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Top Money Market Funds to Join in Kenya

Last updated 28/08/2023

 

When making your financial goals, what are your investment plans? There are several investment opportunities in Kenya, whether you have a short-term or a long-term investment horizon. In short, as long as you have a goal to invest whatever amount you have, you will not run short of investment opportunities.

 

I have seen a couple of inquiries on money market funds on social media accounts of late, which is a good thing. It is great that many of us are thinking about investing and securing a healthy financial life.

 

But where you invest your money is what matters, including the investment firm and the assets you use to build your investment portfolio. Today, though, we will look at money market funds.

 

I did a feature on what to consider when looking for money market funds to invest in, and today, I will list some of the top money market funds available in Kenya.

 

Advantages of Investing in Money Market Funds

1. Building an Emergency Fund

Do you have an emergency fund, one that can cater to your monthly expenses if things go haywire? Or one that cushions you from debts when you need quick access to money for whatever reason? Remember, the rule of thumb is to have about 6 months of your expenses in an emergency fund (I am making this 12 months for maximum protection).

 

We have talked about building an emergency fund before, and if you have not gotten into it for whatever reason, you better start doing it now. But that’s not the topic today. Today it is all about where that emergency fund should be sitting. Your money should always work for you, meaning your emergency fund should be sitting in a high-yield account, not a current bank account.

 

Yes, the money is more accessible in a current bank account than in an MMF, where you have to wait for a day or more to get your money.

 

But I think the waiting period allows you to weigh whether the money is worth waiting for or if you can forego whatever expense you need to cater to. If you have to forgo that expense, it means it wasn’t probably an emergency, and you can do with that service or product. Money saved!

 

I digress. The point is the money in money market funds will earn you more interest and probably fewer costs compared to a bank’s current account. With the average market interest of 8% to 11% net, that’s not bad.

 

Learn more in a related post: Building an Emergency Fund and Why It’s Important

 

2. Short Term Goals

Like saving for school fees, vacations, or weddings, short-term goals require saving in a highly liquid account. As much as banks offer this, the money rarely earns much interest unless you are using a fixed deposit account.

 

Even then, the interest rate earned in a bank’s fixed or call deposit account is much lower than what you would earn from money market funds.

 

3. High Liquidity 

Money market funds invest in short-term assets, like treasury bills and bank deposits. These have maturities of less than a year, making them liquid compared to long-term securities like bonds. It allows the investors to buy these assets with much ease than long-term securities, making it easy for investment firms to pay principal and accrued interest within a short period.

 

Disadvantages of Investing in Money Market Funds

1. Purchasing Power 

Your purchasing power might reduce, especially if the inflation rate is high. If the country’s inflation rate is at 5% and you have a net return of 4%, it beats the purpose of parking your money in an MMF. You are basically losing your purchasing power, and that invested money will be worth less than it was when you invested it.

 

2. High Expenses

Some money market funds have high expenses in terms of management fees and transfer charges or fees when you withdraw your money. The higher these expenses, the lower your net return. If a money market fund offers you a return of 9%, check out whether it is a net return, which is less the WHT and management fee.

 

The next step is to consider the transfer charges or withdrawal fees and how they affect the amount you end up with in your pocket when you liquidate your account.

 

Learn more in a related post: How to Choose an Investment Company

 

Top Money Market Funds to Invest With In Kenya

1. Zimele Money Market Fund

Also referred to as the Savings Plan is one of the investment avenues under the Zimele Unit Trust Scheme. It has one of the lowest initial investments and top-up amounts. Also, Zimele Asset Management has been in the industry for over 20 years now. 

 

The minimum deposit is Kshs. 100.00, with easy access to your investment statement through their online platform. There is no minimum required balance, and you can easily top up or withdraw via Mpesa or your bank account. 

 

You can also withdraw all of your investment amount plus the earned interest or make a partial withdrawal. Your principal amount is also not subject to market fluctuations. Other important features: 

  • Minimum initial amount – Kshs. 100.00
  • Minimum subsequent investment amount – Kshs. 100.00
  • Average annual return – 9.56% per annum (varies) 
  • Annual management fee – 2.0%
  • Withdrawal waiting period – within 24 hours to 2 working days, depending on payment mode

 

2. Sanlam Money Market Fund 

Also referred to as Sanlam Pesa+, it is an investment vehicle from Sanlam Investments East Africa, formerly known as Pinebridge Investments. The fund offers an investment avenue for individuals, corporate organizations, and joint investors like Chama’s who need a short-term investment opportunity of 1 to 12 months. You can make a one-off investment or have regular top-ups. 

 

There is a capital guarantee for your initial investment. The fund invests in fixed deposits, near-cash holdings, and high-quality interest-bearing assets in the Kenyan market. According to the company’s site and risk rating scale, it has a low-risk rating, with a portfolio size of Kshs. 6.2 billion. 

 

A pro of this money market fund is that it has one of the lowest management fees of others in the market or on this list. The higher the management fees, the lower your net returns from the investment. But it also has a high initial investment amount compared to others. 

 

You can deposit your payments via Mpesa or a bank account. While you are allowed to withdraw your money at any time, only one withdrawal is free per month. Other withdrawals in the same month attract a fee of Kshs. 500.00. Other important features: 

  • Minimum initial amount – Kshs. 2,500.00
  • Minimum subsequent investment amount – Kshs. 1,000.00
  • Average annual return – 9.58% (as per the December 2022 Sanlam report) compounded daily.
  • Annual management fee – 1.2% (calculated as a percentage of the asset value)
  • Withdrawal waiting period – About 3 working days 

 

3. Britam Money Market Fund

Britam Holdings has a long history in the financial services industry, with Britam Asset Managers offering various investing options since 2006. One of its products is the Money Market Fund, which invests in highly liquid short-term assets with less than 12 months of maturity, like government securities, bank deposits, and commercial papers. The money market fund investment is available for individuals, groups (chamas’s), and corporates, with a guarantee of your principal amount. 

 

Signing up is easy through the App or an SSD code *778#, after which you can access your customer account via the App or the online portal. The App is available on AppStore and Google Playstore. This allows you to keep track of your investment from different digital platforms. You also receive monthly reports of your statement and a report of your investments every time you top up your account (based on my experience).  

 

I use the Britam Money Market Fund, and what I have noted is that there is a restriction to how many times you can withdraw at any given month. You are allowed only one free withdrawal per month, with any extra withdrawals attracting extra charges of Kshs. 750.00 per transaction. Which is right since it deters you from pinching into your investments every time you need money. 

 

Also, while there is a free withdrawal every month, it is not so free. The fund charges you a Fund Transfer Charge. I tried withdrawing different amounts via Mpesa, Kshs. 1,000.00, Kshs. 2,000.00, and Kshs. 10,000.00, and the transfer charge seemed fixed at Kshs. 72.00. The minimum withdrawal amount is also capped at Kshs. 1,000.00. Other important features:

  • No initial fee
  • Minimum initial amount – Kshs. 1,000.00
  • Minimum subsequent investment amount – Kshs. 1,000.00
  • Average annual return – 8% to 10% (varies) compounded daily 
  • Annual management fee – 1.5%
  • Withdrawal waiting period – within 48 hours

 

If you settle for the Britam Money Market Fund, I’d like to caution you against letting your account stay idle for several months. At least ensure you have regular top-ups or withdrawals to keep it active. This will help avoid having your account flagged for KYC processes because they are trying to ensure someone else not trying to steal your savings. Which is a good thing. But why am I complaining? Because I’d have loved to know this beforehand. That the KYC process for unlocking the account to enable withdrawals was very manual when I went through it. And, I have gone for months without topping up or withdrawing funds from my Genghis MMF, and I’ve never had to go through what Britam took me through.

 

Here’s a story….

 

It’s mid-2023 and a few years after getting the Britam Money Market Fund. My major complaint is the high bureaucratic processes that beat the purpose of having an MMF for emergency purposes. First, let me start by stating that I’d stopped putting money into this account for a while due to personal reasons. But sometime toward the end of 2022, I started saving in this account to save money for my 2023 insurance premiums. I love the fact that I could easily top up via the portal or App, which are very seamless with push notifications from Mpesa and my debit card. Since my top-ups were going through, and I was receiving notifications of this, I assumed the account was definitely active. Until it was time to withdraw, and all I could receive were notifications that my account had been canceled. The agent I was using, and the Britam customer care were giving me different reasons for this hiccup. But the worst of it all was that to sort it all out, I had to visit a physical branch. I live upcountry in a very inaccessible area, where the closest branch is almost 3 – 4 hours away. Quite a hassle! While I finally had this sorted, it has honestly made me rethink how I will use this account going forward.

 

4. CIC Money Market Fund

It is a conservative investment fund under CIC Asset Management. While the CIC money market fund offers low-risk investors an opportunity to preserve their capital and earn a low-risk return, it has one of the largest initial investment amounts.  

 

One can access their customer account via the App or online portal. Both options allow you to view your statement, withdraw funds, top-up investment amounts, or switch to a different fund. Top-ups are possible through Mpesa or bank transfer at any given time. There is also a monthly update where you receive your statement within 5 working days of every month. 

 

While withdrawing from your investment is possible at any time, the first withdrawal is free, with subsequent withdrawals in the same month attracting a fee of Kshs. 1,000.00. To withdraw, you can do it through the App, online portal, or by sending an email. Other important features:

  • No initial fee
  • Minimum initial amount – Kshs. 5,000.00
  • Minimum subsequent investment amount – Kshs. 1,000.00
  • Average annual return – 8.71% (varies, as of January 2023 fact sheet) compounded daily. 
  • Annual management fee – 2.0%
  • Withdrawal waiting period – within 2 to 4 working days

 

5. Genghis Capital Money Market Fund 

The money market fund for Genghis Capital is also referred to as GenCap Hela Imara, launched in June 2017. While the MMF is fairly new, the Genghis Capital Unit Trust Fund that houses the MMF is approved by the CMA and was launched in 2011.

 

There is an app, G-Kuze, available on Android and iOS platforms. You can access your customer account from the App and generate your statements. Statements are also sent every month by the 5th day of the month. Tops-ups are also easy through Mpesa or bank transfers. Other important features:

  • No initial fee
  • Minimum initial amount – Kshs. 500.00
  • Minimum subsequent investment amount – Kshs. 500.00
  • Average annual return – 11.27% net (varies) compounded daily  – based on the Aug 2023 Fund Fact Sheet
  • Annual management fee – 2.0% (funded by the investment return, not the principal amount) 
  • Withdrawal waiting period – within 2 to 4 working days

 

*This is an update made in Jan 2023. The G-Kuze App is no longer available on iOS. It’s available on Android, but I have found it troubling, and available for the better part of 2023. The Website was also mostly unavailable in 2022. Having said that, the USSD code access has always been working, so I am always able to see my balance and withdraw. Plus, their social media pages are always active with daily updates on the fund’s performance. That’s probably the only comfort that has kept me using them. 

 

These are just a few of the money market funds in Kenya, but they are highly recommended. The returns are high, but your overall net return will depend on the fund’s management fees and other transfer charges. But you can always shop around and look for one that suits you.

 

I would advise you to get all that information from a fund before you start investing. If possible, get a financial advisor from the firm you are interested in, who can also guide you on other investment options the firm might have to help you achieve your investment goals. Plus, a financial advisor comes in handy when you have issues with your investment account.

DISCLOSURE: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO MY READERS IS GENUINE AND PRECISE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE. THE LINKS PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE DO NOT BELONG TO ANY AFFILIATE PARTNERS AND I AM NOT PAID FOR THEM. THE ARTICLE OFFERS GENERAL INFORMATION AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OR HELP THAT CATERS TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL GOALS. KINDLY SEEK HELP AND ADVICE FROM YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR FOR PERSONALISED ADVICE AND HELP. ANY ACTION TAKEN BASED ON THIS INFORMATION IS AT YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY AND RISK.

Comments:

  • Peter

    February 22, 2021

    What’s the minimum investment one can do with Britam mmf? Peter . Mail kisili.mutie43@gmail.com

    reply...
  • Mary tThuku

    June 5, 2021

    Very helpful this information

    reply...
  • June 28, 2021

    Thanks for this, it has been very helpful. I love your work, the professional aspect of providing detailed, accurate and well summarized information with key points of interest

    reply...
  • Dan

    August 11, 2021

    i am new to investments. would you recommend one to start investments in MMF?

    reply...
  • Consolata Wambugu

    September 22, 2021

    Hi Enid,
    How does increasing one’s pension contributions reduce on tax liability? Please advise. Thanks. Conso

    reply...
  • Amos

    December 29, 2021

    As an beginner into investment, I found your blog well summarized and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing ☺️ btw what word-press them are you using?

    reply...
  • Mercy

    January 18, 2023

    This post was so insightful. Thank you for sharing the info. I have a question though: For Sanlam, you said the management fee is a percentage of the asset value, while for Genghis, it is a percentage of the investment returns. Are they different? Does this mean overall, Genghis will charge less than Sanlam? I’m looking into joining MMFs and would appreciate all the help I could get.

    reply...

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