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Chicago Mercantile Exchange opening Ulster University 'trading floor' to help train students

Published 26/08/2015

Enterprise Jonathan Bell and Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry are pictured with Jim Oliff, CME Group Foundation chairman after officially opening the new CME Group Financial Innovation Laboratory at Ulster University. Pic William Cherry
Enterprise Jonathan Bell and Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry are pictured with Jim Oliff, CME Group Foundation chairman after officially opening the new CME Group Financial Innovation Laboratory at Ulster University. Pic William Cherry

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is opening a financial innovation laboratory at Ulster University in Jordanstown to educate students about its work.

The lab will house the most technologically advanced software to provide students and visitors with hands-on experience of a dynamic trading environment, comparable to an investment bank.

The total cost of the project is £237,000. CME Group Foundation will donate $175,000 over two years and Invest Northern Ireland has offered assistance of £30,000 to the project over a three year period.

The NASDAQ-listed company opened an IT office in Belfast in 2012 to support its derivatives and futures exchanges in Chicago and New York.

It employs around 100 people in software development.

The corporation was formed by the 2007 merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).

CME started as an exchange for trading agricultural commodities before branching out into futures and derivatives.

It still trades in futures on farm-related products from frozen pork bellies to live cattle.

In 2013, First Derivatives opened a Trading Room, supported by Invest NI, at Queen’s to educate students hoping to embark in a career in financial services or technology.

CME is one of Northern Ireland's main financial technology (fintech) companies. Employment Minister Stephen Farry said: “The ‘fintech’ sector is key to the continued growth of our economy and I will continue to ensure the skills needs of the sector are met. My Department has recently launched a Financial Services Academy through the Assured Skills initiative and the Ulster University Business School’s new Laboratory will be central to the delivery of the Academy training programme.”

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