Kenya's Standard Investment Bank (SIB) is now offering investors in the region alternative investment options in gold, oil, gas, foreign currencies, global indices such as S&P 500 and global stocks such as Facebook, Apple and General Electric with as little as Ksh10,000 ($100). This is a shift from the underperforming stock and corporate bond markets in the region.
SIB has established a multi-asset strategy fund dubbed "Mansa X" that offers regional retail and high net-worth investors access to a wide range of global investment products. These products include commodities such as gold, silver platinum, oil, gas and coffee, foreign currencies such as the dollar, British pound, Japanese yen and Australian dollar, global stock indices such as Japanese Nikkei, American S & P500, FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40.
Investors will also get to invest in global stocks such as Netflix, Apple Corps Ltd, Facebook Inc. Microsoft and General Electric.
"We have seen a lot of interest both from the retail and high net-worth investors," said Nahashon Mungai, SIB executive director and head of global markets.
SIB is expanding its product range to target investors in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. So far, the firm - headquartered in Nairobi - has deployed agents in Uganda and Tanzania and has set minimum investments for small and retail investors to a low of Ksh10,000 ($100) and Ksh250,000 ($2,500) for high net worth investors. "We are working closely with agents in these countries and we are still in talks to have agents in Rwanda and even South Africa," said Mr Mungai.
The reduction in the minimum investment amounts is meant to allow small and individual investors to pool their resources in order to participate in the global financial markets through an electronic platform.
The "Mansa X" fund is regulated by the Kenya Capital Markets Authority through the Online Forex Trading Regulations (2017).
For the past nine months, the fund has generated 22.09 per cent worth of returns to investors, according to the performance report released by SIB last week. While investment in foreign exchange market carries a lot of risk the firm said its emphasis is on risk management with drawdown not exceeding 10 per cent of the value of the fund.
Globally, forex market is estimated to be a $5 trillion industry providing a lucrative investment option for the operators.