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It must have been in 1996. Just about to turn 30, I was the Chief Accountant for a parastatal that was doing well enough to have some excess funds for investment. Part of my ritual then included talking to Mr. James Murigu, a senior manager at the then Suntra Stocks Ltd to deal for us in the company’s bids for Treasury Bills from the Central Bank of Kenya.

Then one day, out of the blue, Mr. Murigu took me up on the phone. “Thambu, you know you keep on sending me your company’s money to invest and none of your own.” I had a long laugh that he must have understood. How could he possibly crack such a joke knowing our company bids were in the order of tens of millions? But he was not daunted. He took time to explain to me that a cheque of Ksh. 5,000 was enough to start me on the road to being a shareholder in companies listed at the then Nairobi Stock Exchange (now Nairobi Securities Exchange) or simply the NSE. This caught my interest. A little more chat and we agreed that he would send me account opening forms with the next dispatch of company documents that he was sending to us. Many exchanges after given the analogue world then, I had an account opened with a stock broker, my first cheque of Ksh. 5,000 in and my initiation process into the world of stock exchanges had begun.

The process of buying and selling shares in that age is a story worth telling. Another day may be. Thanks to Mr. Murigu’s determination, I learnt the ropes and became regular with my monthly cheque. One needs little urging to put the heart where their treasure is. So I naturally found myself drawn to stories on the business pages of the newspaper I used to buy. The NSE price list instantly became interesting. Miniscule dividend cheques started flowing as did occasional bonus share issues. My market vocabulary grew.

Slightly more than twenty years since, I have kept present in that market. As late as last week, I was on phone with my dealer to confirm my latest order had been filled. And quite excited to know that it was, because I think it is a pretty adventurous one. I may not be #Sharp but I am not so dumb as to stick around if there hasn’t been some interesting times.

I have had an enjoyable and fruitful presence at the stock exchange because I got initiated. I am sure you would too. I am grateful that Mr. Murigu had the mind to nudge me on, as I am sure he did many others. It is now my turn to return the hand. A Ksh. 5,000 cheque can still pick you some well selected shares at the NSE. The process of account opening, trading and investment tracking is easier by many multiples from when some of us began. Make up your mind today that you want to learn what dealing in stocks is all about. There is no better way to do this than to put some teeth in the game. In following articles, we will discuss what it takes to get started. But if you are ready to take the plunge sooner, feel free to engage through your comments.

  1. job January 18, 2018 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Five thousand shillings is all it takes ???????

    And then what.

    • Palmer Thambu January 21, 2018 at 12:19 am Reply

      Thanks question Job. Technically yes, even less because shares are sold in multiples of 100, meaning you can buy as few as 100 shares of any company. With 3,000 bob for example you can buy your first 100 Safaricom shares. 4,600 bob will get you 100 KCB shares at current prices. In future articles, the need for a personal financial plan that helps one make a reasoned decision on how much of one’s income to dedicate to investments will be discussed. Kellie has also written a lot on this under Personal Finance on this blog,

  2. Qs. David Nahinga January 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm Reply


    This is a very encouraging piece. We need more people like Mr. Murigu and also stories from thise who have exited with real numbers.

    Looking firward to learning more about NSE and Investing.
    Thank you!

    • Palmer Thambu January 21, 2018 at 12:21 am Reply

      Thanks David. We will keep sharing. Your feedback will help us remain relevant. Please keep giving it to us.

  3. Symon January 19, 2018 at 9:45 pm Reply


    • Palmer Thambu January 21, 2018 at 12:22 am Reply

      Thanks Symon. Let’s walk together. And please keep talking to us.

  4. Erick January 19, 2018 at 11:04 pm Reply

    As we wait for the next article can I write you a cheque of 5k sir?

  5. Dennis January 20, 2018 at 9:41 am Reply

    Kindly help with recommending a good stock broker

  6. Palmer Thambu January 21, 2018 at 12:27 am Reply

    Hi Erick. Knowledge that is followed by goals, a plan and MASSIVE ACTION breeds success. Kudos for the action orientation. Let me know how you prefer to engage further – email or Tweeter DM – for directions to get you going.

  7. Palmer Thambu January 21, 2018 at 12:31 am Reply

    Hi Erick. Knowledge that is followed by goals, a plan and MASSIVE ACTION breeds success. Kudos for the action orientation. Let me know how you prefer to engage further – email or Twitter DM – for directions to get you going.

  8. Irene ogongo February 5, 2018 at 10:18 am Reply

    Hi, i would like to get started please. Reach me via email please.

  9. Christy February 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm Reply

    This is very interesting. I have been wanting to learn more on this, please share on where to go when one wants to open an account.

  10. Asaph February 7, 2018 at 12:39 am Reply

    I began with 3k. Some shares in KCB yrs ago. Ventured into Safcom later. And thus its been such a journey, looking at my portfolio growing, eve when I made mistakes!

    Thanks sir. Looking forward

  11. Hilda February 13, 2018 at 8:26 am Reply

    Good morning,Share on how to open an account.

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About the Author

I currently spend most of my time on the farm in Meru, where the animals on the start-up dairy project must designate me Chief Hugger. Before then, my professional life has been in accounting, finance, investment advisory, fund management and entrepreneurial development. I occasionally consult in strategic planning and financial management systems. I serve on a couple of Boards of companies, and an agent for Afrika Investment Bank.

I have had foot in some form of business or investment through out my earning life, beginning with a butchery ( farm friends must never know this!) operated with a cooperative loan, six months into my first job. The spectrum runs through NSE share holdings, a profitable online stint at Lusaka Stock Exchange, investment clubs, real estate and private equity.

I write because I see potential in people everywhere. And it often takes a little push to turn potential into motion. Follow me on Twitter ( @Renegade_Ke) for insights about development and finance.

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