Website training gains support

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As the shift towards interactive, technology-based training grows in the financial markets, Active Books has found its CD-Rom and web-based products snapped up to be marketed by other training organisations.

Hagen, who is a director of Active Books, is also an employee at Beaufort Consulting, the banking and training consultancy which provides training services in all aspects of the capital markets. Managed by two partners, Bruno Curnier and Paul Baker, Beaufort Consulting runs treasury and capital markets courses for investment banks around the world. The two partners also cast an experienced eye over the material that is put together for Active Books.

Its main product line, the Active Finance series, provides 'an interactive learning experience in which users experiment with sophisticated models/animations and work on practical exercises', according to Active's website (www.activebooks.com). Its catalogue on the website covers fixed income, swaps, options, derivatives applications, and training in the fundamentals of finance.

If you click on 'Active foreign exchange', it claims to help users understand the forex business including spot, forward, swaps and options. Coverage includes application of exotics and hedging strategies for forex portfolios. 'Active technical analysis', on the other hand, explains the basics of technical analysis using pop-ups and animations. It gives users a hands-on experience of charting and technical indicators.

There is a large amount of product and market information with easy access. It is marketed as benefiting fixed-income professionals, relationship managers, graduate trainees, risk managers and treasurers among others in the City. You can download a self-executing demo file from the website, following clear instructions.

The website also offers free financial tools. There is a sophisticated no-mouse bond yield calculator (active calculator RPX) as well as an active calculator ORP, which can price and analyse European-style plain vanilla options. Both also perform basic mathematical operations. They have been developed exclusively with Java 1.1. This means you can use them from any software/hardware platform with a Java 1.1 enabled browser.

The website also offers e-workshop reference modules that provide practical knowledge for traders and analysts. Active Books has developed almost 120 titles so far for these workshops, and plans eventually to put them all on the web with a search engine at the front.

In the current financial training market, it is the ability to integrate classic classroom training with the latest technology and hands-on knowledge that can mark a training firm out for success. Hagen believes firmly in the future of both the CD-Rom and the intranet for financial training in the City. Active Books is covering its options by linking up with training firms that market their products in both directions.

Late last year, IFF, the big training company, announced the launch of computer-based training, saying it had collaborated with ex-traders at JP Morgan to deliver training on CD-Rom in specific areas.

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