nvestments Through Mobile Phones & Internet On The Rise But Parastatals Lag Behind

Mobile devices and internet users in Kenya spend approximately 3 hours a day on social media. Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter are the most used platforms and a new revelation shows that these users are not only engaging in chitchats but a good number has been found to either be on a hunt for investment opportunities on websites or enquiring about it from a friend. As the major disruptor the internet is, investments are taking a new curve thanks to internet connection and penetration of cheap data services.

A decade ago, investment companies almost had a preferred customer base and this is the old chap who would walk into an institution with hardcopy documents to justify an intended investment. This would involve a one on one with one of the officials who then would give the potential investor a nod or deny, depending on terms applied. In the present day, the least you need is a smartphone in order to access investment. Through your device, you are now able to access the company website where application forms are available, make an investment or even withdraw by just a tap on your screen.

All these aspects of modern investing are relatively recent disruptive innovations being used by firms to remain competitive in a market where clients are not only more knowledgeable but need things done much faster and more efficiently. Firms such as Britam, Cytonn, CIC group pride themselves for capitalizing on the internet disruption to include individuals in investment plans. They have done this through interactive mobile applications that enable their clients to invest, and by the aid of mobile money, clients can now withdraw and transfer funds easily without manual intervention.

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Parastatals Lag Behind

However, Kenya needs to accelerate the adoption of technology in the investments sector; for example, technology is present in mobile banking, mobile money through Mpesa, government bond issuance through M-Akiba, but investment instruments like Unit Trust Funds and Pensions are yet to digitize and could do a better job adopting the technology.

M-Akiba, for example, attracted a new client base that had never bought government bonds before by allowing the process on smart devices. Since its launch in 2017, M-Akiba has attracted up to 85% of the investors who had never bought a bond before. And although M-Akiba did not hit the intended target of Kshs 1 bn, more Kenyans were included in the investment.

As the mobile user block continues to grow, companies are using bog data and research to reach a new client segment as well as maintain the already existing investors. By using big data to analyze and pick trends from the volumes of client data collected, firms today are improving their customer experience by offering targeted products in the market. This way, technology today is setting apart the winners from losers in the industry depending on the company’s investment in technology.

In the Kenyan investment environment, remaining competitive means adapting to these changes, embracing new thinking, and leading the charge to innovate.

Gathoni Kuria

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