7 Best Money Market Funds in Kenya - 2023

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Money market funds (MMFs) are a popular investment option in Kenya for a reason. They offer many benefits, including liquidity, safety, and the potential to generate income. 

However, with so many MMFs available on the market, there is one main challenge that most investors face: how to select the best one.

This article will help you do that. We’ll take you through the key factors to consider when choosing a money market fund, and then we’ll highlight some of the best MMFs in Kenya.

But before we get into all that, here’s what you need to know.

What is a Money Market Fund?

Money market funds are a type of investment that pools money from investors and invests it in short-term, low-risk debt securities such as Treasury Bills and commercial paper.

These investments are known for their short maturity period, ranging from one month to one year, and they’re also considered very safe, given that they invest in low-risk options.

Because of this, MMFs are favored by short-term investors as a parking place for savings and emergency funds since the money is both safe and highly liquid, meaning that it can be accessed on short notice.

But what makes MMFs attractive to investors is their ability to generate income.

While traditional savings accounts offer interest rates between 1% to 7%, money market funds routinely yield over 10% interest. They typically pay out a dividend every month, which can be a valuable source of income for investors.

This unique combination of safety, fast access, and income has made MMFs increasingly popular in Kenya.

What to consider before investing in an MMF in Kenya

What would make one MMF better than any other? Here are six things to look out for when selecting an ideal fund:

  1. Fund performance - this refers to the MMF’s returns as measured by the interest rate and dividend it pays to its investors.
  2. The minimum investment required - some funds allow for initial investments as low as 500, while others restrict it to amounts as high as 100,000. 
  3. Minimum top-up amount - this is the subsequent amount you’re allowed to add after the initial investment. Most MMFs allow top-ups in increments of 1000 although it may be lower or higher, depending on the company.
  4. Management fees - this refers to the cost of investing in an MMF, which goes to the financial professionals who manage the fund’s portfolio of investments.
  5. Ease of withdrawal and cash access - ideally, a good MMF allows you to access your funds easily without extended wait periods or penalties. Some MMFs allow same-day withdrawals through M-Pesa while others take up to 3 or more days.
  6. CMA approval - the Capital Markets Authority is the government body charged with regulating all MMFs in Kenya. All legitimate funds must be registered with this body.

Now that we know what to look for when selecting an ideal MMF, here’s a list of the best funds in Kenya.

Top 7 Money Market Funds in Kenya - 2023

FUND NAME

Performance %

MIN. INVESTMENT

MIN. TOP-UP

Cytonn Money Market Fund

11.9 

Ksh. 1,000

Ksh. 1,000

Apollo Money Market Fund

10.92

Ksh. 1,000

Ksh. 1,000

Madison Money Market Fund

10.37

Ksh. 5,000

Ksh. 1,000

Sanlam Money Market Fund

9.68

Ksh. 2,500

Ksh. 1,000

Zimele Money Market Fund

9.56

Ksh. 100

Ksh. 100

Nabo Africa Money Market Fund

9.55

Ksh. 100,000

Ksh. 10,000

CIC Money Market Fund

9.0

Ksh. 5,000

Ksh. 1,000

1. Cytonn Money Market Fund

Performance: 11.9%

Min. Investment: 1,000

Min. Top-up: 1,000

Withdrawals: processed via MPESA on the day of request

Cytonn has consistently been one of the top-performing money market funds in Kenya. It invests mainly in short-term debt securities and so it is ideal for investors with a low-risk appetite, who are looking for stability and security of capital invested.

One of the main advantages of this fund is that it charges no entry fees, and interest earned on investments is compounded daily. This makes it easy for investors to join and start enjoying good returns with a minimum investment and no additional costs.

They also have an online portal that gives investors direct access to their accounts, where you can monitor your investment progress. Furthermore, withdrawals are processed swiftly, making this fund ideal for parking emergency savings since the money is readily available.

Other features of the Cytonn MMF include:

  • Fast and simple online sign-up process
  • No entry or exit fees 
  • Highly-competitive market-based rates
  • Interest is compounded daily
  • Fast, same-day withdrawals

2. Apollo Money Market Fund

Performance: 10.92%

Min. Investment: 1,000

Min. Top-up: 1,000

Withdrawals: processed within 3 working days

Run by the insurance company APA Insurance, Apollo Money Market Fund invests in low-risk investments that have a guaranteed return like fixed deposits, government bonds, and commercial paper.

To invest in this fund, you’ll need a minimum of KES 1,000 and top-up amounts of at least KES 1,000 as well. While the Apollo MMF doesn't have clear MPESA deposit options, top-ups can be made through direct cash deposits, cheques, or standing orders.

The withdrawal process is not specified in any of their available material so it’s important to get in touch with the fund for more details. However, based on industry practices and standards, it’s likely that it takes around 2-3 working days after the withdrawal request is made.

More features of the Apollo MMF include:

  • Safe, low-risk investments with good returns 
  • Low and affordable minimum investment and top-up amounts
  • Deposits can be made through cash deposits, cheques, standing orders, and direct debit orders

3. Madison Money Market Fund

Performance: 10.37%

Min. Investment: 5,000

Min. Top-up: 1,000

Withdrawals: processed within 2-3 working days

The Madison Money Market Fund has a higher minimum investment of 5,000. However, it offers some notable benefits and features to its investors.

The fund charges no entry or exit fees. This means no additional costs are incurred whether you want to join or leave the fund.

Returns are compounded monthly with withdrawals taking about 2-3 working days. There are no penalties for accessing your money so you don’t lose either your capital or interest earned due to early or late withdrawals.

The fund also provides free monthly statements by the 4th day of every month. This allows you to monitor your account and track all transactions taking place every month.

Other key features of the Madison MMF are:

  • Withdrawals are processed within 72 hours
  • No lock-up of investments
  • Interest is distributed monthly

4. Sanlam Money Market Fund

Performance: 9.68%

Min. Investment: 2,500

Min. Top-up: 1,000

Withdrawals: processed within 3 working days

The Sanlam MMF is a low-risk fund with a minimum initial requirement of KES 2,500. It invests in high-quality, interest-bearing assets (like treasury bills) within the Kenyan market, making it safe for investors looking for a reliable income source.

Setting up an account is free, so you’ll only need the minimum required investment to get started. Any top-ups after that have to be in multiples of KES 1,000, which can be done either through MPESA or a bank account. 

The interest here is compounded daily but distributed monthly into the client’s account. This ensures steady growth of the invested capital over the mid-term to long-term.

Withdrawals take about 3 working days, which is the industry standard, and there are no penalties associated with early or late withdrawals.

Key features of the Sanlam MMF include:

  • Investment in safe, high-quality assets within the Kenyan market
  • Free to join and set up an account
  • Daily compounded interest with monthly distributions

5. Zimele Money Market Fund

Performance: 9.56%

Min. Investment: 100

Min. Top-up: 100

Withdrawals: processed in about 3 working days

Also known as the Savings Plan, Zimele MMF has been steadily growing in popularity among younger investors. This is because of its low minimum requirements and easy accessibility.

Deposits start from KES 100, which can be made through MPESA. The minimum top-up amounts are equally low, also at KES 100, and can be made at any frequency depending on the investors’ capabilities.

Withdrawal periods match the industry standard of 72 hours or 3 working days, and they are also received through MPESA, making it very convenient.

The interest rate is compounded annually and customers are provided with online statements, so you can access and view the status of your account at your convenience.

Additional features and benefits of Zimele include:

  • No hidden charges
  • Availability of online statements
  • Withdrawals are processed within 3 working days
  • Allows MPESA withdrawals and deposits
  • No minimum balance requirement

6. Nabo Africa Money Market Fund

Performance: 9.55%

Min. Investment: 100,000

Min. Top-up: 10,000

Withdrawals: processed within 2 working days

This is the hardest fund to join, owing to its high minimum capital requirements. However, this may be because it is aimed at corporates and joint investors.

Investors require a minimum initial investment of 100,000 to join and subsequent top-ups of 10,000. Additional features of the Nabo Money Market Fund include:

  • Interest is earned daily and compounded annually.
  • No entry or redemption fees
  • Ease of access to invested capital i.e., high liquidity
  • Initial investment period of 3 months to allow optimal returns

7. CIC Money Market Fund

Performance: 9.0%

Min. Investment: 5,000

Min. Top-up: 1,000

As one of the earliest MMFs in Kenya, the CIC MMF is considered very reliable by investors because of its longevity. It has established a solid reputation for consistently paying good returns and is often many investors’ first choice.

A big reason why this fund has remained a favorite among investors is its commitment to safe investing. It invests in safe instruments such as treasury bills and bonds, ensuring that the invested capital remains safe while returning decent yields.

Its key features include:

  • Safety of capital due to investments in safe financial instruments
  • Daily interest calculations that are credited at the end of each month
  • 2-3 days to redeem your funds
  • Capital preservation
  • Zero initial joining fees

One major downside of this MMF is the cumbersome sign-up process. While most funds can be opened online in a matter of minutes, CIC may take up to 2 or 3 days before the account is fully verified and operational.

However, its solid reputation and consistently good performance far outweigh this temporary inconvenience.

Why invest in MMFs in Kenya?

There are several advantages to investing in money market funds. Some of these include: 

  • Higher returns than traditional savings options - compared to traditional savings accounts, MMFs pay higher interest (routinely over 10%), resulting in better yields and a higher return on investment.
  • They are safe - they invest in relatively safe securities such as treasury bills and bonds, which are backed by the government. At the very least, this means that the invested capital remains safe, granting investors peace of mind.
  • Compounding of returns - not only do you earn interest on your invested capital, but also on the subsequent interest payments you earn.
  • Passive income - depending on the fund, interest earned is distributed on a daily, monthly, or annual basis to your MMF account. Such income requires no additional effort from the investor after the initial investment is made.
  • Ease of withdrawal -  most money market funds allow for fast and easy withdrawal of your capital. Most take 1-3 days while some allow instant withdrawals, with the funds getting deposited directly to your MPESA account. This makes them ideal for emergency funds since they are highly liquid.
  • They require little capital to get started - Zimele MMF, for example, allows as little as KES 100 as the initial investment. Most of the others range between KES 1,000 to KES 2,500. This makes MMFs very affordable and accessible to most investors.

Key Takeaways:

Money market funds offer a great alternative to traditional savings accounts because of their attractive interest rates. They are also flexible, allowing you to withdraw your funds relatively fast and easily whenever you need them.

This makes them ideal for short-term investors looking for a place to park their savings since they can earn above-inflation interest rates while retaining quick access to their funds.