Zimele Asset Management is a company wholly owned by Kenyans and licensed and regulated as a fund manager by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA).
The company commenced operations in August 1998 with the goal of pooling retail funds for investment in the financial markets. The name Zimele means “stand on your own feet” in Zulu and is based on the Zimele Trust Fund, a black economic empowerment fund that was founded by the late Steve Biko who was the leader of South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement during the apartheid era.
Investment opportunities in the financial markets were restricted to high-networth individuals and institutions given the high minimum entry requirements. Zimele’s mission was to democratize pooled investments by providing individuals with access to the financial markets at affordable entry levels but with returns similar to those enjoyed by preferential investors at the time.
The vehicle for pooling was the Zimele Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited which was the fund where individuals would join and invest collectively in the financial markets. Right from the beginning, the fund adopted the globally-approved governance structure of having a trustee, fund manager, and custodian as separate service providers.
Subsequently, the Zimele Equity Portfolio was launched in August 1998 and was the first of its kind to offer individuals access to local listed equity investments at an entry-level of ksh.5,000. It was followed by the Zimele Money Market Portfolio in early 2000 and the Zimele offshore Portfolio in late 2001.
The company was granted a fund manager’s license by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in 2005 which led to the transition of the Zimele Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited into the Zimele Unit Trust Scheme in early 2007. This was quickly followed by the approval from the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) in March 2007 to operate the Zimele Personal Pension Scheme on a similar philosophy of taking retirement savings to the mass market.
We acknowledge and appreciate our founders’ pioneering spirit. They cleared the ground and charted a path that has proven to be conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. It is on this path that the journey continues to make savings, investing, and retirement planning affordable and accessible to all aspiring Kenyans.