Muddling The (NSE) Nairobi Securities Exchange into Popular Culture


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The Nairobi Securities Exchange ain’t hip, it is an entity retrogressively alienated from the public; the youth and Small Medium Enterprises especially.

The parlance and jargon of the market is still arcane to virtually 80% of Kenyans. Heck, the next guy doesn’t even know what an index fund/ penny stocks/ brokerage charge/ P/E ratio or what a margin account is. Or better yet, many SME startups have minimal knowledge on IPOs.

The NSE has qualified in being an illuminati/ lizard-people conspiracy with all its bureaucratic mannerisms of men in suits, invites only conferences, esoteric trading language, big money and older men suffering from mental snobbery the Kenyan style.

Very few people know where it is located. It has no iconic status, it doesn’t even qualify in being a metonym for our financial market.

SMEs in Kenya have been slow to take up listing on the NSE even after the establishment of GEMS (Growth and Enterprise Markets Segment) that has lower listing charges and a more simplified listing approval process due to these frustrations.

Other than Dryer and Blair Where are we in implementing the online stock trading in Kenya where traders can actually enter their own buy and sell orders at the click of a button without having to contact their broker. If this is implemented, this will bring a lot of liquidity in the market and thus offer more opportunities due to the price movements. The working online platform and high quality market will attract the hip youngsters, Lure them from the Sportpesa menace.

NSE is missing out big time. Sportpesa is one of the most searched keywords in Kenya. Tells you how our youth are hopelessly joking with cash, If you get to the Google analytics of gambling websites in Kenya similarweb.com you will be amazed by the user’s average time on site and bounce rate.

There’s growing foreign institutional participation on the exchange, but the market remains pretty small. The weekly trade volume averages $33 million. By attracting these young investors, NSE would definitely help inject the volume, capital and buoyancy that would catapult it to greater heights thus more institutional investors.

As of 2016, its a buyers market but you know, since the Safaricom shares saga, only a few adults want to hear about stocks. So if the adults are unfazed, what of the youngones.

This is not a blueprint but a rough guide route map on how to turn the bourse into popular culture.

COMPETITION

Once competition was introduced in the US, the exchanges multiplied. By early 2008 there were thirteen different public exchanges. There was some highlighting of a niche that could be carved out by trading on platforms other than the big two – NASDAQ and NYSE.
The NSE is enjoying monopoly, just like the consolidation of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ which eliminated competition and raised prices for their services. BATS Global markets, Direct Edge and so on broke the monopoly. This diversity is healthy in fact.

Kenyaplex gives a list of Companies in Nakuru and am telling you that they are a lot. A bourse in Nakuru is the way to go. All Agricultural companies in Kericho & Eldoret could list on this bourse. We’ll start having dark pools & High Frequency traders, a source of employment for the tech guys who have proliferated Kenya.
Its just a matter of precedence. You see, these bourses are utilities owned by their members not public corporations run for profit.

ART

The problem with Kenya is that politicians occupy the Art space. This is a self explanatory phrase that I won’t delve on. But due to this above phrase, Artists have been reduced to doing portraits and writers reduced to writing erotica.

Before I am accused of prescribing a way in which a writer should write, let me say that I do think that decency and civilisation would insist that the writer take sides with the powerless. Once you talk about making things better you’re talking about politics. Here, the powerless are the disheartened aloof Kenyans on the benefits of investing in stocks.

American Comedian George Carlin had his way of summing up his comedy material. They all shared the overall theme of (in his words) “humanity’s bullshit.” His funny way of satirizing euphemisms, double speak and business jargon through social commentary made you see how it is all literally humanity’s bullshit. Especially business jargon.

Due to our lack of divagation from the NSE means that our Stock Market has a lower likelihood of crashing. I don’t even think the global recession affected it in any way, but in the US, following the 1987 stock market crash, a young man 26 years of age, Arturo Di Modica an Italian-American artist did something very nifty for the American Pecuniary.

He installed without permission a bronze sculpture of a 3200 kilogram 4.9m long bull in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989. Di Modica spent some $360,000 to create, cast and install the oversize sculpture following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of “aggressive financial optimism and prosperity”(Bull Market), leaning back on its haunches and with its head lowered as if ready to charge.

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The Bull's head is lowered, its nostrils flare, and its wickedly long, sharp horns are ready to gore; it's an angry, dangerous beast. The muscular body twists to one side, and the tail is curved like a lash: the Bull is also energetic and in motion.

That was an act of guerrilla art. This bull has grown to become the most iconic images of the New York and a New York Stock Exchange icon, symbolising Wall street and the Financial District.

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The closest we get to guerrilla art is waking up to Grafitti on Muindi Mbingu streets. Back to my point of Politics occupying the Art Space, who would commission such an art piece,…..
The artist commissioned to do that large Maasai earring Mosaic at Laico Regency Hotel was paid around 70 million shillings; the highest and only commissioning I have heard of.

The NSE began in Stanley Bar 1922-1953, it then moved to Nation Centre later, its now in 55 Westlands road in a building dubbed with a hackneyed name as The Exchange. Other bourses around the world are represented with buildings, rather than symbols, The Exchange building since its inception in 2013, is yet to be fed into popular culture. It needs a status. PAWA 254 or any other artists concierge should stop painting coffins for protests and come on board in the making of a Kenyan Wall street.

There is a reason why Snapchat triumphed over Skype in just a short while of the former’s existence. One could be that the founders were artists.

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The Charging Bull of Wall Street has become one of the most visited, most photographed and perhaps most loved and recognized statues in the City of New York. I would say it’s up there with the statue of liberty.

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An unmistaken symbol of its virility. Its testicles. People on The Street say you've got to rub the nose, horns and testicles of the bull for good luck.

People are crazy about the bull, its popularity with tourists has a very international appeal. One 2007 newspaper report noted a “ceaseless stream” of visitors from India, the United Kingdom, SA, Venezuela and China, as well as the United States.
Imagine what this does to the New York financial market. People here are accustomed to viewing the world through economic lenses.

In 2010, a similar Charging Bull still sculpted by Di Medica, which looks “younger and stronger,” was installed in Bund, Shanghai called Bund Bull.

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The City requested a bull that was younger and stronger than New York City’s bull to symbolise “the energy of Shanghai’s economy.” That’s why the head of the Bund’s bull looks up while the WallStreet bull looks downward. If you observe the tail of the bull, the tail is spirally pointing to the sky, meaning an uplifting financial trend.

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For a Kenyan WallStreet success, there is need for integration. First of all NSE needs to wholly own CDSC. The CDSC offices are in Nation Centre 10th floor while the NSE itself is on Westlands. You get my drift, literally.

The second thing, The Kenyan WallStreet does not need a mobile app. Wealth has a curtain that ensures it remains private and uncontaminated. It needs to get rid of that curtain.

Bursarts

Twitter:@mighty_leny

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