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YEAR ENDER: Transition at NSE as rich founders loosen control

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Former ARM Pradeep Paunrana
Former ARM Pradeep Paunrana. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Key founders in various Nairobi-Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed #ticker:NSE firms loosened their board and management control this year, ending decades of stewardship that shaped growth of their companies.

The board of Equity Group Holdings #ticker:EQTY announced the retirement of its founder and chairman Peter Kahara Munga.

Mr Munga, who celebrated his 75th birthday in June, marked an end to 35 years of service in an organisation he helped grow from a rural building society operating in Murang’a.

He took his successor, David Ansell, on a tour of the lender’s first branch opened in Murang’a in 1984 with only Sh5,000 and five staff.

Mr Munga cut his stake to 0.4 percent last year from 3.2 percent during the lender’s listing at the Nairobi bourse in August 2006.

“It is wise to own 10 percent of an elephant than 90 percent of a goat,” he once wittily remarked referring to his decision to cut his stake and allow the group to grow through other shareholders.

The year also saw Maina Wanjigi, former Cabinet Minister and the father of flamboyant businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, bow out of Carbacid Investment’s board. This brought to an end 48 years of service as a director.

Maina Wanjigi

Maina Wanjigi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

He also cut his stake to 3.8 million shares worth about Sh42 million from the peak of 12 million (Sh130 million) in 2015, based on Carbacid’s current share price of Sh10.9 a piece.

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“The directors are extremely grateful to Hon Wanjigi for his significant contribution and wise guidance to the Carbacid Group over the many years that he served on the board and wish him good health and great success in future,” the board said.

He had also served listed firms such as Unga Limited #ticker:UNG, East African Cables and East African Breweries #ticker:EABL in various positions.

Veteran investment banker Jimnah Mbaru also retired as a director of the Nairobi NSE Ltd in June, bringing to an end one of the most defining tenures in Kenya’s financial services sector.

He bowed out after turning 70, the age in which a director of a listed company must legally retire unless he requests and is granted exemption by the Capital Markets Authority.

Mr Mbaru was first elected vice-chair of the NSE, then called Nairobi Stock Exchange, in 1991 and got re-elected the following year.

Equity founder Peter Kahara Munga. FILE PHOTO |

Equity founder Peter Kahara Munga. FILE PHOTO | NMG

During his tenure, he oversaw several developments at the stock market, including change from open outcry system to automated trading and demutualisation of share certificates.

The billionaire investor however remains the chairman of Dyer & Blair Investment Bank, which he acquired from KCB #ticker:KCB in 1983.

Troubled Athi River Mining Cement #ticker:ARM, which sank into administration due to debt, also rang changes bringing to an end the reign of owner and CEO Pradeep Paunrana.

Before ARM was placed under administration, Mr Paunrana had lost his CEO position even as he explained that the company was transitioning from family-owned and managed, to institutional investor representation.

Wilfred Murungi also parted ways with the struggling cement maker ending his 24-years stint as a director.

“I have seen the Company experience tremendous growth from a small plant producing 200 tonnes of cement per day, to the giant enterprise it is today producing 8,000 tomes of cement per day,” he summed up his tenure.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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