Business Maverick


Students outperform the All Share Index in virtual trading challenge

Students outperform the All Share Index in virtual trading challenge
Team Maulana Karenga of Acudeo College Crystal Park won R21,500 in the equity category. (Photo: Supplied)

The top-performing teams in this year’s JSE Investment Challenge managed to achieve growth of 21.73%, against a negative 11.8% by the All Share Index during the same period, sealing outstanding returns in an underperforming market.

“Their ability to comprehend and trade derivative products, which are relatively complex financial instruments, helped the winning teams to show good returns on their investments,” says Leila Fourie, group chief executive of the JSE.

For the first time in the nearly 50-year history of the Investment Challenge, all three winning university teams traded single stock futures – and it turned out to be the right investment strategy. 

In the school’s competition, the top team recorded an 8.4% return in the Equity Portfolio and 4% in the Speculator Portfolio. These teams’ choice of shares helped them to outperform the All Share Index, indicating that they have acquired a good understanding of market-moving economic and business dynamics.

The Investment Challenge attracted an impressive 24,000 participants, 10.6% more than last year and a clear indication that South Africa’s youth are indeed interested and eager to become financially literate.  

Ralph Speirs, CSI officer at the JSE, says he is impressed with the effort, dedication and enthusiasm that learners and students have demonstrated in developing competitive strategies to get ahead in the competition this year.  

“The JSE Investment Challenge aims to stimulate students and learners’ interest in financial literacy so that they can continue to self-educate throughout their lives,” he says.

Acudeo College Crystal Park in Gauteng was a clear winner this year, scooping eight prizes across the income and equity competition categories. The school, which has participated in the JSE Investment Challenge since 2019, entered a total of 21 teams, or 84 pupils. 

Team participation at the school has been exponential, moving from initially entering six teams in 2019 to seven teams competing in 2020, which more than doubled to about 15 teams last year, before growing to 21 teams this year. 

And building on the success of the JSE Investment Challenge at the school in the past three years, the school has pulled in pupils as young as those in grades 8 and 9. However, teams are mixed across the grades so that older pupils who have competed before can guide and mentor the younger ones. 

Maths teacher Giba Mahlangu was awarded the Teacher Mentor award for his outstanding contribution to financial literacy over the past three years. Accepting his award, a modest Mahlangu noted that when he first attended the awards about 15 years ago, the room did not reflect the country’s demographics. 

“That did not sit well with me, and I decided to do something about it. When we have the knowledge, the sky is the limit,” he told a packed room of winning learners at the awards ceremony in Sandton last week. 

Acudeo’s team Imhotep – which included Thabang Phahle, Amukelani Mathosi, Thabitha Lesenyeho and Siyamthanda Sibeko – took the top spot with R65,785,68 in the income category. 

“Part of our strategy was taking advantage of when the share price dropped and making 56% profit from that,” explains Sibeko. 

“Our risk management plan was our money. We bought as many companies as possible that would give us dividends, and that’s how we took first place.”

Team Imhotep of Acudeo College Crystal Park with JSE director of corporate affairs Vuyo Lee (second right) and teacher Giba Mahlangu (extreme right). 

Their sister team, Maulana Karenga, hit the sweet spot in the equity portfolio with an 8.88% return, thanks to the collective hard work of team members Boipelo Kgope, Siyambuka Ngqendeshe, Phamela Boroko and Xolani Mcitika. 

The Wall Street team, from Claremont High School in the Western Cape – which included Gerard Umegbolu, Lathita Caza, Litha Thembela and Muhammad Ridhaa Adams – walked away with the top prize in the high schools’ speculator category, with a portfolio growth of 4.01%. 

The winning Wall Street team of Claremont High School with teacher Megan Stanbul (extreme left); Leila Fourie, CEO of the JSE (second right); and Vuyo Lee, JSE director of corporate affairs (extreme right).

“The JSE Investment Challenge was challenging, but through team effort and hard work we managed to pull it off,” says Caza. “We would encourage young people to challenge themselves, follow their ambition and join the challenge … you will never know until you try,” adds teammate Thembela.

Roberto Coelho, team leader for Dancing in the Dark from Wits University – which won the university speculator category – entered the competition for the first time in 2015, when he was a Grade 10 pupil at St Benedict’s College in Johannesburg. 

He says he’s been interested in investing in the stock market from a young age and this year he roped in his brother, Ricardo, and girlfriend Gabriella Paddock. 

“Winning is great, but participating in the challenge was a great learning experience in and of itself,” he says. 

The University of Witwatersrand team, Dancing in the Dark, danced away with the grand prize of R25,000 in the university speculator category.

The 2022 JSE Investment Challenge winners: 

  • Income category:  Imhotep from Acudeo College Crystal Park, Gauteng.
  • Equity portfolio:  Maulana Karenga from Acudeo College Crystal Park, Gauteng.
  • Speculator portfolio for schools:  Wall Street from Claremont High School, Western Cape.
  • Speculator portfolio for universities:  Dancing in the Dark from Wits University, Gauteng . BM/DM



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