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Guide On How to Make Money from Treasury Bonds in Kenya

If you have some spare cash, investing in government securities such as Treasury bonds can be a safe option.

In fact, statistics show that quite a number of Kenyans are preferring treasury bonds over volatile investments such as buying shares.

And yes, you can earn significant returns investing in treasury bonds (depending on the amount you want to invest).

Now, if you are thinking of starting to invest in treasury bonds, below is a step-by-step guide on how to make money from Treasury bonds in Kenya to help you get started.

How to make money from treasury bonds in Kenya

Let us first look at the basics:

What are treasury bonds?

In simple words, Treasury bonds are just a secure, medium- to-long-term investment tool that usually pays you interest every 6 months until the bond matures.

What makes treasury bonds very secure is because you’re effectively lending money to the government of Kenya (the government needs cash to pay for bills and fund development projects).

In other words, once you invest in treasury bonds, the government becomes your debtor.

Keep in mind that bonds are typically auctioned every month so you have ample investment opportunities to meet your diverse financial goals.

How do treasury bonds work in Kenya

Now, treasury bonds are auctioned by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) every month (you are actually advancing debt to the national treasury hence the name treasury bonds).

But it is important to note the CBK offers various bonds throughout a year (for example, our Treasury occasionally offers tax-exempt infrastructure bonds) so you should regularly check CBK website for upcoming auctions if you want to become an investor.

Regarding returns, most treasury bonds have a fixed rate of return (the interest rate arrived at during the auction apply throughout the life of your bond).

For this reason, treasury bonds are one of the most predictable and stable sources of income in the long-term.

Who can invest in treasury bonds in Kenya?

Both individuals like you and corporate bodies are free to buy Treasury bonds in Kenya.

For individuals, there is one key advantage: you can invest directly via the CBK and avoid the additional transaction fees as long as hold a bank account with a licensed bank in Kenya.

Put simply, we recommend that you invest directly via the CBK when you are ready to bond the treasury bonds investment vehicle.

Requirements to invest in treasury bonds in Kenya for individuals

A CDS(Central Depository System) account is a must-have for you to trade in government securities such as Treasury bonds and Treasury bills.

This account simply helps you keep track of your investment portfolio.

How to open a CDS account in Kenya?

  1. Visit centralbank.go.ke . Once there, download the mandate card (Individual)
  2. Print the mandate card then fill out your information.
  3. Attach a recently-taken passport size photograph (coloured) plus a copy of your National ID Card/ Passport.

Note: These documents will need to be certified and stamped by your banker (Kenyan-based commercial bank so present them there first). Also, you need to have your completed CDS mandate card signed and certified by your bank (2 signatories are needed to sign in the given space).

  1. Scan the fully completed C.D.S mandate card then email it to ndo@centralbank.go.ke
  2. Send the physical documents and mandate card by post to the following address:

The Director (Financial Markets Department)

P.O. Box 60000 (00200), Nairobi, Kenya

Once your CDS account is opened, you will receive an email with your CDS account number. A formal notification letter will follow thereafter.

Alternatively:

Just walk into any CBK branch or CBK currency centres in Kenya (Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, or Meru, Nakuru, Nyeri) with the following documents:

  • National ID card (the original and a copy)/Alien certificate/valid passport
  • Recently-taken passport size photo (coloured)- the photograph must be duly certified and stamped by your bank on the back side to be accepted so pass through your bank.

Once there, you will be required to fill the CDS account specimen sign(signature) mandate card in block letters and wait 7 working days for the CDS account to be ready.

Remember that two signatories (from your bank) must also sign the card (to verify the details you’ve provided) so you may need to go back to your bank.

Once you complete everything, you will submit the completed card together with the documents to the officer at the CBK center(or agent).

More on opening a CDS account

Only Kenyans (including the diaspora community) holding a local (Kenyan-based) commercial bank account can apply for CDS accounts directly at the CBK.

Non-Kenyans (and Kenyans) without a local bank account can only invest in treasury bonds as nominees of an authorized CBK agent (commercial banks, investment banking institutions, and local stock brokers).

Side Note: For any questions about opening a CDS account, kindly call CBK on +254 20 2860000 or email ndo@centralbank.go.ke /applications@centralbank.go.ke.

How to make money with treasury bonds

You make money from the interest earned (and paid) every 6 months (and you can keep on rolling over the bond you purchase if you are not in need of cash at maturity).

As mentioned earlier, the actual interest rate (called the Coupon rate) is determined during the auction so you will know how much to expect every 6 months.

Follow these steps to start investing in treasury bonds in Kenya (assuming you already have a CDS account):

How to purchase Treasury bonds in Kenya

Here is how to buy Treasury bonds in Kenya (you can start with Kshs50,000 and you are allowed to add multiples of Kshs50000):

Check for the bonds on offer

CBK publishes the available Treasury bonds for sale on www.centralbank.go.ke/bills-bonds/treasury-bonds (go there for information such as offer size, rates, sale period, the issue method, auction date, etc.)

Download and complete the Treasury bond application form

Next, if happy with what you found, download the application form from www.centralbank.go.ke/forms/treasury-bonds-and-bills and fill it.

Here is some of the needed information:

  • Issue number
  • Your preferred maturity period
  • The face value (the amount you want to invest).
  • Roll over instructions (if you want to keep rolling the bond over instead of getting paid the face value amount at maturity).
  • Personal information such as name, contacts, CDS account number, and the rate.

Submit the completed Treasury bond application form

The completed application form for bidding for treasury bonds can be emailed to ndo@centralbank.go.ke  (or faxed to +254202863726 / 3666) – be sure to do that before the specified deadline.

Waiting for the auction results (remember many investors are bidding too)

This is the most important stage: your  bid will be accepted or rejected based on what others bid (factors such as the amounts, interest rates, etc. matter).

Don’t forget that the CBK through its auction management committee(AMC) will determine the cut-off interest rate after analyzing all the received bids on the auction day.

Now, the CBK will notify you through an email/SMS about the results of the auction process not long after the closure of the process.

If your bid happens to be among the lucky ones, then you proceed to make payments for the bond…

Paying for the Treasury bond

From the notification message, you get to know how much you need to pay for your Treasury bonds, when to pay and the reference number.

In most cases, payment is to be done by the next Monday (2 p.m.).

Payment can be done to CBK using a Cheque(maximum kshs.1 million) or through bank transfers (for larger amounts).

How to make money from Treasury bonds in Kenya – bonus tips

Bid for a longer period

This maturity period ranges from 1 to 30 years for treasury bonds (the longer it is the higher the interest associated).

Now, to maximize your returns, you can opt to buy multiple bonds for a longer time period!

Don’t cash out before maturity

Sometimes you may be tempted to redeem your bond before maturity.

However, it is not the best decision as the CBK typically buys bonds back at a lower rate to discourage pre-mature redemption.

Treasury bonds vs treasury bills

The main difference between treasury bills and bonds in Kenya is that treasury bills are short-term government securities (serves for periods less than 1 year) where as treasury bonds are long-term securities (from 1 to 30 yrs.)

Also, you never expect to earn interest on treasury bills. Rather, you only receive the initial discount calculated from your par value (amount you’ll receive when the bill matures).

How to Make Money from Treasury Bonds in Kenya –Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

How will I receive my money?

Payments are made at the time they are due to your bank account (the one you indicated in your mandate card).
Can I lose my money?

Nope- treasury bonds are 100% risk free since you are lending the government.

How much can I earn from treasury bonds in Kenya?

The answer is: It depends on the amount you invest (like all other investments, the more the investments, the higher the returns).

Example: If you invest Kshs50000 and the Coupon rate is 10% (it is calculated on your bond’s face value), you will earn kshs.2500 every 6 months (annually it’s kshs5000).

However, the interest is subject to 15% withholding tax at the time of writing this so  you will actually KShs. 2125 every 6 months.

That is why you should consider bidding a higher amount (it is the only way to earn more).

What is  the minimum amount to invest in treasury bonds in Kenya?

The minimum is Kshs.50000 as mentioned earlier.

Conclusion

You have just learned how to make money from Treasury bonds.

Remember that investing with the government comes with a number of advantages:

  • It is risk-free
  • You earn a steady income periodically.
  • The interest rate is generally higher than saving in commercial banks.

Give it a shot.

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