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Financial Services

The banking and financial service industries in Kenya are well developed and have enjoyed exponential growth alongside the country’s booming economy. 

According to the World Bank, Kenya’s financial sector is the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, making a significant contribution to economic growth and job creation. The government’s Vision 2030 identifies access to finance as critical to enhancing the prospects for growth, regional competitiveness and shared prosperity. 

Our lawyers advise some of the largest financial services companies and institutions on both their day-to-day operations and wider strategic objectives. We help our clients contend with legal issues in banking, including restructurings and regulatory demands. 

Our clients include: asset managers, capital markets and their participants, investment banks, national regulators, private banks, private equity firms, professional services organizations engaged principally in financial services and retail banks. In addition, we regularly work with retail intermediaries on the legal issues involved in the selling of financial services to consumers.

Experience has included advising:

  • OPIC jointly with DLA Piper in connection with facilities to be granted to Acorn Holdings Limited, which is a leading real estate developer in Kenya for financing 10 mixed-use development projects
  • Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited in a transaction involving real estate financing
  • A top-tier commercial bank in Kenya in the financing of a used aircraft, which required a high degree of due diligence over the aircraft and security documentation proceedings
  • East African Breweries Limited as Kenyan counsel advising the borrower as to Kenyan law facilities in connection with the financing of the construction of its new brewery in Kisumu
  • Advising Radiant Energy Limited on the financing of two 40 MW solar power projects
  • Advising CDC Group Plc, the lenders, on the financing of a 40 MW solar project in Malindi
  • Ranked Tier 1 in Finance & Corporate (IFLR1000 2020)
  • Ranked Band 1 in Banking & Finance (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • Ranked Tier 1 in Banking & Finance (The Legal 500 2019)
  • Ranked Tier 1 in Finance & Corporate (IFLR1000 2019)

Shareholder primacy key to avoiding COVID-19 financial land mines

Shareholder primacy requires that the Board of any Company must act in the best interests of its shareholders. Under the concept, the shareholder is placed at the centre of the company’s corporate governance structure. The interests of other stakeholders such as the consumers, employees and the external society are largely regarded as secondary to the interests of the shareholders.

Resuscitating viable firms as pandemic wreaks havoc

As the global pandemic continues to wreak havoc on economies and businesses, an inevitable succession of profit warnings and bankruptcy notices have peppered the news reports. In the US, we have seen household names such as JCPenney and Hertz filing for bankruptcy under the infamous Chapter 11 provisions. And in the UK, behemoth retailer brands such as Debenhams and the Arcadia group have been severely hit and are undergoing surgical procedures, including deep headcount cuts.

The Tax Laws Amendment Act, 2020

The President of Kenya, through a public address on 25th March 2020 announced several income tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) interventions that are aimed at cushioning Kenyans from the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and its impact on loans and real estate arrangements in Kenya

In the wake of the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the real estate and loan markets in Kenya are bound to be affected. On 16 March 2020, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya revealed that three (and now 25) patients had tested positive for the virus culminating in presidential directives towards preventing its spread to the rest of the population

Private equity in East Africa

Private equity is a type of investment class that involves the purchase of interests in private companies. While some investors may opt to purchase shares in publicly-traded companies such as those listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, private equity investors instead focus on acquiring controlling stakes in private companies, often referred to as "portfolio companies."