The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) is targeting to double the number of investors opening Securities Central Depository accounts to 3,500 per year from the current range of between 1,500 and 1,700.
The move will be enhanced, according to USE, by the launch of the Online Easy Portal, which enables investors to open accounts online.
Speaking during the launch of the USE online account opening portal in Kampala yesterday, Mr Bob Musinguzi, the USE Securities Central Depository manager, said: “We expect to double the number of people opening SCD accounts in the short term from 1,500 to 3,500 per year.”
This, he said, will be achieved due to the fact that the system has been simplified as USE seeks to extend capital markets activities to people across the country.
Mr Musinguzi also said USE had upgraded the trading system to provide investors with more information about the market.
The system, he said, had now been upgraded with easy logins and will enable investors to see the performance of different companies, which will offer them a platform for making informed investment decisions.
USE has been working on plans to grow the stock market, which currently continues to attract low numbers.
For now, the USE Online Account Opening will be limited to Ugandans but will in future be available for all people within the East African region.
Ms Jovia Bbosa, a trader at Equity Stocks, said the new system will allow dealers to take capital market investment upcountry, which is likely to drive some growth.
“This account opening system has now been simplified for people,” she said, noting that investors will now have easy access in which ever part of the country.
The USE, according to Paul Bwiso, currently has 37,000 investors of which 4,000 are institutional while the remaining 33,000 are individual.
“With the new system this number should double. We believe this system is going to make the market more attractive and it will allow more people to begin investing in the stock market,” he said.
In 2010, the USE, in collaboration with key stakeholders, resolved to implement the conversation of paper certificates to an electronic format domiciled in the Securities Central Depository.
Mr Bwiso said most of the shares of nine locally listed companies have been converted.
Stanbic Bank currently has 51 million shares in the market with 2 per cent of its share certificates still in paper form, while Umeme and Cipla accounts are fully converted.
Nira to verify
The new system, according to Mr Bwiso, will be conducted in consultation with the National Identification and Registration Authority, which will be in charge of verifying details of those opening accounts.
“NIRA will verify people who sign up on the system,” he said, noting that performance of the USE had dropped with the Local Share Index falling to the range of 2.3 to 2.8 while the USE All Share Index had dropped from Shs24 trillion to Shs18 trillion.