Friday, 12 June 2009


I burned my fingers with the Safaricom IPO, but I’ve been investing more in the NSE lately. The past couple months have not been that bad, but one downside is that the Kenya Shilling has appreciated quite significantly against the Uganda shilling, so I lose money even before I put in my order-1 UGX was roughly equivalent to Ksh 24 when I came here last October, but now it’s trading in the neighbourhood of Ksh 28.5. Maybe I should start exporting stuff to Kenya. Apparently the dollar has appreciated upwards of 34% since last September.

But here's how I do it:
-Go to ATM, get the money
-Go to FOREX bureau, buy Ksh
-Go to broker’s bank, deposit Ksh
-Go to broker’s office, fill out an order form or several, depending on how many different stocks I’m keen on buying
-Wait (I’m advised to call 36 hours later)
-Sometimes I’ll get an email from broker; sometimes I won’t, so I call the next day, or pass by on my way to work.
-Get the statement at broker’s office or receive an email with it. I’m still waiting for an email on how to get my statements online

I haven’t sold anything but I think the process may be easier, probably just a call, but I imagine I’d have to go and sign a form again.
What makes it hard is that banks don’t open till 8:30 am, and I need to be at work at 8am. At lunch, the queue is usually quite long (it’s Stanbic Bank, I think it has the largest piece of the pie in Kampala), and the service extremely, annoyingly slow. Whereas I could send someone else who is not too busy in the office and pay them a small fee, plus their boda boda fare, it’s not like I naturally trust people with my money that easily. I end up spreading all the errands over a few lunch hours (days), during which time the NSE is not static.
Compare this with trading on the NYSE/NASDAQ- open an account, transfer money online, put in orders and trade online any time you wish; no phone calls, no queuing up in banks, no paper filling up paper forms, and movement only on the computer keyboard.

Does anyone know of an easier way out there? Let me know, tafadhali.


Anonymous said...

Check out Equity Bank - you can open an account with them and trade on-line through them. Plus their broker fees are relatively low. Catch - you must have the money in your Equity account. Plus - you can wire it and they have western union offices in some of their branches if you want to involve a family member in banking the money for you.

MainaT said...

Trade at the USE to eliminate the currency issue. Otherwise get a trustworthy broker and send them a large amount in one go to allow you to be trading for a couple of months.