By Thandiwe Jumo
Students from the UKZN School of Accounting, Economics and Finance were placed first and third in this year’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Investment Challenge.
The national financial literacy competition sees participants test their share trading skills through an ongoing annual simulated virtual trading programme, where each team is given an imaginary sum of R1 million to invest in JSE-listed companies – with the aim of outperforming the competition.
Sphamandla Shezi and Silungile Dlamini won the speculator competition, while Makhosazane Mathobela, Asithandile Nzonzo and Banele Mathenjwa were placed third in the ETF competition. The winners were announced at the JSE awards celebration that was hosted on October 6 at the JSE headquarters, in Sandton.
Finance lecturer Dr Faeezah Peerbhai received a Best Mentor prize in recognition of her efforts on behalf of UKZN and the JSE over the last 10 years.
Shezi said the challenge presented them with a great opportunity to put the theory they had learned in class into practise.
“Last year, we entered the competition to familiarise ourselves with the instruments traded. Then, we entered again this year because we wanted to find out whether we would perform better than previously - and it seems like we did. However, we also had a significantly larger volume of work academically. We just built on the knowledge we gained from participating last year,” said Shezi.
For Mathobela, who plans to major in finance, the competition presented her with an opportunity to learn new things. She recruited fellow teammates Nzonzo and Mathenjwa to enter.
“The fact that I had little knowledge about investment and trading made me feel I couldn’t miss this opportunity. Finishing in the top three was such a huge accomplishment and an achievement as it was our first time at the competition, so we are absolutely thrilled. Our plans for the prize money are to start investing in the real world with entities such as Satrix, as we have experience now,” she said.
Having co-ordinated the challenge for a decade, Peerbhai said the last time UKZN students won the challenge was in 2014 - and having two teams in the top three this year was a remarkable achievement.
“We have been diligently entering the competition every year, but this year it is definitely exciting to have two teams win prizes. The investment challenge is a great opportunity for students to practise some of the skills taught in finance. It empowers them to use the skills once they start working, in order to generate passive income on the stock market.
“As a school, we are extremely grateful to partner with the JSE on this initiative, and the winners that we produce are testament to the value it creates for our students.”