ASX Share Market Game – for realistic testing / paper trading

One way to test out your share trading strategy is to participate in the twice-yearly, 15-week share market game that is hosted by the ASX. This KB article explains a little bit about this game, how and why to play it, and how BullCharts users can collaborate in the game for their own mutual benefit.

[At the time of writing this KB article (20 January 2022), the game registration period had not begun, so some of the information below may change for this upcoming game and for future games.]

Why is this important and useful?

When participating in the financial markets as an investor or trader, there are many ways to select an asset class, and if you decide to invest in shares then there are many ways to select the stocks for your portfolio, regardless of whether your investing horizon is short term or long term.

When using the BullCharts software platform you are inherently using technical analysis to some degree, to aid in your stock selection, and/or your exit strategy to protect your capital. But it is very important to have some form of stock selection strategy so that you can review the success, or otherwise, of your investing performance over time. In addition, a pre-prepared exit strategy is also very important.

To help you gain confidence in your strategies, it is very useful to conduct some form of back-testing and/or paper trading. Participating in a share market game such as the ASX Game is a very useful way of testing out your ideas in real time over a number of weeks.

And for anyone who has not yet traded in the market, participating in the game and placing your first stock buy order can be very much like placing your first online trade with your real-life online broker. For some people this includes sweaty palms and butterflies in the tummy.

About the ASX Share Market Game

The ASX Share Market Game has been running for about 15 weeks twice each year for many years. The steps to participate include:

  1. Visit the ASX website and register for an ASX userid, then login to the ASX website using your ASX userid.
  2. Register your interest in playing the game. You can do this during the 1-month registration period before the game starts, and also during the first few weeks of the game.
  3. Once the game play commences, you can buy and sell any of the available shares during the 15-week game period.

Some more detail about the game is included below.

How the game works

The ASX share market game works basically as follows.

  1. After you gain an ASX userid and then register for the game, you can trade shares during the 15-week game period. The registration period is generally for a month prior to the start of game play. (In 2022, the key dates are: registration from 3 February and game play from 3 March until 16 June. These dates are shown on the ASX website here.)
  2. You are allocated $50,000 of fantasy money, and you can access the Game Dashboard with many options available.
  3. The game has a limited list of securities in which you can trade, generally including: shares, ETFs, REITs and Managed funds. In recent games there has usually been between about 200 and 400 securities available. And you can view a list of these companies and download a CSV file of the stocks so that you can import them into your own BullCharts watchlist.
  4. You can buy and sell shares using your $50,000 during normal ASX market hours. That is, trading takes place in line with the real market operation from 10am to 4pm weekdays, excluding public holidays (see the trading days and holidays on the ASX website here).
  5. There are restrictions on the size of your positions relative to your total portfolio value (see the game rules for details).
  6. There is no restriction on how often you can trade.
  7. Your buy and sell requests can only be fulfilled in the game if there is a corresponding buy/sell in the real market. This can result in your trades being fulfilled in multiple parcels. For example, you might request to buy 10,000 shares in a stock, and the next few trades in the real market might be for 300 shares, and then another 300, and then 700. Your buy parcel sizes will reflect this up to the amount that you have requested.
  8. A nominal amount of brokerage is charged, so as to make the game fairly realistic.

More information about the game can be found on the ASX website here.

If you have NOT previously registered with ASX website

If you have not previously registered as a user/visitor on the ASX website, then visit the ASX website and click on the “LOGIN” option in the top right corner of the website home page, then click on the “JOIN NOW” option, and enter your: First Name, Last Name and email address and click on “NEXT” and follow further prompts to create your password (with 8-64 characters of your choosing), and tick the box to acknowledge the Privacy Statement and the Ts and Cs.

This writer registered many years ago and has never received unwanted emails. Once registered on the website you can choose to “Subscribe to our newsletters” which includes the monthly “Investor Update” newsletter and others. See more information on that topic here.

If you HAVE previously registered with ASX website

If you HAVE previously registered with the ASX website – Go to the ASX Investor Portal and select the “ASX Sharemarket Game”.

Register for the game

Once you have registered on the ASX website, and you have an ASX userid, you can Register for the next ASX Game during the registration period (registration for Game 1 in 2022 opens on 3rd February). The game play will start a month later (Game 1 in 2022 starts on 3rd March).

How to play

At any time you can view the game information about how-to-play.

ASX Game League

For our BullCharts users we intend to establish a Game League and invite all users to join the league. There is a 2 minute informational video on the ASX website. More information for BullCharts users is included below.

Past player performance and observations

The following information can be offered regarding previous games in recent years:

  • There is usually between about 14,000 and 20,000 players participating in the game.
  • The winning player portfolio value (shares and cash) has varied from as low as about $65,000 to as high as about $170,000 depending on the prevailing market conditions.
  • It has been common for about half of the players to finish the game in a losing position (ie. with less than $50,000 of portfolio value).
  • Some winning players have focused on fundamental analysis while other winning players have focused on technical analysis.
  • It seems as though the chance of winning the game (ie. higher portfolio value) is increased if you spend more time watching the market and researching opportunities, and selling off losers. Some winners have spent an average of an hour or so each day on this activity.

What if you have two strategies to test?

As best we know, if you want to test out more than one strategy in the ASX Game, you will need to obtain a second ASX userid. We are not aware of any way to keep a track of two strategies within the one ASX userid account.

BullCharts user participation

The BullCharts User Group is coordinating participation in the 2022 game, with two Game Leagues – one for sand-box testing and novices, and a second one for serious players.

In case some BullCharts users might be reluctant to join the league because they either want to play around with a strategy, or because they feel uncertain about playing the game (resulting in possible embarrassment), we will set up two leagues – one for sand-box testing and novices, and a second one for serious players. Then the performance of each league will more accurately reflect the trading ability of the respective participants (because the league performance can be seen and ranked with other leagues).

The two league names might be: BullCharts-sandbox and BullCharts-users. By incorporating the word BullCharts into the league name(s) we will be inherently promoting the BullCharts name and software system.

What to do next? How to participate?

At this point in time (January 2022) we are waiting on the ASX Game registration period to come around. After that we will be able to update relevant information in this KB article.

In the meantime, you can do two things:

  1. Visit the ASX game website (using the various links above); and
  2. Gather your thoughts for your investing/trading strategy.

Robert Brain (User Group facilitator)

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