Chocolate is the new way of trading

Chocolate is the new way of trading

News article from December 16, 2019

Question: How do you teach young teenagers about the key principles of trading stocks?

Answer: Get them to trade chocolate!

Helping young teenagers understand the principles of trading and appreciate the impact of political, environmental and social events on stock price is no easy task. Employees at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) decided these learning outcomes could be best achieved by simulating five days of live tradingusing chocolate as the commodity.

Last week, a small and dedicated group of LSEG employees kindly gave up their morning to work with 16 young people from a secondary school in Barking. The teenagers,from  Years 8 and 9,were selected by their school due to the challenges they face and the extent to which they would benefit from additional support.

Chocolatier traders

LSEG volunteers organised the group into teams and joined them at the start of trading. Each team had £5 and a stock of chocolate. The winning team was the one with the most chocolate at the end of the trading day. Throughout the game, there were new circumstances to consider such aschanging market priceswith the teams having to react quickly and decide whether to “buy”, “sell” or “do nothing”. Five rounds later, all the groups had learned a lot from the immersive experience with the winning teammaking a healthy profit.

The opportunity to bring young people into LSEG offices is hugely impactful. This group faces disadvantages beyond those of their peers that act as a barrier to accessing education and the life skills that they need. We hoped the trip would be inspiring and a confidence boost. 

Here’s what the young people and LSEG volunteers thought of the day:

“It was great to engage with a group of wellmannered youngsters. I was impressed and inspired about how some of them were dedicated to their futures and had thought through what they wanted to do with their lives (at age 14!). I enjoyed observing the different approaches they took in figuring out the chocolate trading exercise. It is clear that they got a lot out of the day evident by their inquisitiveness and aspirations to work together as a group.”
Neil Escalante, Senior Manager, EPM, LSEG

It was much better than I thought it would be and everyone was really nice to us.It was good having a look round and see everyone working. The chocolate game wasfun and I learned a lot from the day.
A girl aged 14

Everyone was really kind and they gave us muffins and juice when we got there. I did learn a lot about how things work with prices and it was nice to talk to the people who told us all about how they got their job and what they do. It was much better than being in school and I wanted to stay longer.
– A boy aged 13

“It was more interesting than I expected it to be. It has made me think about jobs and what I want to do when I’m older. Most of the employeestalked to us about working hard, they were all nice. My team won the chocolate trading game!”
A girl aged 14

“It made me feel more confident about myself, all the employeeswere kind and nice, they told us all aboutthe application processes that they went through to get the job. It was fun doing the chocolate game with them, especially when the reward was to eat the chocolate.
A boy aged 13

“The visit was a wonderful experience and I would love to take part again. I enjoyed interacting and engaging with all the children. So many of them were very creative and I got an insight into their interests outside of school. This helped me to advise them on what subjects they could pursue to reach their goals. One common element and food for thought is that I told them to work hard and follow their dreams. Never to doubt their abilities and they can achieve their goals whether it is to be a designer or doctor or teacher.”
Akua Opong, LSEG

“Spending time with the children was a great experience. After they got over their initial shyness, they asked some very thoughtful questions and were genuinely interested in what it takes to succeed in a career in financial services. During the trading game, my group was able to intelligently articulate the thought process behind their decision making and also demonstrated risk management skills which were above expectations from my point of view. I hope the children got as much out of the experience as I did!”
Henry Odogwu, LSEG

Thank you to LSEG volunteers, Henry Odogwu, Nana Freempong, Neil Escalante, Akua Opong and Natasha Van Abbe for coordinating the session. Thanks also to LSEG’s property team for organising a tour of the building, this is always such a hit with our youngsters.


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