Student ‘investors’ get $100,000 to ‘play’ with

Program teaches how to research, choose and invest in stocks

Saxon CEO Brian Williams, left, speaks with OneTRADEx’s Colin Wilson and Minister Tara Rivers at the launch of Saxon Investment Club at Cayman Prep and High School Drama Hall. - Photo: Jewel Levy

A group of Cayman high school students are learning about investing in stocks – using play money.

Saxon Investment Club kicked off this year at Cayman Prep and High School with students from St. Ignatius, Cayman Prep and John Gray High School on Nov. 2.

Between November and March, participants working in teams and supervised by teachers will be trading stock using an online investment tool to simulate real-life trades. They have been given $100,000 of play money to invest.

In addition to monthly prizes for top performances, at the end of the program a winning team will walk away with $2,500 in real money, based on the highest net value of their investments. Second place wins $1,500, and the third-place finisher receives $500.

The investment club also helps students learn about the relationship between current events and stock trends, as well as the realities of starting and running a business. The program is sponsored by Saxon Insurance and Saxon Pensions, agent for Silver Thatch Pensions.

Saxon CEO Brian Williams said the club was started in 2009 when the stock market was tanking, and as pension providers they were seeing a lot of members making inaccurate statements of their values.

“We decided to come up with the program figuring if the students were able to understand investment, eventually it would filter down into the marketplace to the parents,” Mr. Williams said.

Since then, he said, the program has grown from 20 to more than 75 students. They have also developed strong partnership with the Ministry of Education and this year OneTRADEx.

It might seem a bit daunting to new students, he said, but if they apply themselves, do research, start small and keep a close watch on stocks, at the end of the exercise they will have learned a lot.

Education Minister Tara Rivers said she supports the program because it is an exciting opportunity, and even though the experience is fictitious for students, gaining the experience is what really matters.

“Certainly there is an incentive for those of you to really take this process as seriously as possible and try to do as well as you can to learn the fundamentals of investing,” she told students. “It’s about teaching you to be self-sufficient at some point in the future.”

Explaining the trading platform, OneTRADEx’s Rich Ellison and Colin Wilson said their management team is one of the broker-dealers that operate in Cayman and their role in the program is providing a trading platform that sets up the virtual trading currency for students.

Mr. Ellison said the platform students have access to is being used now by investors who are making the same sort of decisions they were going to make – except the investors are using real money.

His advice to students was: Start small and concentrate on one or two areas because there is so much out there that is difficult to master, so decide on a strategy.

He advised students who lose money not to get discouraged because they can learn from their mistakes and still make a comeback.

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