Celebrating its 49th anniversary this year, the JSE Investment Challenge has been teaching South African learners and students about investing on the JSE and helping those participating learn about the fundamentals of investment strategy and encouraging them to research as they participate in the challenge.
With almost five decades in existence, it comes as no surprise that the Gopaulsingh family has two generations that have actively participated in the JSE Investment Challenge game.
Nadean Gopaulsingh, a certified financial planner and father to Shivar and Shreya Gopaulsingh, started participating when he was a standard 8, now referred to as grade 10, learner at Reunion Secondary School in 1987.
“Back then, we had limited resources and relied mostly on the newspapers and daily radio updates. Trading was also very different with orders executed via mail,” he explains. “Despite this, we were grateful to have had an opportunity to participate, but you can imagine the challenge of making trading decisions in the absence of certainty around the timing of execution of such trades.”
Nadean remembers how he participated in the challenge by sheer chance when his school automatically received an entry pack, and his accounting teacher handed it over to him to explore and investigate.
Throughout his career, Nadean has come across many individuals who realize the importance of financial planning when it is too late, which is why he feels it is vital for the youth to learn about Financial Literacy.
“Financial literacy gained early will empower and influence younger individuals to take action much earlier. The power of starting to invest early is a power that cannot be conquered,” he says.
With Nadean being featured several times on TV due to his performance at school and being amongst the top 40 performers in the country, it was only fitting for him to pass down his found knowledge and passion for investing and trading to his children.
A new generation of investors
Shivar Gopaulsingh, who holds an Actuarial Degree started participating in the JSE Schools Challenge in 2015 and continued to participate for the next five years. Shivar feels that participating in the challenge exposed him to various learning opportunities, which he later utilised to educate others, including his sister, Shreya.
“The challenge taught me how to filter through resources rapidly and take calculated risks within a short period. It also encouraged me to share the knowledge and experience I gained over the years with the youth of today by becoming a mentor at the JSE,” he adds.
After completing his degree, Nadean encouraged Shivar to promote the JSE Investment Challenge to schools in the area they resided, which subsequently led to him encouraging his sister to enter the University Challenge.
“I really wanted her to benefit from the financial education that the JSE Challenge provides to complement her Engineering studies. After all, when she is earning a good salary, she is going to need an avenue to invest some of it,” says Shivar.
Shivar believes that by participating in the challenge one is not only exposed to the value of investing in shares, but that while the market may be volatile at times, there is tremendous value to be derived over time. They learnt that the market is dynamic and is influenced by a range of factors, and that the challenge requires a short-term view of investing but the real value for most investors will be gained in the long term.
Younger sister, Shreya describes how trading in this year’s challenge provided valuable insights and great opportunities to learn. With all the events and news, which influenced market movements, she had to stay informed and up to date to support good trading decisions for her team.
“We invested in a combination of futures and direct shares, focusing on companies listed in the JSE top 40 index. We would have used warrants as well, but the low volumes traded and restrictions in terms of the rules did not make this a feasible option,” as she explains part of her teams’ winning strategy.
Shreya says throughout the challenge she learnt that the effect of rising global interest rates seem to influence the strength of the rand and the price of commodities. She found it interesting to observe how the JSE usually moved in tandem with global markets.
“I look forward to using the knowledge and skills I developed to participate competitively in the challenge over the next 2 years. I am already starting to build an investment fund with my winnings and am looking forward to adding to this in the coming years,” she adds.
The Gopaulsingh family is an exceptional example of how through active participation and knowledge sharing; the challenge offers a great learning opportunity for generations to come.
“Whilst there are some fantastic prizes to be won, the greatest prize is the knowledge that you will gain. You can never imagine how this will influence your life,” concludes Nadean.