For the first time, Kenyans will have the opportunity to participate in global forex markets in a strictly locally regulated environment and at lower transaction costs thanks to EGM Securities.
EGM Securities is Kenya’s first and only regulated non-dealing online forex broker. Earlier this year, it launched the region’s first online forex trading offering in Kenya that enables trading using multiple payment channels including mobile payment channels such as M-Pesa.
StartUp Magazine spoke to the CEO of EGM Securities Kevin Ng’ang’a about the firm’s new strategy and products it has in the pipeline.
Tell us a bit about your professional experience?
I started my career in the banking industry and have been in it for over 16 years. I established myself in the National Treasury department as a forex and money markets trader. Some of the duties included working with banks, fund managers and investment banks to fundraise both locally and internationally.
More recently, I was the Regional Treasurer at UBA Bank overseeing six countries in Africa where I was responsible to grow the bank’s balance sheet.
I joined EGM Securities in May 2018.
What does the board expect from you?
Kenya was the obvious point of entry into the region to introduce online forex trading using mobile payment channels given that the country is the most advanced economy in Central and East Africa, and it is globally renowned as the leading financial innovation hub in Africa, supported by its strong entrepreneurial culture, and importantly, Kenya has the most proactive and innovative regulator in the region.
The company expects me to grow its market share in Kenya and spearhead it into East Africa.
How is EGM Securities relationship with its global group?
EGM Securities Limited is part of a global group of companies that are among the most progressive FX and CFD brands and prime brokerage providers in the industry.
Companies within the group include Divisa UK whose trading name is Divisa Capital, regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with Equiti US (formerly Divisa US), Bloom Capital (formerly Divisa NZ) and Divisa Armenia as its subsidiaries. Equiti Jordan is authorised and regulated by the Jordan Securities Commission (JSC) and in Dubai, EGM Futures DMCC is regulated and licensed by the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).
EGM Securities Ltd is Kenya’s first Non-Dealing Online Forex Broker licensed and regulated by Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA). What does this mean to you and the market?
The investment community in the region has always been exposed to traditional class of investments like bonds, equity, cash and property. As non-dealing online forex broker, investors in Kenya now have access to new asset classes and global macro opportunities. This new asset class allows investors to diversify their portfolio and invest in asset classes such as precious metals. Prior to this regulation it was very expensive to get access to assets such as precious metals and transactionally difficult. But now with our product offering you are able to invest in Gold directly from your M-pesa account.
We are also giving investors in Kenya opportunities to do global Indices. That means if Kenya is struggling on the equity side, local investors have an opportunity to trade on global assets.
It also presents us with an opportunity to offer world class customer service from a localized approach. We also want to deliver innovative and tailor-made solutions for the more elite and professional investors who will be able to engage in multiple-asset classes such as Oil.
What differentiates you from other players?
We have done a lot of investments into giving people localized transaction solutions at almost zero entry costs. For example if you want to use a global broker you will have to do a swift transfer and pay a brokerage fee. But we are absorbing all those costs. We have invested in a lot of technologies that have been integrated into local payment channels such as M-pesa and Airtel Money among others.
What does good regulation play for the sector?
Being licensed by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya, investors are afforded the provision of legitimate online forex services.
Historically there was lack of transparency where investors wouldn’t know where money is held, the strength of the holding bank or even the broker. There is a very clear dispute handling channel that is managed by the CMA. Regulation also dictates that we uphold money with bank accounts that are under the Banking Act of Kenya. This ensures that the safety of funds remains in Kenya and investors have visibility and access to their funds at any point in time.
What future prospects can we look forward to?
Our innovative financial offering bolsters Kenya’s positioning as a leader in financial innovation in Africa. We are going to introduce broader and more liquid diversified investment portfolio offerings that include Forex and Contracts for Differences (CFDs) and invest in Single Stocks.
We are also in the process of introducing asset classes that would be targeted to agribusiness consumers such as coffee and wheat among others.
We are very excited at the prospect that lies ahead for the financial markets in Kenya.