Virtual trading floors for the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s (JSE) flagship financial literacy programme, the JSE Investment Challenge, have officially opened as the competition marks a 50-year milestone.
Designed to highlight the importance of investing and to increase financial knowledge among South African school learners and tertiary students, the Investment Challenge provides participants with an opportunity to invest a virtual amount of R1 million on the stock market in actual JSE listed shares over a six-month period. Their performance is tracked and measured against other competitors, with top-performers eligible for outstanding prizes after the floor closes in September.
For half a century, the programme has been an asset in upskilling young people in the fundamentals of investing and the importance of financial literacy. Last year, the competition attracted 24,000 participants with representation from urban, townships and rural areas.
“For five decades, the competition has been a significant vehicle to promote financial literacy, demystify the trading landscape, as well as encourage savings and investment from an early age. Using gamification, we are now better able to make the competition engaging and accessible to participants from all backgrounds, ensuring that thousands more are equipped with the fundamental skills required to build wealth,” said Idris Seedat, Head: Transformation and CSI at the JSE.
Last year, top performing teams in the university and schools’ competition attained a growth of 21.73% and 8.4% respectively, despite the All-Share Index performing negatively during the period. Winners were crowned from ACUDEO College Crystal Park, Claremont High School, and the University of the Witwatersrand.
High schools may enter one or more teams, with the challenge being open to all learners. A team must consist of four members from Grades 8 to 12 and a teacher must supervise each team. University students must form a team with members registered with the same institution. Each team must have a minimum of two and a maximum of four members. All students are eligible, regardless of their field of study.
Monthly prizes are awarded to the best performing teams and overall winners win their share of R1 million in prizes including a trip to an international stock exchange for participants in the university game.
“As the continent’s biggest stock exchange, we play an active role in creating a financially literate society. Opportunities like these help our youth gain real trading skills through an interactive platform, while entrenching the value of savings and investing in their long-term development towards financial freedom. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the game, we aim to further broaden the challenge’s footprint by reaching schools, tertiary institutions and areas that we have not touched before and entrench financial literacy in the social fabric of our country,” said Seedat.