The EasyEquities platform can be used for many things, mainly for investing in local and foreign investment products. But recently it was used for something quite new – and very innovative.

Back in June 2022, second-year financial management students at North West University’s three campuses were asked to register on the platform and run a share portfolio on their ZAR demo accounts. There were prizes up for grabs, in the form of EasyEquities vouchers, for the students whose portfolios were worth the most after five months of investing.

But the competition element wasn’t as important as the educational element. Lynette Rademeyer, who teaches the subject to 800 students across NWU’s three campuses, says the participants learnt many great lessons about financial management.

“I have realised over the past few years that students take a very long time to understand what it means to be a shareholder and come to terms with some of the concepts,” says Lynette. “EasyEquities provides a safe and practical space to invest in companies through its demo account option.

“As we know, students aren’t known for having massive bank accounts, so they don’t want to expose their money to playing around on equities. If they make a mistake or if they don’t know what they’re doing it’s fine. But they can still learn from it without feeling any impact on their pockets. 

“It was a nice journey to go through with them. I really enjoyed it, and they enjoyed it, too. I think we reached a couple of students who will continue investing who wouldn’t have tried it before.”

One of Lynette’s students, Adlayd Mhashu, discovered EasyEquities soon after finishing school.

“My initial discovery of EasyEquities was after the completion of my matric year,” says Adlayd. “I was attracted by the possibility of being a shareholder in the brands I use on a daily basis. What stood out for me was the ability to trade using a small amount of capital and incurring minimal transaction costs.

“The integration of the platform into the financial management module was a great one as it introduced me to  a deeper form of analysis possible when you make investments that I was not aware of. This also allowed me to get more background on some module topics and understand how they are used in the professional environment.

“The experience transitioned from something you do to get better marks to something you do because you are actually enjoying it!” 

The EasyEquities investment experience has become a fixed part of the financial management course at NWU. Carel Nolte, EasyEquities chief enablement officer, says the exercise is part of a carefully planned strategy to teach young South Africans at school and university about the mechanics – and the fun! – of investing and financial management.

“We’re launching a major schools competition in 2023 and are hoping to attract a million participating learners,” he says.

Craig Turton, head of wealth at EasyEquities, shared some interesting facts about the NWU investment exercise:

  • Each student received R100k in demo money, allowing them to invest in any share available in their ZAR account.
  • We started the competition in June 2022 and it ran until end of October 2022.
  • We had over 700 accounts involved and fully engaged in the competition.
  • The average student bought 12 different shares in their portfolio.
  • The most popular share was Sasol.
  • The winner managed to grow their portfolio to R158,000 over the period. Second place managed R137,000 and third was R129,000.
  • The students did extremely well taking into account the very tough market conditions we are experiencing at the moment.
  • EasyEquities sponsored a few prizes; we gave the winner R1 000 and second place R500 in EasyEquities vouchers.

The investment course will be run at NWU again next year.

If you would like to register for a new EasyEquities account, click here.