FAQ

    University faculty, staff or club head can fill out the Team Member Registration Form to reserve a spot for a team from their institution. Please visit the Registration section of our website for more information.
    Registration includes all of the costs involved in the enrolment of the competition including events held during the competition, and 5 meals (Friday Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner, Saturday Breakfast/Lunch).
    We are currently allowing faculty from non-registered schools to participate as observers. Please contact ritc@rotman.utoronto.ca to discuss registration and fees as an observer.
    It is up to each individual team to arrange travel to Toronto and associated accommodations. Most competitors should choose to arrive at Toronto Pearson International Airport and take taxi or public transportation into the city. However, competitors located closer to Toronto may choose to fly into Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport located closer to the downtown area. The competition is located on the University of Toronto, St. George Campus at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. Below map of Rotman's location, at 105 St.George Street.
    A school may send a team that consists of graduate students, undergraduate students or a combination of the two.

    Yes, we allow the registration of a second team from the same school, but only if there are additional places once registration has closed. We can only allow the official registration of a second team from the same school when the maximum number of teams that we allow is not reached. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee spots for teams registered on the waitlist.

    Registering a second team follows the same process as registering the first team (see: Registration), however the second team will be registered to our waitlist. Teams that have both registered and paid will be prioritized. The pricing for second teams will also follow the same structure (i.e. if the team is registered to the waitlist during the early bird period, they will pay early bird prices if they make it off the waitlist)

In order to ensure that every team has the same information, any questions asked regarding case content will be posted here. General questions about RITC 2017 Cases will be uploaded once the Cases are released.

    1. When will the case files be released?
    The RITC 2017 Case files will be released on January 21st, 2017.

    1. What version of Excel will be installed at the competition venue?
    The base Office 2013 package will be installed, which includes Excel 2013.

    2. Is it possible to use MATLAB for cases other than the MathWorks Algorithmic Trading Case?
    No. MATLAB will only be available for the MathWorks Algorithmic Trading Case. For all other cases, you can only use Excel and/or VBA.

    3. Will there be 2 screens for each desktop terminal?
    Each team will have a desktop with two screens and a laptop (one screen) per two competitors.

    4. What is the resolution of the desktop screens and laptop screens?
    The desktop screens' resolution is 1920 x 1080.
    The laptop screens' resolution is 1920 x 1080.

    5. Will the laptops provided to the students for trading also have an external mouse?
    Yes, laptops will have an external mouse.

    6. Could you please specify the number of cores on the CPUs that will be available during the MathWorks Algorithmic Trading Case?
    The desktops used in all the cases including algo case will have the same structure: i7 processor, Quad Core, 8GB RAM

    7. Which version of MATLAB will used at the competition?
    Matlab release 2016b.

    7. Will a 32 bit or 64 bit version of Matlab and Excel be installed?
    64 bit will be installed.

    1. My "Penalties Computation Tool" does not work. Why?
    In almost all cases, the reason why your "Penalties Computation Tool" does not work is because you have an old version of the RTD links. Please install the most recent version as advertised on our website at the case file page

    Please uninstall the previous version of the RIT RTD/API links and then install the new one according to the instructions that you can find at this link: RIT and RIT API/RTD links installation

    1. At what frequency will the structural news items appear?
    The structural news items will appear at a random frequency.

    2. Will the structural news items always pertain to only one variable in the Altman Z-score model or the Structural Model?
    The news items can impact both or only one of the Altman Z-score and the Structural Model.

    3. Will the news items always be quantitative in nature?
    We have qualitative and quantitative news items that are drawn randomly from our database.

    4. Which probability distribution should we assume for the changes in which the structural variables are drawn?
    For the structural model, details have been provided in the appendix (assets move as a geometric Brownian motion).

    5. Are the Current Value of Assets and Market Value of Equity Prices adjusted for news impacts?
    The effect from the news items may or may not be reflected on the Market Value of Equity and the Current Value of Assets: you can consider them as exogenous variables in the model that you simply need to use in order to calculate the implied credit spread.

    6. Will the news in the Credit Risk case only concern one item at a time?
    There may be news releases that affect multiple items. You should be able to confirm this from the new credit risk practice case which was made available Feb. 12th.

    7. Are credit spreads weekly compounded at the risk free rate?
    Yes the compounding interval is 1 week.

    8. In the leverage formula L, is it necessary to change the weekly compounded risk free rate to a continuously compounded one?
    Yes, you need to change it to continuously compounded.

    9. In computing the financial leverage "L", the formula needs current values of debt (CV_asset minus MV_equity) and asset (CV_asset), while in Altman Z-Score calculation the same inputs should be taken from the news value or if it is the opposite (in the case package it is written "Total asset" and "total debt"). Is this correct?
    For the Financial Leverage, the case package says "current value of debt" and it is defined as the discounted value of the Face Value of the debt. It also says "current value of assets" which is the market value of the assets (current value of assets at the present time).
    The Altman Z-Score is calculated based on the accounting values for the debt and the assets as provided in the case package (and then modified by the news).

    10. As an example, how would I price a bond with a Company Rating of A, two years left to maturity and a risk free interest rate of 2% annualized weekly compounded?
    The solution is as follows:
    Company Rating=A
    Credit Spread (sr)=3%, this is provided in the table of the Case Package, page 19.
    Time to Maturity (T)=2 years
    rw=2%
    The equivalent annual rate ra is


    n is the number of weeks in one year (48 weeks in a year as explained in the Case Package).
    The price of the bond (P0) is therefore:

    11. Each bond has 5 years of maturity and each sub heat will span 16 minutes (those 16 minutes are representing two calendar years). When the sub-heat ends, will the bond have 3 years of maturity?
    When each sub-heat ends, the bond will have 3 years left until maturity since each sub-heat represents two years of calendar time.

    1. Are there fines for exceeding product limit by refining.
    No, limits for refined products that are exceeded due to refining will not be fined.

    2. Are there delays for when tenders are filled?
    All tenders will be received when the auction is finished.

    3. Do all traders receive the same tenders?
    Yes, tenders are the same for all traders.

    4. What is the cost for refining and where is it recorded?
    The "actual cost" of the refined products, from the refiner's perspective, is the sum of the cost to buy the crude oil plus the cost for the leasing of the refinery (please check the case package for the details) and the participants are required to track them. The cost column from the Portfolio Watch window for the refined products simply displays the market price when they were refined.

    5. The waiver states that each team will be provided with one desktop computer and one laptop for each case, while the BP Commodities case says the commodities case has 2 traders, 1 refiner and 1 producer. How many computers will each team receive for this case?
    During the BP Commodities Case, your team will have two desktops and two laptops.

    6. How will team seating be assigned?
    Most teams will be sitting in the same row while some teams will have pairs of students sitting across the other. Seating locations will be assigned randomly.

    7. For the refiner, how long will the effect of news of HO or RB last? Does the effect of news to the price end just before the next news release?
    The price effect happens during the news release and the length that it lasts is randomized in the system.

    8. For the refiner, how should we split the leasing costs for HO and RB? For example, using H x 10 to produce RB x 4 and HO x 6, the leasing cost is 350,000. When calculating cost, should it be half (175,000) for HO and RB respectively or 350,000 for HO and RB respectively?
    The leasing cost cannot be split. Once the refiner is started, the full leasing cost will be charged regardless of the amount of Crude Oil used for the refining process.

    1. On page 30, it says that the RT100 Index is determined by 6 countries. On page 31, the formula determining the index is given for only 3 countries. Can you clarify this?
    The index will be determined by the sum of the 6 countries. The formula in the case package is omitting some of the countries for ease of notation and we added 3 dots to signal that. The entire formula would be:

    2. Do traders and analysts receive news at the same time?
    Yes, they will receive news at the same time.

    3. Do traders only get qualitative news?
    Traders will get the news headlines, which contain qualitative information only. Analysts will get both the news headlines and the specific news that include quantitative numbers. On Friday February 10th we will be releasing a practice case where you will be able to see the news headlines and the specific news.

    4. Are competition participants the only market liquidity providers?
    For traders, the other competition participants will be the only market liquidity providers. Analyst can submit up to two spot trades and the counterparty will be the Rotman Finance Lab (you can assume that there will always be a counterparty willing to trade at the spot index).

    5. Are the news in the competition very similar to the examples in the case package?
    We will be publishing a practice news file for the Quantitative Outcry Case on February 10th and you will be able to see a full practice case.

    6. Are there unrelated news coming out during the outcry to confuse participants?
    There may or may not be unrelated news coming out during the outcry.

    7. Are open positions settled at the end of each quarter or at the end of each heat?
    There won't be break time between each quarter. There will be a time break between different heats.

    8. Can analysts see the spot price when entering spot positions?
    The spot trades submitted by analysts will be executed at the current spot price of the RT100 Index posted on the screen. So analysts will see the spot price when entering spot positions.

    9. Are tickets submitted after every trade or collected at the end of each quarter?
    Tickets must be submitted after every trade.

    10. Besides the net position limits, is there a trading volume limit for traders?
    The only limits that will be enforced during the Quantitative Outcry case are the limits that are described in the case brief.

    11. Can analyst use a whiteboard to communicate with traders during the competition?
    No, they cannot use a whiteboard (or anything similar).

    12. How is the analyst seat assigned?
    It is randomly assigned.

    1. What programs can be used to develop algorithms for this case?
    Teams can use Excel VBA or MATLAB. For a free trial of MATLAB, please click here

    2. Is there any time provided for the students to test their algorithm in the lab prior to the start of the first preliminary round?
    Yes, there will be a testing period on Thursday evening after the social outcry.

    3. My market order does not always get executed instantly and is delayed for several seconds. I am wondering how I can avoid this problem?
    There is a limit to the number of orders that you can submit per second: the maximum is five orders per second (1 each 0.2 seconds). Example: if you submit 10 orders at the same time, the first five will be executed at time 0, the second five orders will be executed at time t+1.

    4. My "MathWorks Algorithmic Trading Case Base Algorithm" does not work. Why?
    In almost all cases, the reason why your "MathWorks Algorithmic Trading Case Base Algorithm" does not work is because you have an old version of the RTD links. Please install the most recent version as advertised on our website at the case file page

    Please uninstall the previous version of the RIT RTD/API links and then install the new one according to the instructions that you can find at this link: RIT and RIT API/RTD links installation

    5. How do I get the historical data of 300 ticks?
    You can use the "NEWS" function to obtain the historical information. You can link news into MATLAB the same way that you link any other field. For more details, please visit the Tutorial - Connect the RIT and MATLAB that we posted at http://ritc.rotman.utoronto.ca/casefiles.asp
    Below is an example:

    Here is the result if you run the above code on our demo server:
    ("flserver.rotman.utoronto.ca", port "10000")

    6. When I try to pull historical data into MATLAB using subscribe(rit, 'latestnews_1'), it returns latestnews_1: 'LATESTNEWS_1'. How do I fix this?
    Please use NEWS instead of LATESTNEWS.

    7. Is there a base algo in Matlab?
    No, there is a base algo in Excel only.

    8. What is the correct way to cancel my limit orders?

    Below is the sample code used to submit an order and then delete it. This code was tested on one of the practice cases.

    1. Can you please give us an example of details for a sub-heat?
    The descriptions will be given to participants a few minutes before the event and will provide information on the number of securities available in the case, commissions, etc. You can see a sample here.

    2. The case mentions that during a tender offer you may not trade the current ETF due to front running, however if I have a position in the ETF already and a limit order that I had putin place to reduce exposure, is that still considered front running?
    It depends on whether the transactions affect your positions received from the tender order. For example, suppose that you have a long position of 10,000 shares on the ETF and you receive a tender offer to buy more shares of the ETF (that is, after you accept the tender offer, your position on the ETF would become greater than 10,000).

    If you submit a sell limit order for a volume less than or equal to 10,000 prior to accepting the tender offer AND the order is transacted, it will not be front running because you are closing your previous long position. If the order is for a volume greater than 10,000 AND if they're transacted, only the portion exceeding 10,000 will be considered front running.