Kenyan firms engaged in ICT and e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, logistics and delivery as well as research and data analytics, top the list of beneficiaries those who will reap big from the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Others that could expand and increase their value due to growing demand in response to this global health crisis are firms and individuals involved in videoconferencing, entertainment streaming and gaming sector.
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Soundness Report- Vol XIV, Q1 2020 notes that while many stock markets worldwide, including Kenya, have declined substantially, there is also an opportunity for investors. This is especially in those stocks that have done down simply due to panic and not a weakening in their fundamentals.
While initially most sectors are expected to take a hit, there are those who will thrive during this global health crisis. The report mentions that it is an opportune time for savvy investors, with a long term view, to buy under-priced shares for future capital gains and dividends.
The authority holds the view that once the short-term policy interventions being implemented across the world are successful to keep businesses afloat, the same entities will require to expand. The most ideal tolls for such business strategies will be equity and debt financing and it shall be a perfect opportunity for the capital markets to play its role in mobilizing savings for long-term investments.
In light of the social distancing measures and travel restrictions that have been implemented to combat COVID-19, most listed firms may be forced to hold Annual General Meetings(AGMs) through electronic platforms. Those firms that have by-laws that do not support virtual or electronic meetings have already received a reprieve through court orders.
Introduction of virtual meetings and especially electronic Annual General Meetings (e-AGMs) in Kenya and the rest of the world presents an opportunity to FinTechs to provide solutions to not only AGMs but other client onboarding, trading and settlement platforms, in response to COVID-19 pandemic
Consensus is growing that perhaps it is time to start thinking about completely transforming capital markets transactions into e-mobile where clients are on-boarded, trade and receive cash through their mobile handsets.
There are also suggestions that the policy on staff working from home could be sustained, even after COVID-19, to reduce operating costs, increase work-life balance, as well as to reduce man hours spent on the road when commuting.
This has a likely effect of increasing staff productivity and well-being concurrently, if implemented properly.