The JSE Investment Challenge, now in its 44th year, is a focused and far-reaching educational programme aimed at introducing South African high school learners and university students to the JSE and its role in wealth creation while contributing to the country’s economic growth.
The challenge, South Africa’s largest financial literacy initiative, enables students to become aware of the fundamentals of investing on the JSE and encourages a culture of saving.
It allows learners and students to buy shares in a virtual portfolio and practise trading in a risk-free environment. Each team is given a virtual sum of R1 million which they can use to trade JSE-listed shares.
The Challenge consists of two sections: the Schools Challenge and the University Challenge. Participants for the Schools Challenge are required to group themselves into teams made up of four learners. For the University Challenge, teams can vary from two to four students.
Contributing to the country’s economic growth
Ralph Speirs, CSI officer for marketing and corporate affairs, says: “We are proud of how the Challenge has grown and of being a catalyst in providing the youth with an opportunity to learn about investing.”
This year, school enrolment increased by 18% while university enrolment increased by 14%. The JSE also saw an increase in the following provinces: Gauteng, by 38% and KwaZulu-Natal by 10%.
Speirs says the participants have performed exceptionally well in the 2017 Challenge which took place from March to September. The top performing teams managed to grow their portfolios by between 6% and 45%.
“The winning teams have generated exceptional investment returns,” says Speirs. “Although the participants in the Investment Challenge trade in a risk-free environment because they hold virtual portfolios, the competition still requires them to weigh different investment options against each other and to manage their portfolios to maximize returns.”
Opportunity to learn about investing
In the University Challenge, the top three prizes are valued at R60 000, with first place winners getting R25 000 plus an all-expenses paid trip to an international stock exchange. The contestants in second place receive R20 000 and those in third place, R15 000.
The Schools Challenge works differently and the prizes are awarded monthly to the winning teams. The final prizes, handed over at the awards ceremony, are valued at R180 000 for all three portfolios.
“Every year we look forward to learners throughout South Africa excelling and discovering their potential through participation in the JSE Investment Challenge. This is a game without boundaries and we encourage the youth to participate and explore the world of investing,” says Speirs.
Registration for next year’s challenge will open in January 2018. The JSE invites the youth around the country to join the game and flex their investment muscles.