Johannesburg, 25 March 2020: It is no secret that different generations have varying behavioural patterns. The generation following Millennials, also known as Generation Z (Gen Z), born from 1995 to 2010, has shown a number of qualities, among which its use of technology ranks higher than any other generation.
Gen Z has been exposed to the internet, social networks and other technologies, nearly since birth, and it's no wonder they feel most at home in the digital space than any other generation, and they navigate the offline world with just as much ease. This duality bodes well for their cognitive learning, even in light of financial literacy. Whether online or offline, the acquisition of information is almost seamless as this generation is innately curious. According to McKinsey & Company, these are "true digital natives".
"This is the generation that makes up the bulk of our Investment Challenge," says Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Officer at the JSE, Ralph Speirs.
The challenge, which draws in school learners and university students with an interest in investment and stock markets, is in its 47th year. Over the decades the initiative has come to be a highly regarded programme that introduces the country's youth to investing and the stock exchange.
Last year the challenge attracted more than 23 000 school learners and university students.
Speirs says this year's students will experience the challenge a little differently due to the restrictions set out in the mission to flatten the curve against the spread of Covid-19 or the Coronavirus.
"We have all the confidence in the young people who are part of this challenge. We know their resilience, determination and creativity."
Since President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the Coronavirus pandemic as a National Disaster, social distancing has been prescribed as one of the measures to help flatten the curve. On Monday the President further proclaimed a 21-day lockdown on the country beginning at midnight on Thursday.
"This will see Gen Z thriving in this challenge. Through the use of digital means, even as simple as chatroom calls or a phone call, strategic meetings and mentorship can continue. We definitely encourage participants to be vigilant and responsible. No meetings of any sort are necessary for them to progress in this challenge," he said.
Speirs says that these are challenging times to be buying in the market with the huge volatility created by the fear out there, but at the same time it creates great opportunity for the teams.
"This is when the financial literacy of the challenge is truly tested. Teams should not get discouraged by the state of affairs, but instead press on knowing that trading continues."
Should participants come across any difficulties pertaining to the challenge, the JSE Investment Challenge team is available and accessible through its social media networks and via email.
The JSE Investment Challenge runs from March to September each year and impacts more than just the lives of the young people who participate. The learners' and students' who participate spread the message of investing throughout their communities.
The challenge takes the form of a simulator where each team of four learners or students from the same school or institution are given a virtual sum of R1-million. With this virtual amount the teams trade on the stock market and invest in actual JSE listed shares over a six-month period. What they learn in this time has great potential to positively impact the South African economy in the future.
Participation is open to school learners between grades 8 and 12 as well as students from higher learning institutions. The various teams compete with other teams from schools, and institutions, countrywide. There are prizes to be won monthly. There are also annual prizes for top performing teams, schools, teachers The teams that win in the JSE Investment Challenge receives prize money in the form of a ETF account investment account for each team member and the top performing university team is awarded a trip to an international stock exchange.
"We are aware that not all participants will have access to the internet or airtime during this time. We urge the mentors to assist where possible. The challenge only requires a small amount of time spent online, and teams can also be strategic on how to do this for their trade. Team members can take turns, assign this task to one individual and discuss how often they need to be online, or even share the cost. It truly tests Gen Z's ability to thrive on and offline.
"Since schools have been closed, we've been fielding calls from learners who are worried about the challenge continuing. We'd like to reassure learners and students that the Investment Challenge is still on. We wish them well and may the best team win!"
ABOUT THE JSE
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is based in South Africa where it has operated as a marketplace for the trading of financial products for 130 years. It connects buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets. The JSE is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and holds the chairmanship of the Association of Futures Markets (AFM). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management. www.jse.co.za.
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