Ni-Ti shape memory alloys are the only shape memory alloys that are commercially available on the market and are also used in diverse medical and engineering applications. However, they still have some limitations associated with them, such as the use of expensive raw materials, sophisticated equipment for production and lack of easy cold formability when compared with iron-based and copper-based SMAs. Researchers have therefore been looking for viable alternatives to Ni-Ti SMAs, such as iron- and copper-based SMAs, that are cheaper and easier to produce and process. Fe-28Ni-17Co-11.5Al-2.5Ta-0.05B (at%) (abbreviated NCATB) shape memory alloy shows huge superelasticity (>13%) and high tensile strength at room temperature. NCATB alloy has therefore attracted the attention of researchers and engineers to exploit its advantages in different fields. In the current work, an NCATB shape memory alloy was prepared by two different techniques, namely vacuum induction melting under an argon atmosphere and vacuum arc remelting followed by suction casting technique. The cast alloys were subsequently thermally treated and characterized by optical microscopy (OM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM). Vickers hardness test and carbon and sulphur analyses were also carried out on the alloys. The major objective of the present work is to evaluate the influence of aging on microstructure and, in turn, on mechanical and magnetic properties of an NCATB shape memory alloy. Aging at 600 °C up to 48 h was found to be the optimum heat treatment to achieve enhanced mechanical properties in both NCATB1 and NCATB2 alloys. Ferromagnetic (Ni,Fe,Co)3(Al,Ta) γ′ ordered precipitate particles and paramagnetic NiAl (β) phases were found to be critical for using the alloy for magnetic applications. © 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd.