Johannesburg Stock Exchange: Fostering a financially independent society

By: Mpho Ledwaba, Head: Marketing and Retail Development, Johannesburg Stock Exchange Sep 2020

As a stock exchange that operates in one of the world’s most diverse societies, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) understands the importance of inclusion, especially where investors are concerned. Growing shared prosperity is the JSE’s mission, which is testament to the business’ commitment to bringing as many people and organisations as possible along the investment journey, and to equip them with tools and knowledge for their own financial independence.

Much like the South African population, the JSE eco-system is diverse and with this in mind, the bourse has various initiatives to support and equip stakeholders with skills that will help them improve their lives, businesses and communities.

Women's Empowerment

Gender equality, with a specific focus on women’s empowerment has become a global focus. As a key economic contributor, the JSE introduced “She Invests” in 2018 as a means to hone in on the investment and educational needs of women. With She Invests, the exchange is creating a movement of informed, empowered and confident women who are looking to improve their finances for the betterment of their lives and that of future generations.

This annual event attracts hundreds of women who get to engage with industry experts who impart valuable insight and information about finances and investment and attendees leave the event feeling empowered and ready to take charge of their financial futures.

Youth Development

With a 42-year track record, the JSE Investment Challenge, a game that aims to teach South African learners and students about investing on the JSE and the larger role that investment plays in the country's economy, has become a signature programme among South African youth. The challenge helps student participants to learn about the fundamentals of an investment strategy and encourages them to research and strategise issues surrounding the trading of JSE-listed shares.

Participants test their share trading skills through a simulated “ghost trading” programme and each team is given an imaginary sum of money to invest in JSE-listed shares. Their performance is tracked and measured in a competition against other teams taking part in the Challenge and top performers win fantastic prizes at the end of the competition.

Thought leadership webinars and conferences

A client-centred approach is embedded in the DNA of the JSE, and as a means to regularly engage with clients while imparting important information such as market issues, trends, challenges and developments. When Covid-19 hit South African shores, these regular conferences came to a halt as a result of the national lockdown. However, the exchange quickly adjusted to the new normal and introduced thought leadership webinars in place of physical conferences.

These webinars have been successfully running throughout lockdown drawing both retail and institutional investors, and have become key investor industry events that South Africans look forward to.

These are just some of the initiatives that the JSE has employed to drive financial literacy among South Africans and all of these ventures are supported by educational social media content that further amplifies the efforts of the exchange to reach as wide an audience as possible.