First Play Then Trade – JSE Launches Virtual Trading Game

South Africa's main financial trading bourse, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has launched a new trading game in an attempt to

images (1)The  Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has launched the country’s first on-line virtual share trading game as Africa’s largest economy attempts to attract a new breed of investors to its financial markets. Wannabe investors also get the chance to enter a competition and win US $6000 worth of funds to invest in the equity markets with a broker of their choice.

The virtual game comes with a virtual Rand1-million where users can build their investment portfolio, traders who build the most valuable portfolios will enter the competition and win a share of R60 000 in prizes to be deposited into a stockbroker’s account of their choice.

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“We believe that the JSE Virtual Trading Game is a highly practical way to convert those who are interested in trading to take the next step and open their own accounts. The JSE recognises the role it has to play in promoting financial literacy as well as growing retail investment on the JSE. Investing on the exchange is not as intimidating or complicated as many people think,” says Takalani Nyelisani, Manager Retail Development at the JSE in a statement.

Promoting Financial Literacy

The exchange has been active in promoting financial literacy in a bid to increase retail investor participation, initiatives include; Power Hour sessions, investment education clubs, MyJSE Investment Day (900 people attended in 2012) in addition to free public seminars about investing.

In collaboration with KwaZulu-Natal Treasury, a government agency the exchange is pushing financial education among the country’s youth. Ina Cronjé, Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Finance in Kwa-Zulu Natal said about the initiative: “Financial literacy is a pre-requisite for the successful implementation of the numerous programmes initiated by government and the private sector for the social and economic upliftment of the nation, adding that it starts with managing one’s personal finance. The younger we start, the more chance we have to succeed. We must start to save and invest wisely, we applaud the JSE and our KZNFLA partners for this great initiative to bring our young people on board.”

Initiatives Elsewhere

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Exchanges across the globe have been creating programmes to make investments and stock trading attractive for the common person. Australia’s ASX provides a virtual trading game where investors can create their own portfolio with AUD $50,000. Pakistan’s Lahore Stock Exchange has been holding seminars at domestic colleges in the city, the exchange held its second session in (October 2012) of Campus Outreach Program for the students of Professional Academy of Commerce where professionals from the exchange give lectures on, the stock market, money management and general economic principles.

FX and CFD Trading

South Africa has been one of the oldest and most established margin derivatives markets in the Africa region, heavy weights such as Saxo Bank and IG have local offices. Investors have been exposed to online trading terminals since the millennium, CFDs were first introduced to South African investors in the late 90’s.

Spear heading local participation in the broker dealer space are; Global Trader and PSG Online, most firms, local and international, provide traders with online trading terminals.

“Most South African investors are internet savvy and invest or trade online which is proved by the fact that most brokers have online trading platforms,” explained Hugo Gous, Director at 28E Capital, a financial services firm in South Africa, in a comment to Forex Magnates.

Darren Cohen, Marketing Executive at  PSG Online
Darren Cohen, Marketing Executive at PSG Online

South Africa was one of the most liquid markets for single stock futures in 2008, Darren Cohen, Marketing Executive at PSG Online spoke to Forex Magnates and said: “Index futures remain very popular due to the liquidity and fees related to trading these futures.  Single stock futures (SSFs) and CFDs are capital efficient, which is why they are popular. The lower margin that is required to trade on these accounts gives investors higher exposure for the money that they invest. Through PSG Online, the FTSE/JSE ALSI costs R25 (incl VAT {US $2.5}) and the ALMI (mini ALSI) is charged at a mere R5 per contract traded.”

Cape Town was home to the first FX conference for retail investors last December, where over 25 FX firms participated.

Africa is a key destination for firms looking at new opportunities as mature markets like the EU dry up. The African continent reached a record $2.2 trillion in total GDP this year according to findings by the African Development Bank, in 2000 its GDP was $600 billion.

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