How the Options Institute Is Catalysing Financial Literacy Worldwide

By: Gina DeRaimo, Head of the Options Institute, Cboe Global Markets Oct 2023

Cboe Global Markets’ education arm, The Options Institute (OI), was founded nearly 40 years ago with a mission to provide trusted derivatives education to market participants. While the Institute is a part of Cboe, it has always existed as a neutral educator driven solely by its focus on increasing investor IQ.

As markets have evolved, so has the OI’s approach to education. The growth in retail trading has highlighted a need for more accessible and novel approaches to financial literacy education, and the OI was ready to fill that need. Courses and tours at Cboe’s trading floor in Chicago exemplify how the OI combines traditional teaching methods with hands-on experiences to create memorable education for investors of all levels—especially the next generation of market participants.

In the works is the launch of the OI’s Level-Up Learning Initiative, which is founded on the principles of transparency, practice and connection. Through the initiative, the OI plans to partner with national organisations to develop a comprehensive K-12 financial literacy curriculum that includes lessons about capital markets, trading and investing. The Institute is also developing training games to inspire curiosity about markets and price discovery and will offer a platform for students to apply what they learn. In turn, the OI hopes to build a community of life-long learners who remain engaged in learning opportunities and conversations about markets, investing and their own financial health.

But the work won’t stop there. Getting the initiative up and running is the first, most vital step, but measuring outcomes as the initiative progresses is just as important. This may include observing how many states and countries mandate financial literacy education and leverage the curriculum created by OI and its partners. Similarly, the OI and its partners seek to evaluate whether more Millennials and Gen-Zers report finding trusted financial advice from someone other than a social media creator. It may also include assessing students to determine whether they’ve successfully levelled-up their financial skillset: creating a budget, selecting the right investment tools for their goals, and understanding how to read financial or economic news and data.

In addition to the creation of the Level-Up Learning Initiative, The Options Institute is a sponsor of the Big Shoulders Fund School Stock Market Program and will lead programming onsite in two Chicago schools this year. The program is a hands-on learning experience for elementary school students to help them learn about the stock market and investing through mock investing. This kind of experiential learning aligns perfectly with the OI’s approach to education, and getting students involved at a young age increases the likelihood that they will continue to grow their commitment to their financial wellbeing as they get older.

Globally, the OI has plans to bring financial literacy education to more adults through partnerships with fellow financial services industry members. Notably, the Institute is partnering with JSE Limited to launch a derivatives education program for South African audiences in early 2024. A partnership with Grupo BVL will bring beginner and intermediate online educational programming to English/Spanish speaking audiences in Peru. This follows the OI’s launch of Spanish language online courses that are free to global audiences, another step in the OI’s mission of enabling financial education worldwide.

Cboe is proud of its educational heritage and its legacy of making financial markets more accessible. The Options Institute is excited to continue that legacy by welcoming the next generation of investors into the marketplace and ensuring they have the tools to build their own sustainable financial future.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.