Category Archives: NSE investor awareness

Britam vs Cytonn Executives

A dispute between insurance giant Britam and some of its former executives who left the firm and set up a rival investment management firm called Cytonn has been on and off for the last four years. Recently a judge ruled that a criminal case would continue in the courts.

After that decision, Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande issued a personal statement on the long-running case as he set out to absolve Cytonn, which is known for its real estate property developments and financial industry reports, from the case against its four executives who had been at Britam. He writes on the reasons behind the dispute and their departure  which he says was due to insider attempts to destroy a Kshs 5 billion portfolio of client funds that they had brought to Britam (excerpts) :

  • .. the resignation was due to an operating environment that was fraught with illegalities and unethical business practices that we did not agree with…
  • we could not agree to be part of actions such as illegally using client insurance funds to purchase shares of Britam to rescue a failed IPO, we objected to using insurance funds under our management to purchase a failing bank – a transaction that has now led to loss of billions of shillings of investors’ funds..  
  • ..following our resignation, Britam launched a full-scale assault in an attempt to ruin our careers by filing 7 different suits claiming up to Kshs. 9.8 billion in stolen funds… 
  • The suits were obviously malicious and designed to achieve only two objectives: first was to punish the former team for daring to leave as a team, and second was to deter competition.

He writes that his statement was released was to reassure Cytonn’s 500 employees and 3,000 clients who had invested over Kshs 20 billion in various investment products.

Britam has been silent on the dispute other than their 2014 annual report which mentions the litigation; The British-American Asset Managers Limited is the Fund manager of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) which has been mandated to invest in property. The LLP loaned Shs 3.9 billion to various third parties to purchase property. The company on behalf of the LLP has instituted legal suits to recover the above amounts plus costs. The court cases are ongoing and we expect that the outcome will be favourable

Both Cytonn’s managers and Britam have separately settled with Acorn that was a partner in the fund-raising plan before the dispute.

EDIT/ Update October 12: The Court of Appeal granted stay orders on October 11, meaning there is no prosecution action against the four Cytonn executives for now.

CMA Kenya launches University Financial Literacy Competition

The Capital Markets Authority of Kenya formally launched the 2018 Universities Challenge at KICC in Nairobi on September 25, which aims to equip young people with investment skills and nurture a culture of financial literacy and investing and saving for the future through participation in capital markets.

The 2018 edition of the Universities Challenge, which runs from September 25 to December 31, will feature 6,015 participating students from 37 local universities. They will go through five stages of elimination through testing their financial literacy and knowledge, starting with an online exam, followed by a stage dubbed a “scavenger hunt”, then they will make presentations at universities followed by presentations to CMA staff. There will then be a grand finale event in Nairobi where twelve top students will get to pitch to investment stakeholders, CMA staff and representatives of all universities in the challenge.

Speaking at the launch, CMA CEO Paul Muthaura, said that the average age of entrants was 23 years and that this was as a result of them targeting ongoing students and make them young investors because of the long-term nature of capital markets investments. Also that the use of technology was part of the CMA’s engagement process of expanding financial literacy as well as to transform the visibility of the authority through social media. He added that the CMA was in the middle of implementing a ten-year master plan and had won several awards for being among the most innovative market regulators in Africa.

The winner of the 2018 inter-university competition will get a grand prize of a Kshs 150,000 (~$1,500) portfolio of listed securities of their choice and the university where the student comes from will get investment textbooks worth Kshs 75,000 for its library. Three other winners will get fully paid 3-day educational trips to observe a securities exchange and capital markets regulator in Africa.

Individual Pension Schemes – Zamara Vuna AGM

Members of the Vuna pension scheme by Zamara met at their annual general meeting (AGM) in Nairobi this week to get updates of the previous year during which the fund grew by 10% to Kshs 2.37 billion. It was a year in which they rebranded from Alexander Forbes Kenya and one in which, the Nairobi Securities Exchange, which had its last good year in 2013 (when it was up 44%), managed to rebound in 2017 to 28% after dipping in the years in-between.

Zamara’s Vuna takes the view that saving for retirement is not a priority among many Kenyans who are juggling many financial requirements every day – so they have designed products for people to save what they can, when they want – people such as the self-employed, small business owners, individuals, overseas workers, and those  who work in organizations that don’t have formal retirement pensions plans. They also accept lump sum contributions and M-Pesa payments.

Vuna has over 5,000 individuals and 180 small companies as members and they give different options for savers according to their risk tolerance, for them to be pooled in the conservative, moderate or aggressive investor portfolios and members can switch their investor profiles once a year. They added an online portal for members to track their contributions and an app that helps members do projections about their retirement savings. This year they are adding a new group life assurance scheme.

They updated members on changes to their schemes, tax rule and answered questions  such as on how to deal with employers who don’t remit deductions and how they decided on making payments to families  of members who have not updated their beneficiary list-  and they cited a study that showed a higher proportion of women do not list their husbands as their beneficiaries, compared to husbands who list their wives. The meeting ended with an advisory caution to members that the only person you’re 100% sure will take care of an “older you” is a “younger you”. 

Participate in the CMA University Challenge 2018

What can shares worth Kshs. 150,000 do for your life? How about a trip to a foreign country?  How about rewarding your university with books worth Kshs.75, 000? And what about being a guru in investing in the capital markets?

This is what is at stake for the winner of the Capital Markets Authority’s University Challenge 2018. The Challenge is open for undergraduate university students in universities that have confirmed participation. Register for this Challenge from 8th August 2018 to 22nd August 2018. Check the CMA website and social media pages for further details on the University Challenge registration process.

Kenya’s CMA Targets Young Investors through a University Challenge

Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) will be holding a nationwide University Challenge as part of its education and investor awareness outreach program. The CMA team staged a chat last week on its Facebook page where its staff answered dozens of questions from young investors interested in participating in the Challenge, which is the second one in the series after another that was held in 2015.

Some excerpts of the responses during the chat:

  • The Challenge is open to all students interested in capital markets.
  • It is for individual young investors (over 18 years), who are enrolled at any university in the country and are in good standing academically (i.e. not on probation, or suspension at their university), and who must not be related to any CMA officials of organizers of the Challenge.
  • Once the university Challenge starts in mid-July 2018, the CMA which also has an investor education department will organize tours and barazas (meetings) with some Universities and will also have ambassadors at different campuses around the country.
  • The CMA Investor Education department has an investor education page on their website, a library for research, and also a unique resource portal for investors in capital markets to get information which is also useful to people who have graduated and are now outside of campus, but still interested in becoming savvy young investors.
  • The Challenge runs from July to November and students who enter will go through a series of online examinations, and the finalists will also get to give presentations.
  • The top prize is Kshs 150,000 (about $1,500) which the winner will use to buy shares at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). Other winners will also get a chance to travel and see how capital markets in other African countries work.
  • You can re-watch the chat on the CMA Facebook page.

Besides the Challenge aimed at young investors, other interesting and notable CMA opportunities include a sandbox to test bitcoin, block-chain, and other financial technology (fintech) solutions in Kenya.