Open access

The JSE is driving financial literacy to empower the general public

Open access

World Investor Week was held globally from 3 to 9 October and the JSE organised several initiatives to mark the occasion. Among other events, it held a special opening to the market ceremony on 6 October as it joined other stock exchanges around the world in a drive to raise awareness about financial literacy and the importance of investor education.

‘The JSE has long been a leading champion of improving financial literacy and know-how of ordinary South Africans, recognising that consumer financial education must be the shared responsibility of the various stakeholders that make up the country’s financial sector,’ says Idris Seedat, JSE Head of Transformation and CSI. ‘World Investor Week highlighted the importance of a financial sector that serves all South Africans and not just a privileged few.’

Financial literacy, he adds, plays a crucial role in economic inclusion as a means to address the challenges that SA faces in helping forge a culture of growth and development. ‘The JSE is dedicated to encouraging the participation of all South Africans in developing skills that will lay the foundation for taking advantage of the opportunities the market has to offer.

‘Although South Africans are still recovering from the economic destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are becoming financially aware of the ever-changing circumstances that can impact their financial security locally as a result of a global crisis.’

Seedat says the JSE has made available financial-literacy programmes, which aim to reach all levels of society and help build knowledge that in turn hopefully will build a wealthier generation.

‘The initiatives are part of the JSE’s efforts to be a leading socially responsible exchange on the African continent by creating a society where there is easy and equal access to opportunities for individuals to be able to build wealth and become financially independent. The JSE remains committed to this goal and will continue to improve on the impact and reach of its ongoing financial-literacy initiatives and programmes.’

Also during World Investor Week, the JSE announced the winners of the 2022 Virtual Trading Game (VTG). The VTG is an online platform that simulates a real trading environment and gives participants a risk-free opportunity to practise trading shares. The game is open to all South Africans who want to learn about the stock market and investing. More than 5 000 people participated in the 2022 edition of the VTG.

‘It was a huge learning curve for the participants as this was for some of them the first time they traded on the stock market – although it was a virtual portfolio, it mimics the real market. This year was particularly challenging in that it was a bearish market with the All Share Index down 11.6% during the duration of the competition. The winner achieved 16% growth, which is a great achievement,’ says Seedat.

The JSE has several other financial-literacy initiatives on offer to the general public, including the JSE Investment Challenge (which has been in existence for more than 40 years) for high schools and tertiary institutions, #JSESheInvests (aimed at women investors), JSE Power Hours, SA Stock Picks, and financial learning modules that are free and available on the JSE’s website.

Seedat says the JSE continues to drive financial literacy through its flagship initiatives and aims to make a tangible impact in society, ensuring broader access to the world of finance and investments by the general public.

By Patrick Farrell
Image: Gallo/Getty Images