StanChart online money market fund hits Sh1bn

Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya last year spent Sh205.63 million on redundancies.

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Standard Chartered Bank Kenya's online money market fund has hit Sh1.25 billion in under a year, highlighting the growing popularity of savings products for customers seeking investments of as low as Sh100.

The product, called SC Shilingi Fund, was launched mid-February last year and has attracted over 10,000 customers who enrol with at least Sh500 and opt for daily, weekly, monthly or one-off contributions.

Paul Njoki, head of affluent banking and wealth management at StandardChart Kenya and East Africa, said 81 percent of all clients coming in are below the age of 40, with about 38 percent being below 30 years.

“We launched SC Shilingi in mid of February (last year). We now have a portfolio of Sh1.25 billion. We have in excess of 10,000 clients. Most clients are below the age of 40 and this is exciting to us,” said Mr Njoki in an interview with the Business Daily.

The bank partnered with investment manager, Sanlam Investments East Africa and global digital wealth technology provider Bambu to run the digital money market fund.

The Sanlam Unit Trust scheme has about Sh14.5 billion worth of assets under management in total.

The fund currently has an effective annual yield of 9.6 percent, indicating the kind of returns clients signing up through the SC Mobile platform are getting.

Money market funds mostly invest in short-term assets such as bank fixed deposit accounts and Treasury bills, making it possible for investors to access their money in a matter of days.

Such Funds are popular with savers or investors seeking to preserve capital or the ability to access their funds easily and with a return.

Insurers such as ICEA Lion and Britam have been in the lead in coming up with products that allow customers to ride on technology to make savings.

ICEA Lion Group, in 2021, launched an online platform, ICEA DigiTrust, to give retail investors access to the company’s money market fund at a lower minimum initial investment.

Investors require a minimum initial deposit of Sh500 and a top-up of as low as Sh20 compared with the initial product that had set a minimum initial size of investment at Sh10,000 and a minimum top-up of Sh2,000.

Britam Asset Managers and fintech startup KOA in June 2021 launched a digital money market Fund that allows customers to invest as little as Sh100.

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