How to Invest on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange

If you really want to invest at the furthest reaches of Africa’s frontier markets, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) is for you. The little market lists only 11 local companies and trade volumes often don’t exceed $500,000 per week.

But the DSE will likely not be so sleepy five years from now. Exploration companies have discovered huge natural gas reserves off Tanzania’s sandy shores that they are rushing into production. Now the country appears set to be the world’s newest energy hub.

One way to get in on the ground floor of these exciting developments is via the stock market. Here’s what it takes to open a Tanzanian brokerage account.

If you really want to invest at the furthest reaches of Africa’s frontier markets, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) is for you. The little market lists only 11 local companies and trade volumes often don’t exceed $500,000 per week.

Part of the reason for this is because the Tanzanian government does not allow foreigners to purchase shares of companies whose foreign ownership percentage exceeds 60%. As of this date, only six stocks have foreign ownership percentages less than 60%.

Even so, the DSE will likely not be so sleepy five years from now. Exploration companies have discovered huge natural gas reserves off Tanzania’s sandy shores that they are rushing into production. Now the country appears set to be the world’s newest energy hub.

One way to get in on the ground floor of these exciting developments is via the stock market. Let’s take a look at what it takes to open a Tanzanian brokerage account.

Tanzanian Stockbrokers

I emailed each of the ten brokers who are licensed to trade on the DSE. I asked them if they catered to foreign investors, how much they required to open an account, and what documentation was necessary. I found the two brokers listed below to be particularly helpful and responsive.

Broker Minimum Initial Deposit Account Opening Form Research Sample
Orbit Securities No minimum required Not Available Online Not Available Online
Vertex Securities No minimum required Here Not Available Online

Trading Costs

Commissions and fees are assessed on a sliding scale that is standard across all brokers. For transaction amounts less than TZS10,000,000 (roughly $6,300) you will pay 2.0% of the total trade value when buying or selling a stock. For amounts less than TZS50,000,000 (about $31,600) the total commission is 1.8%. Anything greater than that is charged 1.1%.

Opening a Tanzanian Brokerage Account

Now let’s walk through the process of opening an account with a Tanzanian stockbroker and buying your first shares.

Step 1: Complete the CDS Account Opening Form

The Central Depository System (CDS) records the ownership of Tanzanian securities via electronic accounts. When you ask a broker to open a trading account, they will send you a copy of the CDS Account Opening Form. After completing and returning it to your broker, you will be assigned a CDS account number. This number will accompany every Tanzanian stock trade you execute, allowing the CDS to keep record of all your holdings in the country.

Step 2: Complete the Broker’s Account Opening Form

After your first email to the broker requesting information on how to open an account, they may also send you a blank account opening form, which is sometimes referred to as the “Know Your Client” or KYC form. A sample form from a Vertex Securities may be found in the above table. The form typically requires disclosure of your passport number or other ID number, your address, and asks for your preference regarding collection of dividends and payment of fees.

Step 3: Photocopy your passport

If you don’t have a valid passport, a driver’s license may suffice.

Step 4. Mail the original CDS form, account opening form, and copy of your passport to your broker

You may email photocopies of all documents to your broker to get a head start on the account opening process, but they must eventually receive the original documentation.

Step 5. Wire Funds to Your Brokerage Account

After opening your trading account, your broker will provide you with its bank details so that you can fund your account. The most efficient way to do this is via wire transfer. If you haven’t sent an international wire before, I suggest that you take your broker’s bank details to your local bank branch and ask them to walk you through the process. They’ll make sure that your funds arrive securely. Note that most US banks charge about $25 for outgoing international wires.

Step 6. Submit a Trade Order

You’ve done your research and found a stock that you’d like to buy. What now?

While some brokers will request a signed trade mandate form, for most brokers, all you need to do is send an email to your broker with your trade instructions. Keep in mind that many shares listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange are rather illiquid, so I advise specifying a limit price for all of your orders. This will help you avoid paying significantly more for your shares than you had intended to pay.

Your broker will then execute your trade and send you a contract note that specifies the buy or sell price, commissions, and fees. Settlement of share trades takes up to six business days in Tanzania, so if you’ve sold shares, don’t expect to receive the proceeds of a sale before then unless you’re willing to incur a penalty to settle the trade more quickly.

An Important Note on Dividends

It is not possible to have stock dividends deposited directly into a Tanzanian brokerage account. You must instead opt to receive a Tanzanian Shilling denominated dividend check or open a Tanzanian bank account to collect the dividends. Because the teller at your local Wells Fargo branch will probably laugh in your face if you ever try to cash a Tanzanian Shilling denominated check there, your best option, unfortunately, is to open a Tanzanian bank account.

Your broker should be able to assist you in connecting with a reputable bank and to help facilitate the account opening process. The CDS will be informed of your local bank details and will route all of your dividends there.

Mission Accomplished

Follow these steps and you’re all set to begin investing in Tanzanian stocks. That wasn’t too bad, was it?

The process of opening a foreign brokerage account can be confusing. If you found this walk-thru to be clear as mud, please don’t be shy. Post your questions in the comments, and I’ll do my best to get answers for them.

Further Reading

How to Invest on the Botswana Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Ghana Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange

56 thoughts on “How to Invest on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange”

  1. I am a second year student in the institute of finance management,from the procedure on how to buy a share in DSE am not claer with the charges involves in the process of becoming the owner of the share of certain company in DSE market.Furthermore i request to know about how can come into contact with these brokers.i hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Joshua, the information can be easily accessed from DSE offices or online.Stocks are bought from different companies ie: cement companies eg: Twiga, Bevrages eg: Konyagi Distellers, Banks eg: CRDB and so on. Stock agents are located in many places in Tanzania and have all information on how the stock market is, how to make profit from the stocks and how to sell them in near future. DSE offices are in Posta you can go there and get more information.

    1. Hi Filimon,

      Shares don’t pay out interest, but many pay out a dividend on a half-yearly or annual basis. The dividend is typically comprised of any leftover profits that management does not deem necessary for future growth of the underlying business. Therefore, the dividend can vary from year to year according to the health and prospects of the company.

  2. Trading on the floor should be explained. Does it take place in person or is there an online trading system? How is the market moving? And what are the closing and opening times?

  3. I need to know how to contact the DSE online because I’m in Kenya and want to own shares in one of the companies.
    I also need to know the minimum amount to open an account. I want to invest back home.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for your comment, and I think it’s great that you want to invest back home. Your best bet would be to contact one of the brokers listed (Orbit Securities or Vertex Securities) in the article above. They will help you buy shares of whichever company you’d like. They do not require a minimum amount in order to invest, so whatever amount you have should be okay.

  4. I am a masters in international business student, and I would appreciate if someone can please tell me what are the determinants of foreign equity portfolio investment into the dar es salaam stock market.

  5. I’m second year student in UDSM
    I hereby to thank you four youe help on the process of undergoing share purchasing!

  6. Ryan, Interesting article on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. As a seasoned financial services professional in Tanzania, my experience with the DSE can be summarized two fold. Firstly, there is a share shortage problem where as there are too few shares available thus driving the prices of the likes of Tanzania Cigarette Company (TCC) and Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) through the roof. Secondly, transaction time to fulfillment is relatively slow. Whereas, both individual and institutional investors are unable able to take advantage of short-term share price fluctuations due to limitations in transaction settlement times. Hopefully with the DSE implementing electronic settlement facilities, stock trading volume may increase thus positively affecting profitability.

    1. Thanks for the insight, Karume. Illiquidity is a huge problem for Africa’s smaller exchanges. Electronic settlement should help, as will recent moves to relax restrictions on foreign ownership.

      1. Great question, Anon.

        Companies typically split their shares when they wish to make their stock more liquid.

        For example, if a company splits its shares into two new shares for every one old one, the price of the new shares will be half that of the old shares’ price.

        This may entice some investors (particularly small investors) to buy shares because the cost of buying the minimum 100 lot of shares is suddenly half as expensive.

        Meanwhile, existing shareholders will suddenly have twice as many shares, and may be tempted to put a portion of them on the market.

        As far as the actual value of the underlying company goes, it’s a meaningless exercise.

        Hope this helps!

  7. Howdy Ryan. I always enjoy reading your commentaries on African bourses. What are the 6 counters that foreigners can currently invest in in TZ?

  8. Am sorry my question is little far from the topic discussed above.Is it possible for me to invest in NYSE while am still living in Dar es salaam and what steps i may take to fulfil this.

  9. Dear Ryan,

    Many thanks for your informative article on the DSE. Could you let me know the process of how a limited liability company would trade in shares in DSE?

    1. Hi Pius,

      I believe the process is very much the same as the above. You may, however, be required to disclose some additional documentation to the broker (e.g. articles of incorporation, board resolution, tax identification). You will also be asked which individuals are authorized to submit trade orders for the LLC.

      Keep us posted on how it goes!

      1. Many thanks Ryan for your information. We will try to open an account with one of the brokerage firms in Tz. We will keep you posted.

  10. I am in Arusha and would like to participate in the stock market by buying shares.
    I don’t know where exactly to begin.

    1. Hi John,

      Your first step is to phone or email either of the brokers listed in the above article (Orbit or Vertex) and tell them that you would like to open a trading account. If you’d prefer to speak to someone in person, try visiting your local CRDB branch. They should also be able to help you open an account.
      After that, you simply need to fund your account and instruct your broker to purchase shares for you.

  11. I’m at Dar. I want to buy shares, but I don’t know where I can find brokers to start and real time to complete the whole process. I need help.

    1. Hi Litega,

      I suggest that you contact either Orbit Securities (http://www.orbit.co.tz/) or Vertex Securities (http://www.vertex.co.tz/). Both of them are licensed brokers and both have offices in Dar es Salaam. You might also inquire at your local CRDB bank branch. I know of at least one investor in Tanzania who has opened a trading account through them.

      Hope this helps and keep us posted on how things go for you!

  12. Mostly I am interested to write a book about shares in our local language that will assist my colleagues who are not conversant in foreign languages. So, how can you help me get relevant information about the DSE, and how it conducts its normal activies, in order to meet my goal of educating all Tanzanians?

    1. That sounds like a great idea, Uwezo. To learn more about the DSE, I would start by reading all of the content on the DSE’s website (www.dse.co.tz). If you have additional questions, I would contact local stockbrokers to learn more. Here’s a list of the stockbrokers licensed to trade on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange: http://www.dse.co.tz/content/licenced-dealing-members.

      All the best and keep us posted on your progress!

  13. Very useful information. can you please advise when is the right time to buy share at DSE in Dar es salaamand which company shares pay more dividends?

  14. Hi,

    Your article is very illuminating, it’s shed some light on subjects i wasn’t fully aware of. I’m an enterpreneur looking to make his way into the stock exchange. I would like to know whether or not it is possible to buy shares directly from the company through DRIP’s or DSP’s (If these methods exist within Tanzania) without having the need to buy them through a broker in Tanzania? The point being, to keep the cost of investing as low as possible. I eagerly await your response.

  15. It sound that DSE is an alternative financing source especially for low income citizens of Tanzania I don’t see any effort seriously by DSE or government to use this resource as many times I have had the market is operating in-efficiently.
    Here is my idea.

    Tanzania gas economy.
    TPDC should be helped out to go for IPO the focus should be on targeting low income Tanzanians whom will be educated on investing in stock market.

    Assuming that 25million citizens at family level will be able to buy three shares each wealthy 10,000/= Through IPO by TPDC
    Not less than 750,000,000,000/= will be earned and invested in DSE market.
    Why then should we wait for donors.
    Why TPDC.
    This is the public corporation dealing with research on gas and petrol ex proration where minds of Tanzanians is currently in to. That means people would have more trust to put there money. However on dividend issuing investors would realise and have the filling that they are part of gas resources beneficiaries that is said to be 32trillion cubic M.
    Conclusion,
    Low income investors would be a solution to improve DSE market performance furthermore drawing attention to many investors to trade with DSE.

  16. in this year i have read that Tanzania has opened foreign investment in the D S E , So now foreigners are able to purchase shares with no limit what is the implication of this on Tanzania and the Tanzanian economy i want to learn more from your comment..

  17. Hi Ryan, things have really changed since the DSE opened up to foreigners. Trade volumes have really skyrocketed. In the past two days alone, equity turnover has exceede 10 million dollars each day, a far cry from an average of 500,000 dollars a WEEK a few years ago!

  18. Acquiring shares in a company needs a process of purchasing a number of potions or shares whereby the total shares is termed to execute as a capital of the company. In so doing a business runs in either a profit or loss. During a definite duration of a business the net profit is finally distributed equally to all the shares. For instance, a shareholder with a total number of shares of 100 and assuming the dividend calculated is Tshs 95/- per share will eventually earn a total of Tshs 9,500/-. The amount will be fluctuating every time depending on how best or bad the business is performing

  19. Hi! Ryan,

    I am planning to sell my shares which I own from one of the Bank in Tanzania. This is because the trend of the stock price seems to stuck in a couple of the months. Is it a right a time for me to sell them? and If I sell which industry would you advice me to invest apart from financial Institutions?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Mtengi!

      Good question. Share prices do seem to get “stuck” sometimes, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should sell the share. In fact, if the underlying business is doing well, you may be better off holding on to the stock and waiting for the market to recognize the share’s true value.

      Without knowing the bank in question, it’s difficult to say whether you should hold or sell. But before selling, take a look at the bank’s price/book ratio. This is the share price divided by shareholders equity per share. Is it less than 1.5 per share? If so, that’s pretty good. Now, also look at how much the bank has earned over the past year. Have earnings grown by 10% or more? If so, that’s pretty good, too. Now, look at the dividend yield. Is it greater than 4%? That’s very good.

      If you find that the bank passes 2 or 3 of these screens and there has been no fundamental to change to the bank’s business or future prospects, you may be better off being patient and holding on to the share, especially when you consider that brokerage commissions and fees will eat about 2% of the total value when you sell and then another 2% when you buy something else.

      Hope this helps and happy investing!

  20. Hi Ryan!

    Its maybe a bit off topic, but can you tell me, if it is possible for locals in Dar Es Salaam to buy investment funds or ETFs? And if so, where and how?

    Thank you!
    Steffen

  21. I’m a student in finance and accounting. I want to know how I can be a member of DSE and how to meet with a broker if i wish to sell shares.

  22. hello Ryan,
    i would like to ask if there is any DSE broker in Moshi that can help those who are in need of share and other registration. thanx.

    1. Hi Anniety,

      I suggest that you inquire at CRDB bank’s Moshi branch. They may be able to assist you with opening a DSE trading account through their partnership with Solomon Stockbrokers.

  23. hello Ryan, thanks for knowledge you provide here its really helpful for a beginner like me. my question is can i buy stocks through dse without passing through stockbroker (buy directly) ?? and if its possible what are the procedures ??.

    1. Good question, Fadhili. As far as I know, the only way to purchase shares of companies listed on the DSE is through a broker. Individual companies may grant share options to their employees, but I don’t know of any Tanzanian companies that presently offer direct share purchase programs to the general public.

  24. Hi, I am in the process of opening a brokerage account with Orbit. Unfortunately I cant get CDS approval until I have opened a bank account inside of Tanzania (I am a foreigner). Any advice on how to go about this? So far I have had very little luck contacting anyone within the country.

    Thanks

    1. The Central Depository System (CDS) maintains an electronic record of all shares that you currently own. A record of ownership is also maintained by each company’s share registrar.

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