Zimele taps into ‘chamas’ with launch

Thursday, November 16th, 2023 02:35 | By
Capital Market Authority CEO Wycliffe Shamiah. PHOTO/Print
Capital Market Authority CEO Wycliffe Shamiah. PHOTO/Print

Zimele Asset Management has tapped into Kenya’s multi-billion “chama” sector through the launch of Zimele ChamaManager, a digital administrative platform that will offer members attractive investment returns.

The “chamas” opting to join the platform will pool their money in Zimele’s Unit Trust for the firm to plough the money in its portfolio of investment and assets including securities, bonds and stocks. Kenya’s “chama” movement is estimated to pack $3.4 million (Sh300 billion) in value.

Collective contributions

While Chamas involve collective contributions and financial activities, they lack the formal regulatory structure and oversight associated with collective investment schemes, a role Zimele Asset Management is expected to play.

Also known as micro-savings or investment clubs, they have many advantages, including lowering personal risks.

However, they often face challenges ranging from mistrust, lack of rules, poor leadership and mismanagement of funds, a process that will be available on the digital platform to give members greater control and transparency in administering their finances.

According to Zimele Asset Management Joint CEO) Isaac Njuguna, the platform comes with efficiency, flexibility, and transparency as all members of a chama will have access to the web-based platform.

“They will be able to access the chama’s account statement as well as their individual statements and will even get an alert anytime a transaction is initiated from the chama account,” Njuguna said during the launch that coincided with Zimele Asset Management’s 25th-anniversary. It was officiated by the Capital Market Authority CEO Wycliffe Shamiah (pictured).

Shamia noted that Zimele’s assets under management had grown by 220 per cent from Sh895 million in March 2018 to Sh2.9 billion as of September 2023, which was “proof of Zimele’s remarkable efforts and outstanding growth” over its silver jubilee anniversary.

Collectively, the regulator noted that Assets under management for collective investment schemes in the country have steadily grown by 265 per cent over the last six years from Sh56.6 million in March 2018 to Sh206.7 billion as of September 2023.

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