MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited (MTN MoMo) and XENO Investment Management Limited (XENO) have officially announced a partnership giving millions of Ugandans access to a greater financial opportunity through goal-based investment services.
Mobile money operator, MTN MoMo, and the digital saving and investment fintech XENO, launched the product which is already supporting over 20,000 people to plan, save, and invest for any financial goal, from the ease of their mobile phone, whether they are on or offline. The partnership which offers savings and investment via USSD, also presents benefits for MTN MoMo subscribers like zero tariffs on deposits to and from XENO investment accounts and features like Auto-Save which will enable the set-up of scheduled automatic savings, from as low as UGX 10,000.
The uptake of people saving in Uganda is still low at only 21% as revealed in a recent survey by BOU, which is the case for most of Africa. Most Ugandans who choose to invest their savings opt for resource-intensive investments like farming or real estate that often have high upfront costs and require regular supervision.
With the XENO Investment product, MoMo subscribers can start investing in financial assets, such as equities, treasury bills and bonds, in the local and regional capital markets through XENO’s unit trusts. Participation in the capital markets has, until now, been constrained by high minimum investment amounts, steep costs of financial management services, the absence of digital solutions for offline, basic phone users and low levels of financial literacy.
The two companies believe this partnership will significantly further their joint mission of digital and financial inclusion for close to 10 million MTN MoMo subscribers. MoMo subscribers may sign up for the investment service as individuals or as a group and begin to build healthy saving and investment habits.
Speaking on the launch, XENO Founder and CEO, Aéko Ongodia, said “Through this partnership, XENO will help millions of MTN customers to take control of their personal finances by investing their savings so that they can confidently take care of any future obligations like emergencies, education, home, business startup capital, and most importantly retirement without relying on debt or goodwill from relatives.”
Michael Atingi-Ego, the Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor said: “This marriage has a lot of promise because it brings together a nationwide distribution network by the pathbreaking MTN Uganda and an innovative technology-driven approach to fund management by Xeno.
“It is not hard to see that this is a synergetic and scalable partnership. The chances of success for this partnership are high because it seeks to take financial services to diverse users wherever they are and to each at their level through convenient and ubiquitous cell phones. In addition, using USSD will facilitate the financial inclusion of clients at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”
He pointed out that there is need for extra vigilance due to cyber risks and hackers, reminding the audience that collective investment schemes are growing considerably, with assets under management nearly doubling from about UGX 567 billion at the end of March 2021 to about UGX 1.1 trillion at the end of March 2022 according data from the Capital Markets Authority – Uganda (CMA).
By dialing 1655*7#, MTN MoMo customers can routinely save and invest toward their financial goals, with no transaction costs incurred. As a licensed Fund Manager, XENO allocates customers’ savings across various low-risk financial assets that are suitable for achieving their desired financial goals. Customers can monitor the performance of the investment and track progress towards their goals.
The collaboration, which leverages MTN’s expertise in providing digital financial solutions for the underserved majority and XENO’s world-class technology in automated and personalized investment management, will support widespread ownership of investment accounts which Ugandans can easily deposit into, monitor, and withdraw.