CDS refers to the Central Depository System account. This is an account given by the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC). The entity that has the mandate to offer clearing and settlement services in the Kenya capital markets.

Top 5 Best Shares to Buy in Kenya

These includes both the stock and bond markets. It is mandatory to have a CDS account if you want to participate in these markets either as a buyer or a seller. Hence, this article will seek to explain how to open a CDS account in Kenya.

Why is a CDS account important

  • Offers a holding account for your Securities such as shares-. A good example is the shares. If you buy shares through the Nairobi Securities Exchange, they are stored in the CDS account until such a time when you decide to sell them. The same happens to bonds.
  • Allow real-time transfer of shares after buying or selling
  • Elimination of risks such as theft– A CDS account is a safer storage point for your securities helping to minimize some risks such as theft or forgery
  • Enables online transactions – This makes the process of buying and selling shares convenient and faster. This also happens to other securities such as bonds.

You can open a CDS account through various authorized institutions such as stock brokers, investment banks, and the Central bank of Kenya.

Stock Brokers and Investment banks CDS account

Below are the requirements to open a CDS account in Kenya.

  1. Have a Kenyan Bank account
  2. A copy of your National identity card
  3. Passport size colored photo
  4. A copy of your KRA PIN
  5. Fully executed CDS 1 form

However, each institution has its account opening process and terms to facilitate account opening such as costs. You need to do some market research before settling on the right institution that suits your needs. Some of the top stock brokers in the country include;

  1. Kingdom securities
  2. AIB Africa
  3. Genghis capital.

Opening a CDS account with these institutions makes you eligible to start buying and selling shares in the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Learn more about how to buy and sell shares in Kenya.

CBK CDS account.

If you want to trade in treasury bills and bonds, you require to have a central bank of Kenya CDS account. Below is the process of how to open a CBK CDS account.

Step 1: Visit the CBK portal and download the registration CDS mandate card. You can either download the individual or corporate mandate cards depending on your category.

Step 2: After downloading the CDS mandate card, you should print it and fill in the details as per the card.  Some of the key information required includes the contacts, bank account number, and address.

Step 3: Attach a copy of your national identity card/passport and a colored passport photo. These documents must be certified by your local bank. The card should also be certified by the local bank. (A complete certification entails having a bank stamp and signature by 2 authorized signatories)

Step 4: After completing the above processes, you should then submit the CDS mandate card. This you can do either by scanning the documents to  or sending the details to The Director, Financial Markets Department. Box 60000- 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Step 5: Wait for the application review- The CBK reviews your application and if successful, you will receive an email confirming the approval and the account details.

After this step, you are now eligible to start trading in government bonds. learn more on how to invest in Kenya government bonds.


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