The capital markets industry stakeholders have unveiled a raft of measures designed to ensure business continuity and manage effects of COVID 19 pandemic.
Top on the list is to ensure trading and settlement systems continue functioning to support transactions.
The CMA Acting Chief Executive, Mr Wyckliffe Shamiah, said the Authority is allowing the progression of some of the activities usually sanctioned during Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for listed companies.
Given the need to postpone AGMs, to help eligible shareholders access dividends during these difficult circumstances, the respective Boards of issuers of securities have been allowed to proceed to declare and pay the dividends to their shareholders. This will be subject to the companies’ dividend policies, procuring all other relevant internal approvals, and making available the audited financial statements to CMA, Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the public in the prescribed channels as explained in an earlier guidanceMr Wyckliffe Shamiah, CMA Acting Chief Executive
The Boards of listed companies have also been allowed to progress the appointment and remuneration of auditors.
Board decisions on these matters will need to be tabled at the AGMs, once convened, for ratification.
To ensure normal operations continue at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), the NSE Chief Executive, Mr. Geoffrey Odundo, said the business continuity plan of the Exchange has been operationalized to support online and mobile trading.
Additionally, market players have successfully been working remotely with trading systems accessed via Virtual Private Networks.
The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Chief Executive, Mr. Nkoregamba Mwebesa, adds that through its Business Continuity Plan, CDSC has ensured settlement continues through secure remote links with all settlement participants.
Mr. Mwebesa added that CDSC is still offering all other depository services to Central Depository Agents and other stakeholders. These measures are aimed at ensuring that investors have remote access to the market through various channels, with the ability to easily buy or sell their securities with minimal physical movement and contact in line with the Ministry of Health Directives.
The Kenya Association of Stockbrokers and Investment Banks (KASIB) Chief Executive, Mr. Willie Njoroge, welcomes the support from the Authority, which has authorized and shall continue to guide, monitor and regulate the use of Automated customer onboarding processes to reduce the need for physical verification of documents and in-person visits while facilitating easy access to the market by investors.
The Fund Managers Association (FMA) Chairman, Mr. Jonathan Stichbury, says the association through its member firms will continue to operate and actively invest in the Kenyan capital markets on behalf of their institutional and retail clients – and to support the proper functioning of the capital markets.