Safaricom open to mobile equities trading after M-Akiba delay

Safaricom open to mobile equities trading after M-Akiba delay

Telecommunications firm Safaricom has announced plans to ditch a partnership deal with government for a mobile traded bond.

This as the government has on several occasions delayed the launch of the Sh5 billion M-Akiba bond that was expected to offer ordinary Kenyans a chance to invest in government securities.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said the firm was in talks with stalk brokers to link its platform to the Nairobi Securities Exchange to allow Kenyans to trade shares from their mobile phones.

“Actually of the origin of the product was not treasury at all. The origins of the product was when Peter Mwangi was the CEO at the NSE and he came to us and said we’d like to do securities trading using the mobile phone. So we then went on to develop the product and I think we are now more likely to launch it as a securities trading tool in collaboration with the brokers,” Mr Collymore said during an interview on CCTV.

When the plans for the mobile traded bond were first announced in 2015, it was hailed as a revolutionary step towards getting more Kenyans investing in government securities.

The M-Akiba bond is to be sold for as little as Sh3,000 with investors able to bid a maximum of Sh140,000.

However treasury has delayed the launch on several occasions.

“It will be a little bit of a shame for the government because there is a lot of money out the in the informal sector and if that money gets swept into securities, stocks and shares, then there is less available for the government coffers,” he said.

Mr Collymore said Safaricom was ready to roll out the services, which would likely happen in the first quarter of 2017.

“We just need to get some partners and open up the conversation with the partners because we don’t want to be a stockbroker,” Mr Collymore said.

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