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MY WORST DAY: Election Violence Wiped Out Millions, But CEO Bounced Back

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Vitriol is always directed at news outlets when they report on the state of markets every time something significant but negative happens like a terrorist attack or in Kenya’s case the 2007 post-election violence (PEV).

The key question is always “Why are we fixated on money when a significant number of lives were lost?”

Well, the answer is simple, foreign investors account for 63.28% of total equity turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). So when mass violence or a terrorist attack happens, the foreign investors’ first instinct is to dump their stock. And if they all do it at the same time, that poses a significant threat to the country’s economy.

While this piece of news affects nearly everyone, what about the people who have a great interest in the performance of the stock market, what happens when the stock they move or they hold on behalf of their investors tanks overnight.

That was the predicament that Enwealth CEO Simon Wafubwa found himself grappling with in the aftermath of the chaotic 2007 elections.

By then, Enwealth did not exist but he was the head of schemes and the business development manager at Octagon Pension Services.

Widespread violence across the country set panic waves amongst investors with a majority of them cutting their losses amid the forecast that Kenya was on the precipice. That qualified as the Worst Day in his career thus far.

Taking Worst Day head-on

“That was a very sad day for us because we had to tell our clients exactly how the situation was without sugarcoating. Our next step after that was telling them the initiatives we were taking to make sure that we mitigated the effects of the ugly situation at the time,” Mr. Wafubwa told Business Today in an exclusive interview.

While a vast majority of the investors fled, Wafubwa said that those that stuck with his former employer reaped fat dividends of up to 27% after the country rose from the ashes following a peace deal brokered by the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that brought together Retired President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

MY WORST DAY >> Hotel Chain Owner Lost Sh50 Million in Two Hours

According to Wafubwa, a big part of that process entailed convincing the investors to stay on board despite common sense telling them otherwise.

“The employees played a big role because they were part of the stakeholders. They played a big part in helping our clients to be patient,” added Wafubwa.

The Enwealth CEO is currently managing a pension fund worth Ksh65 billion.

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