By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
ORGANISERS of the country’s leading youth financial initiative, Colina Financial Advisors Ltd’s Junior Investor programme, yesterday launched its New Providence operation at the Super Club’s Breezes Resort.
Former Minister of State for Finance James Smith, in his present capacity as Colina Financial Advisors (CFAL) chairman, said that the programme gives students a “unique look at the inner workings of the financial services industry”, in addition to equipping them with vital financial tools needed to become fiscally responsible citizens.
The former Cabinet minister, along with Commonwealth Bank President Ian Jennings and Securities Commission of the Bahamas Executive Director Christina Rolle, encouraged the roughly 100 students in attendance to “seriously consider” the opportunity offered to them – the chance to become “financially literate”.
Programme Coordinator Richard Pinder said that the initiative, now in its 14th year, is closer than ever before to achieving the goals laid out by CFAL President Anthony Ferguson when he started it in the fall of 2002.
Mr Ferguson saw the need to bridge the gap between the Bahamian financial markets and the country’s youth. The programme was designed to aid the traditional curriculum of the participating high schools by connecting financial professionals, resources and students to meet set goals.
According to Mr Pinder, the initiative provides its participants with an opportunity to learn about financial markets, the financial industry and the local stock market.
He added that the Junior Investor programme is a competition for high school students who are allowed to invest and manage a “nominal” $100,000 in Bahamian securities for a fictional client.
The students are then provided with a listing of securities and given the opportunity to design an investment plan, with the end goal of being the most profitable group.
Students from several New Providence schools – St Augustine’s College, St John’s College, St Andrew’s High School, R M Bailey High School, Jordan Prince Williams and Temple Christian – will for the second consecutive year be joined by Central Andros High School and North Andros High School; and for the fifth year, St Paul’s Methodist College, St George’s High School, Jack Hayward High School out of Grand Bahama.
Mr Pinder noted that the inclusion of Family Island schools has been a tremendous boost to the development of the programme, saying that students from those schools in some cases benefit even more than students in New Providence.
He added that in all of the five years Grand Bahama schools enlisted in the programme, they have managed to finish in the programmes’ top three schools, while Andros schools have managed to finish in the top 10 in their first year of participation.
The programme will be launched in Grand Bahama on Thursday and in Andros on Friday. The CFAL Junior Investor programme is expected to run through April of next year.