Profile Form’ (pdf). RETC will compile a participant booklet, which will be available to all competitors, faculty and sponsors. Team member profiles will help identify teams for networking opportunities with students and sponsors that have similar interest.
Registration is on a “first-come first-serve basis”, so please fill out the ‘Team Member Profile Form’ as soon as possible. Shortly after, a confirmation will be sent out and your school will appear on the teams page.
We also ask that all students send in a PDF copy of their resume. These resumes will be added to the RETC 2018 Resume Book which will be available to all competitors, faculty and sponsors.
The last step of the registration process (Step 3) is the payment of the competition fee: EUR 500 per team.

What does registration include?

Accommodation costs for RETC 2018, including seven meals (Thursday Dinner, Friday Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner, Saturday Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner), will be fully covered by LUISS. Meals will be served at the university canteen (“mensa”). The Gala Dinner will be held at the “Circolo Antico Tiro a Volo” (The Ancient Club for Clay Pigeon Shooting).
The registration does also include the free-of-charge sharing of electric cars. Please see http://retc.luiss.it/vehicle-sharing/.

Where will I be lodged during the competition?

All accommodation arrangements will be made and funded by LUISS. Students will be accommodated in two LUISS residences (please see the map) from Monday 20th to Monday 27th, August 2018. University faculty and staff will be accommodated in a 4-star hotel in the area immediately surrounding the LUISS campus (please see the map) from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th, August 2018. The name of the residence/hotel will be communicated to you by email.

How many rooms did you book per team?

LUISS has booked 3 rooms per team. Two rooms for students, each with two twin queen-size beds, and one room for the faculty advisor, with a double king-size bed.

What will the weather be like in Rome at the time of RETC?

Rome has a typical Mediterranean climate. The summers are hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 22 to 35 degrees Celsius (72 to 95 Fahrenheit). For more information on Rome weather forecast, please see here.

What is the dress code for the competition and the gala dinner?

RETC is a professional business competition, so we expect teams to dress appropriately. The exception is for the two outcry events where competitors often find it easier to find each other in the pit if they wear distinguishing clothing (such as noticeable hats, jerseys, or trading jackets). The dress code for the Gala Dinner is smart casual to formal.

Do we get any participation confirmation or kind of certificate at the end of the event?

Yes, you’ll receive a certificate of participation at the end of the competition.

TECHNICAL QUESTIONS

 

Intesa Sanpaolo Liquidity Risk case, Credit risk case, EIB Interest Rate case: whether each member works separately or can members of the team work together to achieve the result. To be more specific, can two or more of the members work from one computer?

For those cases, each member from the team will be trading ‘individually’ and the we’ll add the P&Ls of the individual members together at the end to form the ‘Team P&L’. Then we’ll rank these Team P&L to come up with a rank for each team for each heat. In other words, each member will log in with a specific login (e.g. RTMN-1, RTMN-2, RTMN-3, RTMN-4) and their P&Ls will be added together at the end of each heat. Please feel free to refer to the ‘Scoring Methodology’ document posted on the RETC webpage (http://retc.luiss.it/information/cases/).

Intesa Sanpaolo Liquidity Risk case: Which transactions are considered as speculations?

The only non-speculative transaction will be in the sequence of 1) accepting a tender offer and 2) submit orders to ‘close out’ your positions (or do nothing) until your position becomes zero. Everything else is considered ‘speculative’—some examples may be market-making, trading in the same direction as the tender offer, submitting orders before accepting a tender offer, etc. Please feel free to run the ‘performance evaluation tool’ available on the RETC webpage (http://retc.luiss.it/information/cases/) and follow instructions in order to ‘decompose’ your P&Ls.

Intesa Sanpaolo Liquidity Risk case: We are a bit confused by the calculation of P&L (only taking into account tender offers, not speculative trades). Could you please provide more detail / the Excel you use to calculate real P&L? For example, does this trade add to the real P&L?: We accept a TENDER OFFER and our current position in Equity 1 is +50 000 titles. Then, we observe that the tendency of Equity 1 is BULLISH, so we keep our position of +50 000 titles. Then, after a few minutes, when we see that the price is much higher than the price we paid in the tender offer, we sell all our position little by little, gaining profit. Is this profit OK for the final P&L calculation?

What you described in the example above is still okay since you accepted the tender offer first and worked on it to generate profits at the end. Please find the “Performance Evaluation Tool” and instructions available on the RETC webpage in order to try it out by yourself: http://retc.luiss.it/information/cases/

Intesa Sanpaolo Liquidity Risk case: The case description says that the price paths of the two Equities are completely random, with equal probability of increasing & decreasing. BUT we can see in the practice cases that price paths usually have a tendency. Will the real cases behave this way too?

The practice case is just one ‘draw’ from the distribution that we use for the price path, so I suggest that you shouldn’t ‘expect’ this in the actual competition. However, the liquidity case also depends on the participants’ behaviour so the price paths may end up more trending. Given this uncertainly, I would suggest that you do not focus too much on ‘predicting’ the price trend but rather on generating profits from working tender orders.

EIB Interest Rate case: How exactly the case is evaluated?

The case will be evaluated based on the P&L at the end.

Credit Risk case: How the case will be evaluated? What is more valuable for you: model or agile trading?

The case will be evaluated based on the P&L at the end. The Credit Risk case does require a fair amount of modelling in order to identify mispricing opportunities though you may decide to solely rely on news items. Previously, participants with a good financial model as well as an ample trading strategies (to capture any opportunities) tend to do well.

Competitive auction: when everybody receive an offer, winners split the whole or full offer is available for every team?

Each winner will receive the volume display on the tender offer window. In other words, the volumes won’t be split as it refers to a volume available to each individual.

Do we influence the prices or the trajectory of price is random walk?

There is a pre-determined price paths but your trade will certainly influence the market price as well as liquidity in the market.

How the PnL is calculated for the team? Set of individuals or we are connected to one account as a team?

Like other electronic trading cases, each team member will have an individual account and his/her P&L at the end will be combined to form a team P&L which will be used to create a ranking for the team.

Is the trading limit calculated in USD or per volume?

The trading limit is calculated based on the position limit, not in currencies.

In our opinion the tool for displaying the adjusted PnL does not work, would you be able to confirm?

Please find the tool available from the webpage and follow the instructions available from the tool: http://retc.luiss.it/information/cases/

We play as a team rather than set of individuals (how the PnL is calculated for the team)

Correct, each team member has a particular role and will have a P&L at the end. These P&Ls will be combined to form a team P&L which will be then used to calculate a ranking for each team per heat.

Will the traders be punished for any actions?

The penalty function available from page 20 will be applied to whoever holding the excess demand including the traders.

Does the trader have access to anything else than futures?

The Traders have access to ELEC-dayX (spot) as well as the forwards.

Do we influence the amount of energy from sun?

The amount of electricity produced by the solar power plant is pre-determined. E.g. your trades won’t influence the amount.

Are we allowed to automate the system for producers using VBA macro tools in Excel?

If you’re referring to using Assets or submitting orders using VBA, then no. The API will be turned off for automatic order submission and Assets cannot be “controlled” via VBA or API either.

Is there any market maker? (applicable to all cases)

No, there is no market-maker in the Quant Outcry case.

Is it allowed to short the spots?

Yes, Analysts are allowed to make spot trades and can short-sell spot.

How do the trader and analyst see each other?

Analysts will be located on the 2nd floor and are expected to communicate with Traders via non-vernal signals (e.g. signs/hand signals, etc.)

Do the traders have access to computer? What information is visible for them?

No, traders do not have access to a computer. As noted in the case package, traders will be able to see the chart of the index and the headlines of news items in addition to communicating with their analysts using non-verbal signals.

How the traders know what their position is?

Traders will need to track their positions by themselves.

How are we expected to interpret the news? For example, if EBIT of company A increases by 25%, do we automatically assume some change in Sales and Retained earnings in further periods? It is quite unrealistic if change in EBIT is not associated with changes in Sales and later Retained Earnings, but there is also no reliable way of how to assume changes in these figures.

It is suggested that the updated information about financials (Sales, EBIT, RE, and WC) are for the particular line item only. In other words, it is not necessary to make any implications to other financials from the updated line item. This simplified approach is implemented in this case in order to clarify the news impact.

Do we have to assume that the Total Debt value of the five companies consists only of the bonds that we are trading (at the beginning of the case)? For example, these companies do not hold loans from banks? Further, as the news come out, they can attract additional borrowed capital.

You can assume that the total value of debt presented at the beginning of the case will be the actual total debt value for the company at the beginning. This includes the bonds that you’re trading (as well as other debts that the company may have). The total value of debt will change throughout the case.

Before Thursday 23rd, can we practice the cases using LUISS PCs during that week? Do we have to bring our own laptops or can we use PCs from the university on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday?

Yes, you can use the PCs available at LUISS.

The liquidity ‘settings’ for EIB Interest Rates nd Credit Risk cases will be the same in that the ANON traders will provide very large bid/ask order volumes for enough liquidity. The Liquidity Risk case may change depending on the behaviour of the participants and it would be an important skill to be able to choose and apply the order types to be successful in this case.

The liquidity ‘settings’ for EIB Interest Rates nd Credit Risk cases will be the same in that the ANON traders will provide very large bid/ask order volumes for enough liquidity. The Liquidity Risk case may change depending on the behaviour of the participants and it would be an important skill to be able to choose and apply the order types to be successful in this case.

Quant outcry: can analysts use Excel and RTD?

Yes, analysts are allowed to use Excel and RTD.

I have an additional question regarding the orders from institutional clients for traders in ENEL electric case. Does all traders receive the same order from an institutional client (same direction and same price)? If not, do at least all tenders have the same direction? (example: All traders receive Sell order)

All traders will receive the same tender order (with the same direction and the price).

During each round are the members of the team going to trade at the same time or is it just for the Enel electricity trading case? Moreover, if we are going to trade simultaneously for example in the Intesa San Paolo liquidity riskcase, do we have one account for the team or each member has one?

The team members are trading at the same time for all electronic trading cases (while each member has a particular ‘role’ in the team for the Enel Electricity Trading Case). Each team member will have an individual account (e.g. RTMN-1, RTMN-2, RTMN-3, and RTMN-4) to log in and trade for each case.

In the Quantitative Outcry case all team members have to rotate roles for the second subheat, thus, each team member will act both as a trader and as an analyst. Do we simply have to specify the order in which each team member takes each role?

That’s correct — as mentioned from the Google form, you’ll need to decide the analyst/trader roles for the 1st sub-heat and we’ll swap the roles for the 2nd sub-heat.

While practicing on the cases, we noticed that the news items are sort of the same for every session. The news have the similar format and the content. Should we assume that the format and the content during the Rotman Competition will be completely different? This is an important question for us because if the news will be similar, we have to develop some kind of automatic program for their interpretation. Or is automatic interpretation of any news item a bad strategy for trading case in general?

Depending on the case, at the competition, you may see similar types/formats of news items that you observed from the practice cases. However, by the nature of “news”, there may be news items that are different from what you observe from the practice cases. It is certainly not ‘necessary’ to develop an automatic system to interpret news items, but it is up to each team as some teams may find it useful to ‘parse’ the news items in a way to interpret easily.

Is there a scheduled webinar training session besides the practice session for the Enel Electricity Case?

There is no webinar training scheduled for the competition. Every team is suggested to get started with the RIT platform from the available resources posted on the RETC webpage, and then also work on strategies for each case by working with the team members.

You wrote, that first practice session for the ENEL Electricity Case takes place at 11:59am on Tuesday, while according to your website it takes place at 4:00pm. Which information is correct?

The first Enel practice session will take place at 11:59am CET on Tuesday, Aug 7th. This is consistent with the case package as well as the email that was sent out. Only the webpage will need to be updated to say 11:59am CET for Tuesday, Aug 7th. The reason for this different time for the 1st round is because we just arrived in Korea to run a competition at the end of this week, so we’ll be running a practice session for RETC remotely from Korea. J

I have a problem with API instrument in Excel. I tried writing several macros on VBA with RIT API, but they are not working the way I expect them. I think that the data should be dynamic and in live format, however the cell was updated only after I clicked on «macro-run» button. Could you tell me what should I do to make the data be updated every second? I have spent a day trying to find any solution… It would be great if I could make VBA update cells as fast as usual Rotman formulas do.

We suggest that you read up on creating a ‘function’ in VBA from the web in order to make sure that your VBA codes are simultaneously run while the case is running. Please also feel free to refer to the RIT user guide documents: http://retc.luiss.it/files/2018/07/RIT-User-Guide-RTD-Documentation.pdf and http://retc.luiss.it/files/2018/07/RIT-User-Guide-VBA-API-Documentation.pdf. The 2nd document particularly provides instructions on creating a sample ‘function’ which would be a good starting point.

Do we need to bring our own laptops to the championship?

Every participant will use the computers available at LUISS so you do not need to bring a laptop. In fact, even if you bring your own laptop, you won’t be able to use it for the competition.

Regarding quantitative outcry case – will traders and analysts see each other?

Yes, traders and analysts will be able to see each other although they will be located on different floors. As mentioned on page 10 from the case package, it is essential for teams to develop non-verbal communication strategies so that traders and analysts can communicate effectively.

Regarding the Enel Electricity Case – do traders trade via the software program or verbally with other traders?

Other than the outcry cases, participants will always be using the RIT Client to trade electronically.

Regarding the Liquidity Case – which data are we going to have in this case to assess the liquidity of each asset?

Please feel free to connect to the practice case running on flserver.rotman.utoronto.ca. More detailed information can be found on page 3 in the case package. The liquidity of each stock may be different during the competition due to the added participants and their behavior, but the practice case will provide a good starting point.

I noticed that all your practice sessions were at 4 pm CET. I was wondering if it was possible to make them later as I imagine it will conflict with many peoples work hours as they are all during the week and many people will be doing internships during the summer.

We’ll discuss this internally and let you know once we decide to do ‘additional practice sessions. In other words, all the current practice sessions will be run at the announced time/date, but we’ll see if we can schedule ‘additional’ practice sessions later in the day to accommodate those who are working full-time.

My Excel model imports live data from the RETC trading software. If I insert the following formula for one of the cases, I get the details of current tender offers, which are constantly changing: =RTD(“rit2.rtd”,, “tenderinfo”, “1”). However, this data is displayed as follows: 3, RETC, -142800,0,459,475 . So, basically, a list of information separated by commas. I need to separate each value into a separate cell so that I can use them in equations. I’m not sure if I can use the “text to columns” function in Excel since the content of the cell is a link, which temporarily shows current tender offer data until it expires. Do you have any idea how I can solve this? So, basically, a list of information separated by commas. I need to separate each value into a separate cell so that I can use them in equations. I’m not sure if I can use the “text to columns” function in Excel since the content of the cell is a link, which temporarily shows current tender offer data until it expires. Do you have any idea how I can solve this?

If you want to ‘parse’ the values dynamically to cells, please feel free to follow the instructions in the following document: http://retc.luiss.it/files/2018/07/RIT-Case-Tutorial-ALGO2-Parsing-Appendix-1.pdf. This is a tutorial document for one of our standard cases, but you can use the same parsing code to implement using VBA.

I would like to know more information regarding the cases. What do I (our group) can study and focus on before the competition days? I know that there are going to be an online training sessions before the competition. Can I get more information about that? Also, can you send me earlier results and cases/questions?

Thanks for reaching out to us: unfortunately, we cannot distribute the previous case materials but we’re planning to release the case package for this year’s RETC during the week of July 23rd or earlier. You’ll hear back from us as soon as the case package is released. There will also be practice cases running on our server for 24/7 once released so you will be able to prepare for the competition.

Is there any chance to use the Rotman Interactive Trader Client on MacBook, OS X – oi?

RIT runs on Microsoft Windows. It does not run on Apple Mac OS’s. If you want to run RIT on your Mac, you need to install a copy of Windows using the Bootcamp program and then install the RIT client on Windows.

What software should I expect to be run on the computers at RETC?

The operating system will be Windows 10. The Rotman Interactive Trader client and Office 2016 will be installed.

What regional settings to display number formats will be used at RETC?

Number format: “.” as a decimal separator and “,” as the thousands’ separator.

Where can I download the Rotman Interactive Trader Client?

The RIT client v2.0 can be downloaded at http://retc.luiss.it/software/.

Is Excel allowed?

Yes, the use of Excel is highly recommended. You are encouraged to prepare models in advance. In order to ensure proper RTD functionality (real time data links between Excel and the RIT client) please download one of these files (see the picture below):

In which cases can we use Excel?

You can use Excel in all cases except for the Social Outcry Case. You can prepare Excel models in advance to be used during the competition.

Can we bring our Excel models on a usb key or download them from our online discs?

Yes, you can bring your models on a USB key and use them during the competition. We recommend to bring them on a USB rather than relying on downloading it from the web (e.g. from Dropbox) as it will be safer.

May we bring our laptops / financial calculators to the competition?

No. All students will use PCs provided by LUISS during the competition.

Could we connect from different locations for practicing the ENEL Case?

Yes, you could train together even if located in 4 different places.

In order to gain confidence with the Enel Case: (i) Is it possible to practice individually? (ii) Can we practice in days and times different from the ones already set? (August 8th, 10th, 13th ,15th)

(i) Yes, you can practice individually. However, the case is meant for 4 people as there are different roles. When practicing with 2 people only, the performance of your team will not be as good as when practicing with 4 people. (ii) Yes, you are encouraged to practice also in different times, so that you can refine your model.

In the ENEL Case, are we allowed to communicate between each other in the team about the different weather forecasts we receive?

Yes, you are allowed to communicate between each other.

When we practiced the Enel Case, there was the notification to producer that NG Power Plant is being used and we were not able to transform NG into electricity. Is it going to happen also in the real case that we will have some restrictions in the use of NG power plant, when, for example many producers want to transform NG into electricity?

There is a maximum of 10 power plants that can be concurrently leased during the case. This limit will be exactly the same during the competition.

In the Enel Electricity Trading Case and in the Quantitative Outcry Trading Case, each team member has a specific role. What about the other cases?

The Enel Electricity Trading Case and the Quantitative Outcry Trading Case are the only two cases where team members have different roles. In all the other cases, all team members do have the same role.

In the Quantitative Outcry Case (i) how is aggregate position defined? (ii) Are transaction costs deducted? (iii) And what’s the difference between P/L and aggregate position?

(i) The aggregate position is the sum of the trades made by the four team members. For example, member 1 buys 5 contracts at time 0 and member 2 sells 7 contracts at time 1; your team’s aggregate position at time 1 (after member 2 traded) will be -2 (= 5 long – 7 short).
(ii) Transaction costs are deducted.
(iii) Aggregate position is just the number of contracts you traded. P/L is the profit or loss and it will depend on the prices at which you were able to buy and sell.

In the Quantitative Outcry Case (i) are we allowed to communicate with each other? (ii) Risk Manager is called to report the aggregate position of a team and we are wondering does he/she has to know it based on previously agreed strategy or based on team communication during the case?

(i) Please refer to Page 10 of the Case package: “As analysts and traders will be on separate floors, it is essential for teams to develop non-verbal communication strategies. Electronic devices are not permitted during this case.
(ii) The risk manager has to provide a number that tracks the actual trading position of the team. For example, if a team is long 30 contracts and the risk manager provide us with a value of 110 contracts, he/she is clearly very far from the real value and will be getting less bonus (as explained in the case brief).

In the Credit risk case (i) are the companies going to be the same? (ii) Besides, will the difference (sm – sr) be the same as in the Case package’s table?

(i) Companies are going to be the same. (ii) The difference (sm – sr) will be the same and will remain constant unless a news item will notify you that it was changed.

How do we know the fields that we need to type in a formula? For example, if we want changes in credit spreads to be retrieved into our model, what should we type in?

In the RIT, you can click in the bottom right corner on “RTD” and the list of all the commands that can be linked to Excel will appear. Please see the following screenshot:

We didn’t manage to link the value of assets and equity from the portfolio window. What should we do?

By using the commands in the above screenshot, you should be able to link the data for assets and equity.

At the beginning of each case, there are only data about assets value and market value of equity. Should we assume that other financial data are the same as in the case package?

Correct. The data are the same as in the case package, unless a news item will shock them.

Could you please provide us with average profits per case in order to allow us to compare our results with those averages?

The profits will depend on the scenarios. For examples, if we have a very volatile market in the Liquidity Risk Case, the average profits will be lower compared to when we have a low volatility market.
During the practice sessions from Aug 14th, we will release the profits for the top performers via RIT Client in order to provide an idea of the P&L range for the particular heat. However, we would like to encourage participants not to rely too much on the dollar value of the P&L. Rather, it is important to be able to generate profits consistently across the cases.