Category Archives: Francis Thuo

Shaking up the Nairobi Investment Scene

Knocking Off Rogue Brokers

The Kenya Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has published new regulations that could knock off customer confidence in any small stockbroker still standing at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) as they have now become law.

Changes include:
– Sets minimum share capital for stockbrokers at Kshs. 50 million (~$650,000) and investment banks at 250 million (~$3.25 million) some stockbroker are investment banks in name only name
– Agents may work for one stockbroker only and may not handles client cash
– They must use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)for reporting
– They must publish audited accounts and ½ year un-audited accounts in newspapers and also dispaly the same in their branches so by August 09 we should get a clearer picture of who’s up or down
– They must obtain indemnity insurance
– They are to notify the CMA before appointment of executives, directors, and auditors as well as prior to branch openings/closing

Some of the proposal also affects investment funds, fund managers, and pension schemes. They were first proposed two months ago for public review and borrow a bit form existing central banks laws and are much harsher than when first formulated.

Other losers retail investors who lost their money in collapsed brokers (Nyaga, Discount, Francis Thuo etc.), it limits their potential compensation to just 50,000 shillings ($~650)

Winners – newspapers who will see an increase in quarterly advertisements from stockbrokers, investment banks, investment funds, fund managers, and pensions schemes.
– insurance companies (Stockbrokers and investment banks are to obtain professional indemnity insurance worth 5 times their daily average turnover)

Death of a Stockbroker Part II

See Rogue broker alert and Death Part I

Francis Thuo (FT) stockbrokers have been suspended from the NSE for 14 days. Once this story is over, succession issues are likely to be blamed since the firm’s leader and visionary chairman passed away last year.

need more info: This month the Nairobi Stock Exchange launched a new site that is much improved with more news and features, but their sister regulators’ CMA site appears not to have been updated in a year.

The FT story is one which the CMA should be on the forefront reassuring investors. We have seen reports on TV several times over the last year that insider and suspicious deals would be investigated, but no reports have been released or repercussions seen.

For shareholders, the process of transfering share accounts to other brokers was supposed to be seamless and shares should be safe if verified using CDS statements. It appears some FT clients were aware of FT liquidity problems and opted not to sell shares through the firm (and be issued with cheques which would bounce).

During the 14 day suspension, a deal is likely to be worked out to salvage the company, though after getting such a bad rep, customers are not likely to sign up unless FT relaunches under a new name, brand and service oreintation. One other brokerage was up for sale last year, but it would not attract any investors since its reputation was so poor.