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HomeinstitutionsJames Wangunyu: The Billionaire Who Founded Standard Investment Bank

James Wangunyu: The Billionaire Who Founded Standard Investment Bank

James Wangunyu is a Kenyan businessman and financial markets, guru. He is the founder of Standard Investment Bank (SIB) one of the country’s leading financial entities.

As a veteran businessman with a background in commercial banking, he successfully founded Standard Stocks, as a licensed Stockbroker in 1995 and steered it to the helm of Kenya’s money market.

Wangunyu sought to make a difference in the world of finance, and therefore, embraced a customer-centric approach for SIB. As such, with a focus on high-value customer relationship management and integrity, the company rapidly flourished and increased its volume of equity trading business by a significant multiplier to achieve the No 1 position in trade volume ranking well ahead of more established and older stockbroking firms.

In 2005, James steered the business into transaction advisory services and secured an investment banking license, thus Standard Investment Bank. In 2007, he led the company to attain an additional license for the SIB Trust Funds.

Most recently in 2018, guided the firm to attain the first Online Forex Trading Money Manager License, becoming the first company to do so in Kenya.

James Wangunyu: The Billionaire Who Founded Standard Investment Bank
James Wangunyu (left) during SIB’s 25 year anniversary. |Courtesy| SIB|

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)

Wangunyu served as a member of the board of directors at the NSE since May 24, 2002, before he was elevated to the position of Chairman in June 2008.

However, the seasoned investor resigned as chairman ahead of the bourse’s 55 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2009. He had served at the NSE board for seven years.

At the time, Wangunyu noted that the resignation would enable him to concentrate on his investment banking business.

“We want to move the investment banking business to the next level,” he told The Standard during an interview on April 30, 2009.

As a member of the board, he was instrumental in initiating the demutualisation process and has been vocal on the need for the stock exchange to separate ownership from trading rights.


Founded in 1995, the company has a major focus on investment Banking, securities trading, and investment management. The firm has since grown into one of the most reputable financial entities in the country.

Standard Investment Bank is one of Kenya’s largest indigenous investment banks with shareholders’ funds at above Ksh750 million and has a proven track record executing large, complex transactions on behalf of both local and foreign clients.

James Wangunyu: The Billionaire Who Founded Standard Investment Bank
James Wangunyu (3rd right) during SIB’s 25 year anniversary. |Courtesy| SIB|

It has a substantial and diversified client base that includes governments, fund managers, corporations, financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals and retail investors. The firm holds over Ksh230 Million in Assets under Management.

In December 2018, SIB was licensed as the first Money Manager-Dealer in Online Forex Trading in Kenya.

SIB is a member of the NSE, and an authorized Central Depository Agent of the CDSC, a member of the Kenya Association of Stockbrokers and Investment Banks (KASIB). It is also registered with Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN), as well as The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF).