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Center for Financial Market Studies

The Iona College Center for Financial Market Studies (CFMS) was founded with a mission of enhancing educational initiatives, innovation, entrepreneurial skills and experiential learning at Iona College. The Center has focused on the understanding of and research involving organizational and operational aspects of financial markets and institutions. The main goals of the Center are to create an experiential learning environment to encourage and stimulate student learning, advance cooperative learning and research among faculty and students, develop entrepreneurial skills, increase financial literacy and involve the broader community in these endeavors.

Highlights of Initiatives Undertaken:

  • Open access for students and faculty in the LaPenta-Lynch Trading Floor. Iona’s state-of-the-art trading floor opened in October 2011. The facility is a centerpiece of the CFMS and enables students to learn first-hand how to use the same technology and analytic tools used on Wall Street and in the global marketplace. The Trading Floor offers a fully-equipped, simulated trading environment featuring 20 high-end networked trading desks, continuous live-data feeds, 12 Bloomberg Professional terminals, and a variety of other financial software. The room also has a 24-hour LED ticker, market data video wall, two flat-panel plasma televisions and a networked instructor’s podium. The Trading Floor is open to students from 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. every weekday (class reservations permitting) and on select weekends.
  • CFMS orientation sessions for freshman undergraduates and first-year MBA students. All freshman undergraduate students in the School of Business are required to take Introduction to the Business Environment as part of their core course load. CFMS developed a two-session (three-hour) orientation program for each class section where new students are given an introduction to the capital markets and a hands-on introduction to the Trading Floor resources available to them as they move forward with their business education. Many other class sections have done an abbreviated single-session orientation to introduce students to the resources that will help them in their specific class.
  • Extensive financial software training for students and faculty. The Bloomberg Professional service continues to be central to the growth and success of the CFMS. Since 2011, more than 400 students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty were set up with Bloomberg account access and training during the year. All of these users were given a basic orientation to the system and most pursued a deeper experience by utilizing the various online training options. Many of those students also received a Certificate of Completion of Bloomberg Professional Training by achieving a passing score on the Bloomberg Essentials exam. Students were also trained in the use of Research Insight to access the Compustat financial databases. Professors continue to introduce CFMS software programs and training into their curricula.
  • Incorporate student interns into the CFMS program. The CFMS began an internship program in 2012 which provides two students per semester with the opportunity to become Trading Floor interns. Each intern works six hours per week during the semester reporting to the Director of the CFMS. Interns are expected to gain proficiency in the operation and resources of the Trading Floor. In addition, each intern is charged with becoming the resident expert in a particular software program.
  • Bloomberg Essentials Online Training (BESS) initiative. In fall 2014 the School of Business rolled out its BESS initiative, whereby all business students will be required to complete formal interactive training and testing on the Bloomberg Professional system as part of their BUS230 Principles of Finance classwork. BESS is a training portal that helps users quickly learn Bloomberg functionality and key market fundamentals. Students begin by watching all four Core training videos for an orientation to the basics of using the Bloomberg. Once proficient in navigation, students watch Market Sector training videos and take a corresponding Market Sector exam to test their acquired knowledge. Each student receives an Acknowledgement of Completion certificate after achieving a score of 75 percent or better.