John Astrup from Zurich help students to try their hand at investing and get real life view of how the stock market works during an Investars session for students of Gems Wellington International in Dubai on Wednesday 17 October 2018. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Students in Dubai last week reviewed their $100,000 (Dh367,000) investment in the ongoing ‘Investars’ contest by Zurich Middle East.

Most of the students had seen their portfolio dip below $100,000 in the contest, which started around four weeks ago at GEMS Wellington International School.

Investars runs for a total of seven weeks, with 56 students from Year 10 through 13 participating at the school. At the end of the contest, the student with the highest-valued portfolio will win Dh1,000 to spend at Dubai Mall.

Virtual money

However, the losses were not an actual financial setback — the money is virtual even though the portfolio is made up of real-life funds.

Last Wednesday, two experts from Zurich Middle East provided investment tips and guided students seeking to “rebalance” their portfolio. John Astrup, investment product manager, and Jason Waldron, senior sales manager, talked students through the tactics and psychology of investment.

Rising Investar

Year 11 student Arsh Jagada had last Wednesday said: “I’ve always been interested to invest and Investars gives us a really good opportunity as it’s a real investment firm [using virtual money]. And there is a guest speaker each week who can teach you things that can be applicable to real life.”

Another Year 11 student, Huda Kherati, said: “It really helps when you’re watching [financial programmes on] TV, you can apply the things you’ve learned in Investars. You understand what’s going on around the world, and that really helps.”

The Investars website www.zurich.ae/investars has a ‘leaderboard’ that is updated every Monday with a list of the students who have the highest value portfolio. The site also features information about the game and other resources to help students learn more about investing.

According to the website, the leaderboard on Monday afternoon showed that among the top 10 portfolios, $99,090 was the highest and $96,950 was the lowest, as per the last update.

Financial literacy

Walter Jopp, CEO, Zurich Middle East, said: “Supporting financial literacy in the region is something that we take very seriously. “We have been in the region for over 30 years and are committed to helping the local community be fully equipped to control their financial future, achieve their life goals and protect their loved ones. Working with GEMS Wellington International School through the Investars programme is a project that I am really excited about. Understanding financial markets and how to invest and save is such an important skill for young people to learn. This knowledge will prepare them for their future and help them to be ‘Ready For Life’.”

Brendan Law, Vice President and British Cluster Lead, GEMS Education, said: “Our partnership with Zurich underlines our commitment to providing a holistic approach to education and to offer innovative teaching methods to our students. The programme has been developed to provide first-hand experience from industry experts to learn about the stock exchange, a specialised subject that is relevant and important in today’s environment. Through our partnership with Zurich, our students attended in-depth sessions that provided them hands-on experience of the functioning of the stock market using sample portfolios.”