Standard Investment Bank (SIB) has taken a significant step towards financial inclusivity by unveiling its Shariah-compliant investment banking division, SIB Najah, accompanied by their flagship product, MansaX Shariah. This strategic move aligns seamlessly with the Capital Markets Authority’s (CMA) commitment to fostering an inclusive market catering to Shariah-leaning investors.

At the launch event in Nairobi, Chairman Ugas Sheikh Mohamed of CMA emphasized that the introduction of Shariah-compliant products is not merely a religious matter; it is an essential aspect of market dynamics. He highlighted existing market offerings, such as affirmative action programs, that unintentionally exclude prospective participants. The Chairman passionately argued for inclusivity as a constitutional right and expressed his concern over the limited involvement of the Muslim community in social funds aimed at bolstering the economy on a larger scale.

Identifying financial literacy challenges in the market, particularly regarding Shariah-compliant products, the Chairman advocated for proactive efforts. He urged market players not only to educate but also to bridge the public knowledge gap.

Abdullahi Omar Adan, the Executive Director for Islamic Investment Banking at SIB, outlined the division’s scope, strategically allocating investors’ funds in equities, fixed income, and corporate finance, while also providing wealth management services. Adan assured investors that SIB Najah would offer guidance on Shariah law-compliant stocks — a crucial commitment.

Chairman Kiprono Kittony of the Nairobi Securities Exchange lauded the launch as a promising market indicator. He emphasized its role in challenging and ultimately countering the prevailing narrative of doom that has cast a shadow over market performance throughout the year.

Standard Investment Bank’s decision signifies a commitment to financial diversity and an acknowledgment of the constitutional imperative for inclusivity. As the market adapts to this new dimension, pivotal proactive measures in public education will ensure broader participation, especially among the Muslim community. The Chairman of the Nairobi Securities Exchange endorsing this move potentially signals a positive shift in perception that may dispel the lingering pessimism hanging over the market.