The JSE Investment Challenge has grown in leaps and bounds since its small beginnings 40 years ago


The JSE Investment Challenge, which teaches young people how to invest on the bourse, is moving into fresh territory with a new trading platform and ways to bring more South Africans of all ages into the game.

In 2013, 6 632 learners from 317 high schools across the country took part in the JSE Investment Challenge, while around 3 000 students from universities and private colleges in SA participated in the student version of the game.

The competition is all about boosting financial literacy in SA and encouraging young people in particular to get an excellent grip on the workings of the stock market.

JSE Head of Corporate Social Investment Idris Seedat says: ‘It’s imperative that our youth get an understanding of investing and saving. The JSE Investment Challenge offers a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals of investing, where students can generate wealth in a safe environment.’

In the popular schools competition, teams of between two and four learners are given R1 million in virtual (or imaginary) money to invest in JSE-listed shares. Their performance is tracked and measured as they compete against other teams taking part in the challenge over six months.

High school learners are awarded monthly and annual prizes for income, equity and speculator categories, while university teams have the chance to compete for cash prizes and the overall top prize – a visit to an international stock exchange.

The overall winner in 2013 was a four-student team from the University of the Western Cape called Skydivers. They grew their R1 million ‘ghost’ investment to an impressive R2.14 million. The students won an all expenses paid trip to Brazil, which included visiting the BM&FBOVESPA, the stock exchange in São Paulo.

In 2014, the game will be stepped up a few notches with the introduction of a newly designed trading engine. University and college students will be able to trade on the basis of 15 minute delayed feeds from Bloomberg. Currently, they only have access to end of day feeds. This is seen as a very exciting development and will come on stream during 2014.

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‘It’s imperative that our youth get an understanding of investing and saving. The JSE Investment Challenge offers a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals’


While high school leaners will have access to the 15 minute feeds, trades will be executed at end of day closing prices. Seedat says this is to level the playing fields for high school learners, as many would not be able to check their feeds as regularly as students.

Learners and students have the option of three different streams of investment – a low-risk game, a moderate risk equity game and a speculators game. Seedat says while the prizes are an incentive, the thrust of the competition is not about winning, but rather educating people about investing on the stock exchange.

JSE-listed companies have also become involved in the challenge by paying the registration fees for teams from disadvantaged schools so they can enter the competition. It costs R2 500 to sponsor a school in the JSE Adopt a School programme.

Each school can register six teams. An important goal is to pique the interest of high school learners and university students so they can consider studying towards a career in finance.

Several leaders in their fields have participated in the challenge during their high school and student years. They include Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh, who recently told a meeting of young people at the JSE how the game had helped him manage his income and investments.

In 2014, the challenge will be rolled out to all South Africans who would like to test the trading waters through the safety of a game.

By Kim Cloete
Image: Fredrik Broden/