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Students win trip to London after virtual success on stock exchange
Author: Pia Nänny
Published: 12/11/2017

Two Stellenbosch University students won an all-expenses paid trip to visit the London Stock Exchange and R12500 each after coming out tops in the 2017 JSE Investment Challenge.

Now in its 44th year the Challenge aims to educate the youth about financial markets and investing. The initiative allows learners and students to buy shares in a virtual portfolio and practise trading in a risk-free environment. Each team is given a virtual sum of R1 million which they can use to trade JSE-listed shares.

The winners – Tonia Schoeman and Luke Nel, BCom Actuarial Science students in their third and second year respectively – are no strangers to this competition.

As learners of DF Malan High School they were part of the team that won the Schools Challenge in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Luke's team won the Schools Challenge for a third time, while Tonia and her team came third in the University Challenge.

They joined forces again in 2016 and this time they won the University Challenge. Their prize included R25000 (R12500 each) and an all-expenses paid trip to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, where they were given the opportunity to ring the bell to open the market.

Their winning streak continued in 2017 and they ascribe their success to hard work and a goal-orientated approach.

“We placed between four and five orders on the stock exchange every day. During the six months of the challenge, we placed a total of 574 orders and our portfolio grew by 46%. We spend at least one hour per day on the game and because of the short time span, we follow a very high-risk approach.

“We enjoy the competition tremendously and learn something new each year. It's a great diversion from our studies," they say.

Tonia and Luke both plan to qualify as actuaries. Luke would like to specialise in investments and banking while Tonia want to specialise in investment strategies and asset management for financial services providers.

“During the course of the challenge we gained significant practical experience and we are sure that this experience will be very valuable in the future."