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Since September 2017 all forex and CFD traders in Kenya are required to obtain a license from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) – an independent government regulating agency responsible for supervising, licensing and monitoring the activities of market intermediaries, including the stock exchange and the central depository and settlement system and all the other persons licensed under the Capital Markets Act of Kenya.
The step was taken, because up to that point the retail forex market in the country was mainly run by brokers, using offshore platforms that were not supervised by the Kenyan regulators.
The new regulations now require the brokers to register with the CMA and in order to be registered as a forex brokers a company must rise at least 50 million Kenya Shilling, or roughly 500 000 USD in minimum capital.
The company should also be limited by shares and to maintain the minimum capital at all times plus 5% of liabilities owed to forex customers in excess of 50 million Kenya Shilling. It also have to keep 40 million Kenya Shilling or 80% of its capital, whichever is higher, in the form of cash and cash equivalent financial instruments at all times.
Foreign dealers wishing to trade in Kenya will also be required to maintain an equivalent of 40 million Kenya Shilling, or 400 000 USD of their capital reserves in financial instruments in Kenya.
The new regulations also impose a leverage restriction – the maximum leverage allowed with forex transactions is capped at 1:20.