Diversify your portfolio with CFDs on ETFs: A guide for Kenyan investors

Monday May 27 2024

Selection of the most appropriate ETFs to trade CFDs on is a serious process with ample care and consideration. PHOTO | COURTESY

By HF Markets

Diversification forms the very essence of managing risk and optimising the dynamic world of investing. For Kenyan investors, a combination of Contracts for Difference (CFDS) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a portfolio is an unorthodox but very effective way through which this practice can be realised.

This guide looks at all that it is about, the benefits, and trading strategies that will see Kenyan investors through in trading CFDs on ETFs in Kenya for the promise that comes with this investment class.

Understanding CFDs and ETFs: A primer for East African investors

CFDs are a financial derivative tool that allows dealing with market speculation on numerous assets: shares, indices, commodities, and certain currencies. When trading CFDs, investors mean to exchange the difference between the opening and closing prices of an asset.

They make it possible for an investor to benefit from both rising and falling markets without owning the real asset.

ETFs are investment funds; they trade on a stock exchange like stocks. They may represent an undivided interest in a pool of diversified assets that allows investors to have broad exposure to the market with the ease of trading equities. ETFS can trace indices, sectors, and commodities.


But, for the Kenyan entrepreneur or investor, it's important to understand the basics of these instruments because they marry leverage and flexibility that come with CFDs and the benefits of diversification through ETFs. One can be able to build a very strong and dynamic portfolio.

Benefits of trading CFDs on ETFs in Kenya

Trading in ETF CFDs has several advantages, particularly for the Kenyan investor interested in diversifying his portfolio.

One of the advantages of CFDs is leverage. With a relatively small initial investment, an investor can control a much larger position.

Leverage enhances potential profits, but at the same time, it increases potential risk.

Then, one is, therefore, able to profit both from rising markets as well as from falling ones: if an investor believes in the upcoming downfall in a certain sector represented by the ETF, he can go short on the ETF using a CFD trading instrument and make a profit with a price drop.

The wide variety of ETFs allows Kenyan investors to avail a diversified portfolio. Whether someone is concerned with emerging markets, specific sectors such as technology or health care, or indices of stable economies, then the same ETFs are available for investment diversification to spread risk across different classes of assets and regions, thereby enhancing portfolio stability.

Choosing the right ETFs for your portfolio

Selection of the most appropriate ETFs to trade CFDs on is a serious process with ample care and consideration. Kenyan investors must base their choices on investment goals, risk tolerance, and market outlook.

ETFs on emerging markets, in particular, can be appealing due to the growth potential of these regions. Some ETFs that track African indices or sectors like telecommunications and natural resources might be exposing the investor to the upside.

Investors should also assess the liquidity of an ETF before they make investments. Liquidity will typically lead to a reduction in bid-ask spreads and, hence, lower transaction costs for the investor who is taking up such an opportunity. Investors will also be required to look at what it will cost them to buy into an ETF in terms of expense ratios, as low costs will contribute to better long-term returns.

Risk management strategies for CFD trading

CFD trading with securities that are ETFs requires risk management. Leverage associated with CFDs tends to make even the smallest of market movements reflect large losses or gains. Get all the needed tools in a bid to be effective in managing the risks, such as a stop order.

Another key strategy is diversification. Investing in several ETFs implies investing in many classes of assets that reduce the effect of underperformance by any one asset on the total return of a Kenyan investor's overall basket. The spreading can happen along the sectors, regions, and types of assets.

Besides, investors need to equally keep in pace with market trends and economic indicators. Regular news update analyses of the markets and reviews of economic reports supplement the investors with more information about when it is appropriate to trade, hence predicting market movements likely to take place.

Navigating regulatory and market conditions in Kenya

Kenyan investors need to notice the regulatory environment and market conditions that influence their investment activities. The capital markets authority of Kenya has the responsibility to supervise the securities market to operate in the field, orderly, ensure that it's equitable and remains that way, and protect the public from unfair–biased, or fraudulent practices related to regulation. This regulatory requirement ensures that trade is legal and secure.

Factors like inflation rates, fluctuations in foreign exchange, and to a greater extent the political stability of regions will always affect market performance. 

For example, a stable political environment characterised by good economic policy would most likely breed market confidence and growth, while political strife or economic malaise could have exactly the opposite effect, leading to market volatility.

Kenyan investors will make better-informed decisions in trading CFDs based on ETFs, being cognizant and abreast of trends from across the world, and economic developments at a regional level.

Final thoughts

CFD trading on ETFs will be transformational for Kenyan portfolios because of the leverage, flexibility, and broad market exposure that the choice of ETFs provides through robust risk management mechanisms.

Safely and efficiently navigating your way through the dynamic investment landscape will depend on the approach taken by investors when selecting the right ETFs, putting in place strong risk management strategies, and keeping an eye on regulatory and market conditions.

With the financial markets increasingly changing, CFDs on ETFs are offering the most compelling opportunity for Kenyan investors to systematically diversify and build their returns.