Freetrade Gamification

This discussion kicked off after Rod bought up goals here -

the first post below is Victor’s reply.

I’m afraid lots of people would want to beat me! :upside_down_face:

Goal setting might be an interesting feature request - I’m curious how that relates to benchmarks in your view?

Agree with you @rod, too much gamification, especially encouraging social competition like certain other trading apps (more in the CFD space though), could lead users to making poor decisions and taking bigger risks. Of course we know why the other providers try to do that…



That’s an “old chestnut” to quote @Justin’s immortal words.

The only thing I personally want to beat is the market.

Then there could be a universal benchmark - S&P 500 and FTSE All Share.

If your portfolio is 30% UK and 70% US, then the benchmark may have coefficients applied. So if S&P growth is 20% in a year and FTSE is 10%, you would have 70% of 20% and 30% of 10% as your benchmark, i.e., 17%.

If you do not beat it - consider passive ETFs that track the markets.

This way there will be some sort of “target” and yet will be no unhealthy competition.


With gamification it depends on the metrics you are looking at. So yes you can pick toxic metrics but you could also look at good metrics… off the top of my head it could be things like how long you hold stocks for or something.


I am 95% an index-tracking, low-cost-seeking, passive investor. And 5% a stock-picking, p2p-funding, crowdequity-ing, crypto-buying experimenter (and that 5% is partly an effort to help keep the 95% disciplined). I accept that my 5% means I’m as likely to under-perform as out-perform the market.

So for the most part my interest in benchmarks is pretty minimal: I end up trusting Vanguard or whoever to track reasonably close to whatever benchmark. And for the 5%, the measurement is mostly “am I learning something?”.

But I am interested in questions like “What should my goal be?” or “Am I investing enough?”. Which I know is more investment advice/RIA than stock broker territory.

But it would be great to see things that encouraged good investment behaviours, like maybe:

  • show me my “time in the market”/that I’m a long-term stock holder
  • don’t show me the minute by minute red and green ticks up and down, but give me a view that says “here’s your progress compared to 12 months ago”
  • or tell me “the worst drawdown you’ve survived was % on date and after that you were up % over the next X months. So don’t panic and sell now, stay the course”.

That part would constitute investment advice and definitely something that should not be done. Who would one blame if the crash to that security will happen? Better keep it neutral, to the facts.

Oh yeah I know. But even so that is the user need of this particular user :smile:


Gamification of Freetrade = never happening

That doesn’t mean we can’t a bit of fun, but at our core we are serious about investing.

Would be cool to have a feature for a stock pick game with friends. I’ve had lots of fun with that over the years, but it is always your speculative picks you put in, never what you would compose your total porfolio of. I remember I had a great pick one time (Cameco, Uranium), then Fukushima happened. :anguished:



I would consider these playful (or even useful!) stats, not gamification. I like the direction of these ideas. You could see a hint of the same with “Freetrade user #1” on the screenshot of Adam’s profile screen. A bit of fun and personality there.

As @adam said, gamification (pointless point scoring, competition with others, anything that other apps do for “engagement”) won’t happen.

We definitely think of how to introduce more playfulness, while taking investing seriously!


The app waiting list is Gamification… shhh don’t tell @adam someone snuck it in quietly :upside_down_face: Joking aside you can get really silly with random point scoring.


Maybe Freetrade could post the top 10 , 20 or 50 traded stocks and ETF’s to give other user an idea what is popular.

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Ha, these have actually been the most requested feature, see #1 here:

I think it’s just the different definitions of “gamification”, and @adam and I have seen poor examples of it by other apps. It sounds like we all in this community have the same things in mind! :+1: :muscle:


Yes, to be clear I’m referring to gamification of trading rather than fun features. Eg BUX or TradeHero. Getting customers to be addicted to a day trading game :skull_and_crossbones::skull_and_crossbones::skull_and_crossbones:


Btw, in that 10 most requested post, I can’t tell whether the answer to “5. cryptos” means yes, no, or something else.

I really like that freetrade tries to encourage clients to do what is best for them, and aligns freetrade incentives with that. However gamification gets a bad rap - it can be a force for good as well and doesn’t have to be about constant trading. Would be really interested to see Freetrade decide on some specific behaviours to reward, for example:

  • Saving regularly
  • Saving up to a target each year
  • Meeting retirement goals set by user (say save x by 55)
  • Keeping right mix set by user of cash, bonds and stock or sectors
  • Showing users what their money will be worth over 20 years say if invested
  • Surviving a crash without selling
  • Buying at the low of a crash
  • Even beating the market each year

These things can be made a fun challenge with badges and encouragement of sane behaviour, and discouraging harmful stuff like selling in a panic, and most of the population just doesn’t think about investing except when in the middle of a massive bubble or a massive market crash (when they tend to do exactly the wrong thing), so things that could make them enjoy the more mundane activities would be great - gamification doesn’t have to be evil and the problem with humans is we crave constant change and action, and find it difficult to just do nothing.

Not sure about comparative things with other users or lists of favourite stocks, as it almost skews the perspective of an investor in favour of short term gains and encourages risky behaviour like investing in things purely because everyone else is, or because last month x made lots of money on it. The big advantage of a retail investor is you don’t have to think about quarterly or yearly targets, and have a much longer time frame, so you should be investing for 10 or 20 years, not 1 week or month.

I wrote some ideas gamification of saving a little over on the Monzo boards last year (before I found out about freetrade - see the ending :wink: ):


May be worth given past performance*

This would be quite dodgy. Imagine there is a crush in 2025 where Lehman Brothers equivalent is about to go bust. If by rewarding you encourage not to sell, it will not look good on a broker’s reputation if a security goes bust.

That would be more interesting. Have a “Beaten the market in 20XX” badge on the Forum based on your performance.

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Yes sure they’d have to avoid anything that came close to advice, I was thinking of those as retrospective - but even then probably best avoided.

I do think there is value in projections, not based on past performance, but simple figures of x % growth in real terms. It helps illustrate the real value of saving for the future.

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As long as the wording is sticking to facts and generic options, it should be perfectly fine.

Just should not be definitive/promising/suggesting/predicting.