UMB Investment Holdings Limited and UMB Stockbrokers Limited in partnership with Young Investors Network (YIN), a finance empowering Non-Governmental Organization, have launched the maiden edition of the UMB Investment Holdings Young Investors Challenge at the British Council in Accra on Friday, November 30.

The challenge is an equity trading competition where participants would trade with virtual money on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and would be evaluated at the end of a 3 months period.

The participants, comprising of a 5-member teams drawn from 7 tertiary institutions namely University of Ghana-Legon, University of Professional Studies-Accra, Accra Technical University, Central University, Valley View University, Pentecost University College and Methodist University College will compete for the enviable title.

The teams would be trading with a virtual cash of about GHȻ50,000.00 and their performance would be assessed based on the quality of the stocks they purchased, factors that influence their purchasing decisions and the returns they make on their investments.

Speaking on the capital market at the launch of the challenge, Mr. Emmanuel Ashong-Katai, the Head of Policy Research and IT at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urged the students to learn the regulations regarding trading on the stock exchange so as to shore up the habit of investment.

He said knowledge on investments will reduce the rate of people falling victim to Ponzi schemes.

“Optimal knowledge of investment avenues in the country reduces the rate of people falling victim to Ponzi schemes in the country,” Ashong-Katai said.

He added that the capital market remains the appropriate place to raise enough capital to finance huge and long term infrastructural projects.

Mr. Benjamin Ackah, the General Manager for UMB Stockbrokers Limited, posited that the capital market has the capacity to foster development and growth in the Ghanaian economy which will eventually result in the transformation of the lives of the citizens.

“At UMB stockbrokers, we believe in the capacity of Ghana’s stock market in particular, and the Ghana capital market in general, to transform the development and growth of this country. We also believe in its capacity to transform the lives of the citizens,” Ackah said.

He said supporting this initiative is one of the steps UMB Stockbrokers has taken to develop the skills and build the capacity of students to become experts at training on the stock exchange.

He believes that the training these students are receiving will help deepen their knowledge of the capital market.

On his part, Mr. Prince Atsianu, the Vice President, Business Development at UMB Investment Holdings Limited, said the challenge presents a more practical way to nurture a new class of future investors.

“This will help to get the upcoming young professionals in our tertiary institutions to appreciate the practicality of investing with the logical and emotional considerations that influence investor decisions,” he said.

Mr. Joshua Mensah, the Chief Executive Officer of YIN, said YIN is committed to impacting the lives of the youth through financial literacy programs.

He said YIN has over the years trained over thousand young Ghanaians particularly students.

“So far in Ghana, we have trained over hundred thousand young students in the past 9 years,” Mensah said.

He said, several interventions and efforts by governments across the continent of Africa to reduce poverty have been largely targeted at the adults. This, he described as a downward approach to tackling poverty, saying this approach has proven not to be effective in dealing with the situation.

He noted that a reverse of this approach where interventions are targeted at young ones will help tackle poverty and its related issues.

“Reverse approach is to empower the young ones through the school system to […] impact the rest of their families and the society at large,” he said.

As part of the challenge, participants were taken through two weeks of rigorous training in order to build their capacities. A trading software has been customised purposely for the competition and have been made available to the participants to help them trade on the stock market.

The essence of this challenge is to introduce the participants, mainly students to the stock market at an early stage and also cultivate the culture of equity investment in them.

Winners of the competition would win various prizes including cash prize and an opportunity to open an equity investment account with UMB Stockbrokers called the Wealth Builder.

Other partnering organisations include SEC, Ghana Stock Exchange and Central Securities Depository.