How to Invest on the Uganda Securities Exchange

I know I’ve been posting an awful lot of “How to” articles lately, but when this Kony 2012 stuff broke last week I felt the need to try to help balance the interweb’s recent coverage of Uganda.

Let me be clear. Uganda certainly has its problems. Kony is one. Corruption, AIDS, and an increasingly dictatorial president are others.

But Uganda also has some things going for it that could make it attractive to frontier investors.

I know I’ve been posting an awful lot of “How to” articles lately, but when this Kony 2012 stuff broke last week I felt the need to try to help balance the interweb’s recent coverage of Uganda.

Let me be clear. Uganda certainly has its problems. Kony is one. Corruption, AIDS, and an increasingly dictatorial president are others.

But Uganda also has some things going for it that could make it attractive to frontier investors.

  • The country is situated on billions of barrels of oil, which will eventually be brought to market. If this is managed equitably, it would be a huge boon to the nation’s economy.
  • Less than 20% of the nation’s citizens have access to electricity and blackouts are commonplace, but the commissioning of new power plants should allow Uganda to get ahead of its surging energy demand.
  • Recent reforms to property registration laws have made it easier than ever to do business in the country.
Photo by Ken Banks

These factors are part of the reason that the IMF forecasts a 5.5% economic growth rate for Uganda in 2012.

So, what steps must investors take if they’d like to buy shares on this fast-growing country’s stock market?

Ugandan Stockbrokers

I found one broker to be particularly helpful and responsive when I asked them if they catered to foreign investors and, if so, how much they required in order to open an account. This broker also maintains an informative, English-language website.

  • Crested Stocks & Securities – Crested Securities is a local Ugandan broker that places a strong emphasis on investor education. They brokered my trades on the USE during my time co-managing the Kivuno Africa Fund.

Trading Costs

Commissions and fees are fixed by the Ugandan Capital Markets Authority at 2.1% of trade value for all transactions less than UGS200 million (roughly $80,000).

Opening a Ugandan Brokerage Account

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

Step 1: Complete the Broker’s Account Opening Form

The account opening form (aka the “Know Your Client” or KYC Form) typically requires disclosure of your passport number or other ID number, your address, and banking details. Here is a sample from African Alliance Uganda.

Note that some brokers may ask that you submit a canceled check in order to verify your bank details.

Step 2: Complete the Securities Central Depository (SCD) Application in Triplicate

Like Botswana, Ghana, and Kenya, Uganda holds all shares of listed companies in a central depository in order to facilitate speedy, efficient trading. So before executing any trades on the Uganda Securities Exchange, prospective investors must apply for an SCD account that will track all of their holdings in the country.

The straightforward application form must be completed in triplicate and all three copies must be notarized.

Step 3: Attach a Color Passport-Sized Photo of Yourself to Each Completed SCD Application

Step 4: Provide a Photocopy of Your Driver’s License or Passport

The photocopy must be notarized.

Step 5. Send the Original Signed, Notarized Documentation and Passport Photos to Your Broker via DHL or FedEx

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. And do yourself a favor by sending it via a courier like DHL or FedEx. Couriers are expensive, but the Ugandan postal service is simply not reliable. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Step 6. 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 7. 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 some shares on the Uganda Securities 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 five days on the Uganda Securities Exchange, 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.

A Note on Dividends

Collecting dividends from Ugandan stocks requires a bit of extra paperwork. You must contact the share registrar of the company you’ve invested in, and ask them to endorse your dividend checks to your broker. You will then notify your broker of this arrangement. The broker may then request that you fill out an indemnity form that will allow them to deposit your dividends directly into your trading account. This is kind of a hassle, but it sure beats trying to cash a check denominated in Uganda shillings at your local Wells Fargo branch!

Mission Accomplished

That’s it! Follow these steps and you’re a Uganda investor.

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 Ivory Coast’s BRVM

How to Invest on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Nairobi Stock Exchange

96 thoughts on “How to Invest on the Uganda Securities Exchange”

  1. I find this very interesting, and I am interested in buying some shares. How do I go about it? Please assist.
    Thank you.
    Goretty

  2. Well, i thank you firstly for this information you provided. But i still need to inquire how do i become successful in trading of shares if i do become an investor in Uganda? How much shares are needed to be invested in, in order for maximum or good profits to be realised ?

      1. Hi Ssegwanyi,

        I’m based in the USA, so a face-to-face meeting may take some doing. 🙂 But feel free to post any questions you have about investing in Ugandan shares here, and I will do my best to find answers for them.

        1. I’ve been trading at Uganda Securities exchange with shares in Stanbic Bank, UMEME, New Vision Limited and National Insurance Corporation. Like any exchanges, there are no sure wins. Research and some knowledge are important prior to throwing in your hat. My broker is African Alliance and they’re helpful always.

  3. What about us the citizens of Uganda? I mean what procedures should we follow in order to invest in the stock exchange market.

    1. Hi Egou,
      The process is pretty much the same. If you live in Kampala, however, you might find it easier to visit a broker personally to open a trading account.
      Happy Investing!

  4. Hi Ryan,

    I have been trading for a while in the UK. I am hoping to return to Uganda and trade that market. My question is, can I trade Ugandan stock on my laptop? And where can I get real time data on the stocks traded on the USE?

    1. Hi Tyson,

      Great to hear you’re interested in exploring the Ugandan market.

      As far as I know, real-time, online share trading is not yet available on the Uganda Securities Exchange. You will likely need to submit trade orders to your broker via email. These trades will then be executed at the earliest opportunity.

      Keep us posted on how things go as you get started!

      Ryan

  5. I have interest in dealing with stock market. Am new, low income earning. How best can i see myself up to it? Hw much will the whole process cost? Advise me on risks as well of stock markets!

  6. the minimum amount of shares one can invest in is usually 1000 shares so this varies depending on the current price per share. the Uganda Securities Exchange provides valuable information to potential investors and one can use their website to monitor the prices of shares being traded. Currently there 18 firms listed on the USE, and with ongoing talks of a joint EASE investment in Uganda is very profitable but only if you have the right information.
    Mutebi Jonathan
    Financial Advisor
    Kampala, Uganda

  7. I find this very interesting, and I am interested in buying some shares. How do I go about it? Please assist.Need to start ,which office can i have nearest in uganda
    Thank you.
    Robert James N.Byansi

    1. Hi Robert,

      Here are contact details for the two brokers listed in the article above:

      African Alliance Uganda Limited
      1st Floor Worker’s House
      Pilkington Street
      Kampala
      tel: +256 417 777 700
      email: info@africanalliance.com

      Crested Stocks and Securities
      Customer care office on Ground Floor and Executive office on 6th Floor Impala House, Plot 13/15 Kimathi Avenue
      Tel : +256 312 230 900, +256 414 230 900
      Hotline : +256 713 230 900
      Email: info@crestedsecurities.com

    1. I would recommend Crested Stocks to you Robert But Like i said they are brokers looking for a commission so i suggest you decide on which stocks you want to invest on after doing the right research on the companies listed for example BATU British American Tobacco Uganda just closed its operations in Uganda and yet its listed on the USE however this move did not affect their share prices they actually moved from 7505 to7506 this shows the complexity of financial Markets in developing countries

  8. Hi Ryan
    Any pointer on registrar companies in Uganda? I can’t seem to get more than Deloitte. I am looking at introducing a web based app that manages all their day to day transactions including Bonus, Dividend, AGM etc. Any pointer would be appreciated.

  9. Thanks Ryan for your very informative article. I was just browsing through to find information about stock markets in UG and looks like I got what i needed.
    looking forward to more of your financial literature

        1. Glad to hear it, Ssengendo! Don’t hesitate to let me know if there are specific questions that you’re wrestling with.

          1. I would like to get info about share prices in Uganda Security exchange. As 2018

  10. hello Ryan thanks for the great information. am looking forward to trading shares though i don’t know where to get daily or weekly real time information on the changing share prices. please help out.

  11. Hi mr Ryan

    what i want know is that,
    when companies closing their shares price, how do they do it?

    they consider the last client who sold/bought shares
    or the company make his own closing price

  12. Hi Ryan,

    I feel pretty much better after finding this information that handles almost everything I wanted to know about share trade in Uganda. Thank you very much. However, I plan on starting to invest in shares as soon as I feel all the questions I have are answered. I am always on the move so my question is;

    Do i need to be monitoring my trade account for effective trading? Is there a possibility of committing the trade to some one else and I continue with other activities? If yes, Do they charge for that? If yes, would you advise me as a starter in share business to just invest and continue with other activities?

    Also, what is the minimum amount of shares that one can hold at USE?

    Karj

  13. am a student who just got done with campus in uganda, i have an interest in investing. i have no job though have got savings, is it possible for me to invest??

  14. Thanks much Ryan. but do you think Ugandan stocks are that yielding? And if so How much capital would you advise me to put in as my start-up if am to benefit?

    1. Hi Richard,

      If you already have an emergency savings fund in the bank and do not have any high-interest debt, I think the stock market is a good place to invest money that you won’t need within the next 5-10 years. Over that time, you will collect dividends and also (hopefully) see the prices of your shares increase. You can then decide to sell them or hold on to them for a few more years.

      I would advise you to start small and get a feel for how the market operates. You need only invest as much as the cost of 100 shares. The cost of a share varies from company to company. A hundred shares of DFCU, for example, would presently cost 96,000 shillings. Meanwhile, 100 shares of Stanbic Uganda are just 3300 shillings.

      As you become more comfortable and knowledgeable, you can invest more later.

        1. Hi Ofoy,

          The first step is to open a trading account with a registered stockbroker. The process for doing this is outlined in the article above. The folks at Crested Capital (http://crestedcapital.com/) should be able to assist you with this.

  15. hey Ryan, your reply to Richard is very understandable but now lets assume i have 100 shares at DFCU as stated. how do i get the dividends and in what time interval OR how do they pay me as a share holder?

    1. Hey Emma,

      Great question. Dividend collection varies from company to company and from broker to broker. Some brokers collect dividends on your behalf and deposit them directly in your trading account. You can then decide whether you would like to withdraw the funds or re-invest them in additional shares of DFCU (or some other listed company).

      If your broker does not collect dividends on your behalf, they will most likely be deposited in the bank account that you specify or mailed to you in the form of a cheque.

      The timing of the dividend payment varies from company to company. At present, DFCU pays a dividend just once per year. The payment is usually made near the end of July to investors who owned shares through the middle of May. Some companies pay a dividend twice per year – a small interim dividend and a larger final dividend.

      Before investing in shares of any company, ask your broker to go over the company’s dividend payment policy with you, so that you have an idea of what to expect.

      Hope this helps and happy investing!

  16. this is very interesting I would like kick off the year 2016 with this investments I see the economy is moving in the right direction

    1. Hi Magezi,

      Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any US or UK brokers who will open brokerage accounts for non-resident Ugandans. But there is a Danish bank, Saxo Bank, that may be able to give you access to both markets. You can find their website here:

      http://www.saxobank.com/

    1. If I was living in Uganda, I would take a close look at Centum, Jubilee, and SBU. Disclosure: I hold a beneficial interest in Centum and Jubilee.

      1. please ryan take me through on how i can a good investment portifolio. and does the portiforlia affaect my nvestment outcome and dividens so much, . basing on the currently listings on the USE WHATS THE BEST COMBINATION OF STOCKS ARE GOOD AND DO YOU THINK CAN MAKE GOOD INVESTMENT OUTPUT

    1. Hi Mulanzi,

      The first thing you need to do is open a trading account with a licensed broker by following the steps in the above article.

      Then, after depositing money in your trading account, you can instruct the broker to purchase whichever shares you would like. The Securities Central Depository will keep record of all shares that you purchase and sell. And if you are due to receive any dividend payments, the company whose shares you’ve purchased will issue them to you via the instructions you provide to your broker.

      If you’d like a little more background on what shares are, have a look at this article (https://investinginafrica.net/what-is-a-share/) and let me know in the comments if you have questions.

      Happy investing!

  17. Hi Hoover,
    I have found your article very helpful. I am Ugandan who is very interested in stock markets, however, i barely have any technical know how in this subject matter, kindly consider tutoring me in this business. I believe u can help me get the best out of myself in this regard

    William

    1. Hi Anderson,

      To invest on Uganda’s stock exchange, you must purchase at least 100 shares of a company. Therefore, the minimum amount varies from stock to stock and from day to day.

      At this moment, NIC Uganda had the lowest share price of any company on the exchange. It’s price is UGsh 11.00 per share. So, the amount required to purchase 100 shares would be UGsh 1100.00 (plus a small brokerage commission of roughly 25 shillings).

        1. I should clarify that a low share price doesn’t necessarily mean a stock is a bargain. As a new investor, I would buy shares of a company that I was very familiar with, preferably one that produces a good or service that I use regularly. Don’t invest any money that you can’t afford to lose. Just invest a little bit to get your feet wet. As your confidence and knowledge of the process grows, you’ll accumulate more of a sense of what makes for a good investment.

          The key is to remember that when you buy shares, you become a partial owner of that business. So don’t buy a shoddy, unprofitable company, buy one that you’re proud to be an owner of.

    1. Hi Joel,

      In Uganda, the only way to purchase shares is through a licensed broker. As far as I know, no Ugandan brokers currently offer an online trading platform, but this may change in coming years.

      Your share ownership is recorded by the Central Securities Depository, which is overseen by the Bank of Uganda. If you suspect that you have been defrauded by a broker, you can lodge a complaint with the Uganda Capital Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA administers a fund used to compensate investors in case of fraud.

    1. Hi Jesca,

      I’ve had a good experience with both African Alliance and Crested Securities, but I haven’t heard anything negative about any of the other brokers recently. There are presently eight registered brokers in Uganda. You can view the full list of them here.

  18. Hi Ryan, The step you have mentioned will be really helpful for the people of Uganda and other too as investing in the Uganda Securities Exchange will let the Uganda people make their lifestyle better if any this security exchanges may help them. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks Ryan
    Artcle has almost all the relevant information for a beginner
    So i have opened up an account which will be active in a week
    I am looking for long term investment so was looking at NIC Uganda, Umeme,Stanbic Bank and Uganda Clays that offer a share at lower price rate
    so hopefully in the next 10 years i will have made some profit.

    1. That’s fantastic, Ivan. Let me know if you have any questions or any experiences to share that may be useful for other beginning investors. Happy investing!

  20. Thank U Mr.Ryan for sharing this vital information with us am humbled.i personally would like to venture into thos business of stock market, but I have few questions I sill need to understand.
    1.whats the minimum capital I can begin with?
    2. How can I find agood broker at arelativ cost?
    3. How long can it take for one to get his dividends let’s say if I have invested in BATU.
    4.what if I want to use my gained profits or dividends to buy more shares so that my capital can grow how do I do it?
    5. On the side of brokers, how do they gain from me, do we enter kind of patternship? I would really like to be answered,thank You.

  21. Dear Ryan
    Thank you for this information.
    My question is, does this only apply to UG market shares?
    What if I want to invest in other international markets like NYSE, or LSE, what are the procedures?

    1. Good question, Carol. The procedure outlined above is specifically for the Uganda Securities Exchange.

      If you’d like to invest on the NYSE or LSE, I suggest you contact Saxo Bank (https://www.home.saxo/). They offer a trading platform that gives access to a number of global stock markets.

  22. HEY RYAN THANKS FOR YOUR REALLY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE ON INVESTMENT IN AFRICA BUT I WAS WONDERING HOW I CAN INVEST IN AMERICAN STOCK EXCHANGE WHILE I AM BASED IN UGANDA

    1. It’s difficult for foreign investors to open US brokerage accounts, but I understand that it is possible to buy and sell US stocks through Saxo Bank (https://www.home.saxo/) a Danish brokerage firm. Hope this helps and happy investing!

  23. Am just glad,am a student how can I start it.what is minimum amount to start buying those shares.and the returned after investing

    1. Hi Brian,

      To start all you need to do is open a trading account with one of the brokers listed in the above article. The minimum purchase is 100 shares of stock. So, the minimum amount depends on which company you would like to buy and that company’s current share price.

      For example, if you would like to buy shares of DFCU, the minimum investment as of today is Shs97,000 because each share is priced at Shs970. You’ll also need to pay the broker a commission and fees of roughly 2% of the total value of the trade.

      But a stock like Uganda Clays is currently priced at Shs20 per share. Thus, the minimum investment for that stock is just Shs2000 plus commission and fees.

      There are no guarantees of a positive return. Some stocks quickly increase in value, while others can fall all the way to zero. Your best bet is to buy shares of excellent companies and hold them for many years. If the business performs well, the shares likely will, too.

  24. Hi Ryan
    Thanks for the great info you’ve provided
    I am An interested newbie in stock exchange, After buying the the stocks and i don’t sell for a long period of time, will i be receiving dividends at every end of the year or i have to sell them in order to earn

  25. Thanks for all the information u provide.
    I read somewhere that its more profitable to buy shares for newly listed companies.
    How true is this?

    If true, What advantage does it have over obtaining shares from companies listed earlier?
    Looking forward to reading from u Ryan.

    I’m also looking forward to engaging in this business.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Good question. New listings (aka IPOs) in Africa have done well in recent years because they tend to generate a lot of excitement in the investment community.

      Keep in mind, however, that the owners of a company will typically only list shares on the stock exchange when they believe they will be able to sell them at a favorable price from investors. For this reason, most IPOs tend to be overpriced when looking solely at the fundamentals of the business (earnings power, assets, prospects).

      But the excitement surrounding the offer, the limited shares available, and fund mandates frequently result in shares rising at least a few percentage points on the day of their listing.

      Keep in mind, however, that if you apply for shares during an IPO, you will most likely not be allocated all of the shares that you apply for (unless you only apply for the minimum). These allocation results are typically not announced for several weeks after the offer closes. As a result, you could be waiting a while to be refunded for any shares that you applied for but were not allocated.

      Hope this helps and happy investing!

  26. Hello Ryan,
    Forgot to ask this in my question above.
    How long should I monitor a company to buy its shares.

    Do I solely rely on brokers or financial advisors?

    Or do I settle for companies that the CMA announced as winners. I saw it announcing winner and loser. Is this announcement done annually?

  27. Hello Ryan, I’m in Uganda.. in sooo interested in buying shares, n I’d like more advice from you on how to do that, n how to be successful in it. Thanx.

    1. Thanks, Annet. This is good for me to know. I’ll do my best to write more investing tips and expand my coverage of Ugandan stocks. In the meantime, check out Stock School if you haven’t already done so, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions.

    1. No worries, Musa. Your first step is simply to open an SCD (Securities Central Depository) account with the help of either of the brokers listed above (African Alliance Uganda or Crested Securities). The SCD account is like a bank account, but instead of holding money, it holds shares of stock.

      There’s no fee to open the account, and you can begin purchasing shares whenever you have funds available. Minimum purchase is 100 shares of stock per transaction.

      Let me know if you have questions and happy investing!

  28. Thanks Ryan, I’ve got more light obout stock market in Uganda. And I hope for more eye opening ideas from you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *