This guide is for intrepid investors who are wondering how to invest in Morocco and its capital markets. Curious about investing in other frontier markets? Check out a list of our guides here.
This guide has been updated: HERE
Investing in Morocco
Morocco is known mostly as a tourist destination in North Africa, but it’s capital markets are very sophisticated for a frontier market economy. After falling in 2015, the Moroccan All Shares Index has been one of the best performing frontier market equity indices this year, and is up over 12% in local currency terms YTD.
The market is dominated by financial stocks, but it’s largest company is actually Maroc Telecom, which is worth about 20% of the market. Three banks (Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE Bank, and BCP) round out the top 4 largest companies on the exchange, worth about 30% of the market combined. This makes for a very top heavy market; the top 4 stocks make up over 50% of the market, and only 20 (out of 74) companies are worth more than 1% of the total market capitalization of the exchange.
Casablanca Stock Exchange Snapshot:
In operation since: 1929
Location: Casablanca, Morocco
Market hours: 9:00 pre-open, 9:30 market open, 15:30 market close, 15:40 end of last trading session
Currency: Dirham (MAD)
Market Capitalization (as of 20 May 2016): $51.5 billion USD
Listed companies (as of 20 May 2016): 74 listed equities
Taxes & Fees: No capital gains tax, 10% dividends tax, 0.35% – 0.60% brokerage fee charged by the exchange depending on volume
Settlement: 3 business days
Main Index: MASI (Moroccan All Shares Index) Free Float Index, comprising all the shares listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange
Secondary Index: MADEX (Moroccan Most Active Shares Index), composition of stocks found here.
Can foreigners invest in Morocco?
Yes, non-resident foreign individuals are allowed to invest in Morocco, as most brokerage firms with instructions on how to open accounts take into consideration non-residents of Morocco.
How to Invest in Morocco’s Casablanca Stock Exchange:
Step #1: Find a brokerage firm
Trading on the Casablanca exchange requires opening an account with an intermediary, mainly in the form of brokerage firms.
There are currently 17 brokerage firms listed on the official Casablanca SE website, which can be found here.
Unless you understand French, you will want to find one of the brokerages that have an English website. You’ll also want to find one that is focused more on retail customers rather than institutional clients. For example, Attijari Intermediation has the highest market share/biggest volumes executed on the exchange, but are focused on institutional clients, so unless you are a High Wealth Individual (and willing to put in enough to qualify you for that distinction in Morocco), they are probably not the right broker.
We’ve gone through all the brokers for you, and with the help of Google Translate have a handy table here:
|Brokerage Firm||English Website?||For Retail Customers?|
|Alima Finance Group||Y||N|
|Atlas Capital||Y||Not really|
|Attijari Intermediation||Y||Not really|
|BMCE Capital Bourse||N||Y|
|Capital Trust Securities||N||N|
|CDG Capital Bourse||N||Y|
|Credit Du Maroc Capital||N||Y|
|ICF Al Wassit||N||Y|
|Maroc Services Intermediation||N||N|
The tricky part is that most firms that help retail customers only have French websites, while the firms with English websites are mostly for institutional clients. Another issue is that many of the firms that cater to retail clients are just big banks which happen to offer brokerage services, but may require you to have an existing bank account with them.
In the end, we found 4 brokerage firms that catered to retail clients and mentioned account opening processes for non-resident foreigners. They were:
- BMCE Capital Bourse
- CDG Capital Bourse
- Upline Securities
- Wafa Bourse
Upline Securities is the only one with an English website, but for online-trading they actually refer you to ICF Al Wassit, which turns out to be a subsidiary of theirs. That site is entirely in French. At least Google Translate seems to be getting better..
Step #2: Fill out application forms and send required documents
From checking out the account opening processes with those 4 brokers, the application process seems to be quite straight forward. For non-resident foreigners, you will need the following documents:
- Application form
- Voided check from your bank account
- Address proof (usually a utility bill)
The language barrier is real when trying to open an investment account in Morocco, but the technological infrastructure is quite impressive for a frontier market economy. If you have already gone through the process and are invested in the Casablanca Stock Exchange, let us know how it’s been in the comments!