What is a Unit Trust?

Unit Trusts are also known as collective investment schemes. They have grown in popularity in Kenya over the last two decades. There were virtually no unit trusts in 2001 but by 2016, there were 19 unit trust schemes registered by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

How do Unit Trusts Work

These investments are the small investor’s answer to diversification without the need to have a large amounts of money to invest. In a unit trust fund, money from many investors is pooled together and invested in a portfolio of money market instruments, bonds, shares and other authorized securities depending on the fund’s objectives. Investors are known as unit holders and the fund earns income by way of interest, dividends and capital gain when the underlying securities increase in value.

An investor invests in a unit trust fund by buying units at the prevailing price. The price is computed on a daily basis. Investors can sell the units back to the fund at the current buying price.

Management fees are charged to manage the fund, usually ranging from 1 – 3% of the fund balance annually. Some unit trusts also charge an initial joining fee of between 0.5 and 5% of the invested amount.

Registered Unit Trusts in Kenya

Unit Trusts in Kenya are legally referred to as Collective Investment Schemes. As at the time of writing, there were 19 collective investment schemes operating in Kenya. The types of funds and minimum investment amounts are listed below:


NameTypeMinimum Investment
African Alliance Kenya Unit Trust SchemeShilling FundKes 100,000
Fixed Income Fund Kes 100,000
Managed Fund Kes 100,000
Equity FundKes 100,000
Amana Unit Trust Funds SchemeShilling FundKes 10,000
Balanced Fund Kes 10,000
Growth Fund Kes 10,000
British-American Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 250,000
Income FundKes 250,000
Balanced FundKes 250,000
Managed Retirement FundKes 250,000
Equity FundKes 250,000
CIC Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 5,000
Balanced FundKes 5,000
Fixed Income FundKes 5,000
Equity FundKes 5,000
Commercial Bank of Africa Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 5,000
Equity FundKes 5,000
Diaspora Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundData unavailable
Bond Fund
Equity Fund 
Dyer and Blair Unit Trust SchemeDiversified FundData unavailable
Bond Fund
Money Market Fund
Equity Fund 
Equity Investment Bank Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 1,000
Balanced FundKes 1,000
FCB Capital Unit Trust SchemeFirst Ethical Opportunities Fund Kes 2,000
Genghis Unit Trust FundsBalanced FundKes 500
Money Market FundKes 500
Equity Fund Kes 500
ICEA Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 10,000
Equity FundKes 10,000
Growth FundKes 10,000
Bond Fund Kes 10,000
Madison Asset Unit Trust FundsEquity FundKes 50,000
Balanced FundKes 50,000
Money Market FundKes 50, 000
Nabo Unit Trust Fund (Centum)Money Market FundUSD 50,000
Balanced FundUSD 50,000
Fixed Income FundUSD 50,000
Equity Fund USD 50,000
Old Mutual Unit Trust SchemeEquity FundKes 50,000
Money Market FundKes 1,000
Balanced FundKes 50,000
East Africa FundKes 50,000
Bond FundKes 50,000
Pan Africa Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market Fund (Pesa Plus Fund)Kes 2,500
Balanced Fund (Chama Plus Fund) Kes 2,500
Stanlib Unit Trust Scheme (formerly Stanbic)Money Market FundKes 10,000
Bond FundKes 10,000
Equity FundKes 10,000
Balanced Fund Kes 10,000
Standard Investment Unit Trust SchemeEquity Growth FundKes 5,000
Fixed Income FundKes 20,000
Balanced Fund Kes 20,000
UAP Investments Unit Trust SchemeMoney Market FundKes 250,000
Equity FundKes 250,000
Fixed Income FundKes 250,000
Zimele Unit Trust SchemeBalanced FundKes 5,000
Money Market Fund Kes 5,000

Unit Trust Tips and Warnings

Before deciding to invest in a unit trust, you must pay close attention to the following:

  • The investment objective and strategy
  • Investment limits
  • Current portfolio
  • Recent performance
  • Past performance i.e. over 12 months
  • Specific features and constraints conflicting with your needs or preferences e.g. minimum investment amount or initial charge 
  • Shareholders, board of directors and key management staff
  • Financial strength, track record and expertise 

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