Pattern-based detection of cheating is a losing game for developers. It takes an ever-increasing amount of effort to do, and the developers will always lose–I’ve seen it happen in literally dozens of games over more than 25 years of online gaming, including in environments that had multiple full-time developers devoted solely to trying to stop abuse.
It’s easy to catch blatantly obvious cheaters, but those aren’t the ones you need to worry about. The tools that catch the blatant cheaters also tend to generate a whole lot of false positives, and they’re trivial to circumvent by any cheater who puts even a tiny amount of effort. They’re also easy for malicious actors to abuse to frame legitimate players. Only the most clumsy and incompetent of cheaters will use alt accounts from the same IP address and directly funnel resources to their “main” account (and I’m pretty sure that’s already been happening!).
The “riddle” has been solved time and time again in many other games and environments. There are many possible solutions, and which one(s) you pick depend on what your vision is for the game, what you want the new player experience to be like, how much staff/developer time you want to commit, etc. We, as players, can’t make those decisions for the developers.
If you feel that you “have” to give people money, you can make all money traceable and add mechanisms for unwinding fraudulent transactions. If you want the effect of giving people money without actually giving them money, there are ways to do that too. If you make the choice of handing out a big bag of cash (and that is a design choice, not something intrinsic to trading simulators), then the rest of the game needs to have systems in place to limit or eliminate the degree to which that can be abused. If you feel any kind of “reset” mechanism (COLIQ) is too abuse-prone or it’s not worth the effort to prevent abuse, then alter the other systems in the game so a reset mechanism isn’t needed (e.g., fewer company failure modes, a better new player experience, ways to recover from early mistakes). If there’s too much of an advantage to having alt accounts, increase the barrier to entry. And so on.
The lowest-cost approach to cheating in many systems is to clearly define what’s not allowed, tell the community that it will not be tolerated, and make it clear that actions are being taken. When blatant cheaters get to brag about what they’ve done, that sends the message that cheating is just fine.