Ntsika Secondary School grabs first place for the month at the JSE Investment Challenge
“Amazing” is how the four members of Team Optimistic Eagles felt after they walked away with the national prize for the April-May cycle at this year’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Investment Challenge, a first for this region.
Ntsika won the monthly prize in the income portfolio category against more than 2 051 teams nationally working towards the coveted ultimate win.
The competition takes the form of a simulator in which each team of four learners or students from the same school or institution are given an imaginary sum of R1 million. With this imaginary amount, the teams trade on the stock market and invest in actual JSE listed shares over a six-month period.
The challenge, in its 46th year, draws in school learners and university students with an interest in investment and stock markets. Over the decades the initiative has come to be highly regarded as an instrument that introduces the country’s youth to investing and the stock exchange.
Here in Makhanda, senior lecturer in the Accounting department at Rhodes University, Leon Coopasamy has signed up nine local schools to the programme and appointed university students, trained by a JSE expert, as mentors.
“Every single government school in the area is taking part this year, Coopasamy said. “I reached out personally to them and built the relationships over these past few years.”
Second-year Rhodes University B.Comm student Bongani Mtsweni made it possible for the Ntsika pupils to participate, despite having no computers or data.
“They don’t have data to check on their portfolio and how it changes, so when I come, I show them the graphs – how their shares have changed since their last session,” Mtsweni told Grocott’s Mail. “If I see something will make a loss before the next session, I Whatsapp a group member so they can discuss among themselves what they want to do about it.
Teams have to select the “risk” portfolio; the options are Income (low-risk), Equity Growth (moderate risk) and Speculator (high risk). The last option is limited to schools with internet access.
These different portfolios allow participants to select their appropriate wealth management strategies, testing their investment skills against peers who follow a similar strategy.
Ntsika’s Optimistic Eagles, made up of Grade 12s, Sisethu Mtshelu, Abongile Sikutshwa, Yolisa Makina and Wanda Fusa, opted for the Income portfolio. The monthly inflation target set for April – their winning month – was R5000.
“They achieved their R5000 inflation target by buying shares at their lowest price and selling at their highest,” Mtsweni explained. “Once you’ve reached your inflation target, the aim is to gain income. The highest income will win the monthly competition – and that’s what the Eagles did.”
“These girls weren’t afraid to take a risk,” Mtsweni told Grocott’s Mail.
“We are very excited about this win by the Ntsika team. Wins of this nature help children realise that life and opportunities are not dependent on your circumstances. Now they can look at the competition and see that ‘I can do it’,” said Coopasamy.