A Central Depository System (CDS) account is an electronic account that carries your shares and bonds. It controls the process of transferring shares traded at the Stock Exchange, e.g. the Nairobi Stock exchange (NSE). Prospective investors hoping to buy or trade in any Kenya Government securities and bonds are needed to open a CDS account with the Central Bank of Kenya. A CDS account serves as the investor’s securities holding and trading account. 

Investors may decide to open the CDS accounts straight with the Central Bank of Kenya or simply open a client account through an official agent, which includes stock brokers, commercial banks, investments banks and investment advisors. It should nonetheless be noted that no fee is charged for creating and maintenance of the CDS accounts created directly at the Central Bank of Kenya. In addition, CDS accounts may be opened in the names of individual investors or corporate entities.

Opening a CDS account

To open a CDS account in Kenya, you can use the options listed below.

a. Through the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)

  1. Visit any Central Bank of Kenya branch of your choice.
  2. Ask for a CDS accounts opening specimen signature mandate card from the CBK officer or agent.
  3. Fill the card in block letters, nicely and clearly in that;
  • Don’t make any alternations or errors on the card.
  • Don’t fold or deform the card.
  • Names must be written in the order in which they appear on the identification document like national ID.
  1. Return the duly filled card to the CBK official or agent
  2. Sign the given card in the presence of a designated CBK officer or any licensed agent
  3. Submit the card with the following;
  • One recent coloured passport size photo of the account holder. The photograph must not be pinned or glued to the card.
  • The photograph’s reverse side must be approved by your bankers and stamped.
  • The original and clear copy of your National ID/valid Passport/Alien Certificate for verification
  1. Go with two signatories from your select bank or financial institution who must sign and then stamp the card on the space given, confirming your specimen signature and also bank account details.
  2. The CBK official or agent will then verify the documents and certify the photo on the reverse side.
  3. You will wait for up to 7 working days before you get your CDS account.
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b. Through a proxy or third party

You can likewise opt to open a CDS account through a licensed stock broker, commercial bank or an investment bank. Go with the necessary documentation and also proof of identity. They will direct you through the process, and you may be needed to pay a monthly maintenance fee of about Ksh 100. You will generally have to wait about 7 working days to get your CDS account. But its crucial to note that the party you approach for CDS account opening must be listed and authorised by the Central Bank of Kenya and recognized by the Capital Markets Authority.

c. People living in the diaspora

  1. Go to the official Central Bank of Kenya website.
  2. Choose an individual or corporate form.
  3. Print the mandate card
  4. Fill in your details.
  5. Attach the following;
  • A recent coloured passport photo
  • A copy of your National ID or your passport
  1. Your local commercial bank will confirm your details and specimen signature and approve your CDS mandate card.
  2. Scan the affirmed copy and send it to ndo@centralbank.go.ke
  3. Send the physical declaration and attachments by post to The Director’s address, Financial Markets Department, P.O. Box 60000-00200, Nairobi, Kenya.
  4. Wait for verification of the opening of the CDS account via email (which you supplied in your mandate card)
  5. After this step, a notification letter will be sent to you to substantiate your CDS account.