The Nigerian pension fund industry has been growing since the enactment of the pensions act of 2004 and pension assets have grown to about N8.14 trillion over a short period of time, according to the last report from PenCom.
This growth is a combination of pension contributions by both employers and employees as well as gains from fund performance. Not only has the industry been growing by way of asset size, there are growths in the number of pension fund administrators, custodians and more importantly on the number of people registering for pension fund coverages.
Of importance also is the number of companies that are in compliance with their contributions. One good thing about compliance with pension contributions is that it not only helps to retain talented employees in the compliant company, it also helps to attract good ones from seemingly non-compliant or not-so-compliant companies.
In deciding to work for a company, prospective employees pay attention not only to their take home pay but also to life after employment by paying attention to the prospective employers’ pension policy. In the US for example, a company that has a 4% company match for their employees’ 401k contributions, is less likely to attract talented work force than one that has a 6% 401K match policy. By the way, 401K is a type of defined contribution pension plan, just like the RSA and Retiree funds in Nigeria.
According to available information, as at July 26th ,2018, 11,877 companies have received their compliance certificates from the National Pension Commission for 2017 contributions which total about N107.6 billion. The certificates act as evidence of their compliance with collection and remittance of pension contributions. Of the 11,877 compliant companies, 17 made contributions in excess of N1 billion.
The billionaire contributors’ list is dominated by companies in the banking or financial services business while those in construction, communication, manufacturing and digital technology business were also represented, howbeit sparely. While 9 of them are banks, 2 are from manufacturing, 1 construction, 2 extraction and mining while 2 are tech companies.
Those 17 companies contributed a total of N68.8 billion or 64% of all the contributions made in 2017. The greatest contributor is Nigeria LGN Ltd, which contributed N32.5 billion followed by Trobell International Nigeria Ltd with a contribution of N8.6 billion. Iris Smart Technologies Ltd and Nigerian Breweries Plc’s contribution of N3.7 and N3.1billion place them in the third and fourth positions of the billion Naira contributors respectively.
SEC publishes new Crowd Funding Regulations limiting investment to 10% of income
SEC Nigeria recently published new rules intended to regulate crowdfunding.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has issued updated guidelines and rules governing the operation of Crowd Funding activities in Nigeria.
This follows an exposure draft issued in May 2020 as reported by Nairametrics.
Key Highlights of the new SEC regulations
- SEC introduced Crowd Funding Intermediaries who will facilitate crowdfunding transactions such as offer for sale of securities or instruments through its portal.
- This means anyone seeking to raise money through a crowdfunding service will have to go through a Crowd Funding Intermediary (CFI).
- Thus, a fundraiser (the initiator of the fund) will need to go through a CFI web portal to raise capital
- The new rules also limit the amount retail investors can invest in a crowdfunding transaction to just 10% of their net annual income in a year.
- This means individuals cannot invest more than 10% of their net salaries in crowdfunding activities. But this excludes High Networth Individuals who do not have limits.
Information contained in the regulation highlights
In summary, this is SEC Nigeria’s attempt to provide a framework around who can participate in crowdfunding issuances, drive increased transparency around Crowdfunding issues AND create more accountability to investors.
Specifically, the new rules specify the following four (4) participants in a crowdfunding issuance.
- Fundraiser, Crowd-Funding Intermediary, Investors, and Custodians.
- There is also a provision for applications for a self-regulatory trade association to facilitate Crowdfunding supervision.
Definitions of the participants per the new rule
- Fundraiser: refers to the originator, maker, or obligor of the investment instrument to be issued pursuant to these Rules.
- Crowdfunding Intermediary (CFI): An entity organized and registered as a corporation to facilitate transactions involving the offer or sale of securities or investment instruments through a Crowdfunding Portal (CFP);
- Investors: As defined by the act; relates to end takers of the instruments and products from the crowdfunding issue. The SEC attempts to differentiate between High-net-worth individuals, Retail Investors, and Qualified Institutional Investors.
- Custodians are the banks who will hold the funds contributed on behalf of the parties.
The four categories of participants specified in the rule are required to register with the SEC for purposes of taking part in Crowd Funding activities. Whereby the SEC will approve or reject registration requests depending on the eligibility criteria as outlined in the new rules on Crowdfunding.
The eligibility criteria vary by participant type. As an example,
- Fundraisers must be entities incorporated in Nigeria and have been in operation for at least two years. Or have technical partners who meet the 2-year operating track record requirement.
- Crowdfunding Intermediaries have a lot more onerous set of requirements for registration. This is because these intermediaries are the core participants saddled with creating and operating crowdfunding portals (i.e., Platforms/marketplace for the crowdfunding issue).
- Notably, both the Crowdfunding intermediaries and the actual Crowdfunding platforms need to be registered.
- Custodians: As the name implies will facilitate the aggregation of funds deposited and only release to the Fundraiser subject to the criteria of each issuance being met.
Workflow highlights for each Crowd Funding issuance
- The workflow highlights for each crowdfunding issue include
- Fundraisers need to engage a Crowdfunding Intermediary (CFIs) to facilitate the pooling of funds from investors via the approved Crowdfunding Portals (CFPs).
- These CFIs will ensure that there are sufficient disclosures by Fundraisers to Investors about the purpose and use of funds.
Notably the new rules prohibit misleading information to investors.
- The amounts being raised will be safe kept at a Custodian for the duration of the fund-raising window and released to the Fundraiser subject to meeting criteria.
- Crowdfunding Intermediaries and the Portals are required to provide a plethora of information to both SEC and Investors. The portals also help ensure compliance with approved guidelines (e.g. not exceeding target amounts approved for each issuance)
- The new rule on Crowdfunding is a welcome development. Specifically, the introduction of technology portals to enhance disclosures about funds should bring more transparency into the sector and facilitate investor due diligence.
- Furthermore, the introduction of eligibility criteria for the various participants should serve to increase accountability whereby Fundraisers will need to provide increased levels of assurance with regards to the use of funds whilst Crowdfunding intermediaries will be keen to facilitate investor due diligence as they seek to protect their reputation and prevent censure from the SEC.
- One observation however is that the new SEC rule is not explicit about the issue of recovering investor funds in the event of registered entities failing. This may explain why the SEC is keen to differentiate between classes of investors (i.e. High-net-worth, Institutional investor, and Retail investor) and then further require that retail investors, who are arguably the most vulnerable to financial shocks, do not invest more than 10% of their annual income in these schemes.
Download New SEC Nigeria Guidelines for Crowdfunding
Understanding how Mutual Funds and ETFs work in Nigeria
This article sets to answer all your questions about Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds.
Mutual Funds (MF) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are amongst the fastest growing asset classes in Nigeria. Broadly they are both classified as Collectives Schemes and are similar in many aspects yet are also different in operations.
Mutual Funds (MF) have been in existence for a long time. Mutual Funds are pools of funds created with the intent to pooling funds from various investors and buying assets. MF allows those investors to own the wide range of assets that the MF own, thus achieving diversification with a lower cost.
Dutch merchant, Adriaan van Ketwich is credited with the first investment trust in 1774 under the name “unity creates strength”. The first mutual fund to include bonds and shares was the Wellington Fund which was set up in 1929.
Nigeria’s oldest mutual fund, the Chapel Hill Denham Paramount Equity Fund has been in operation since 1991. The Security and Exchange Commission published the Nigerian Net Asset Valuation (NAV) Summary Report which found that there are 106 mutual funds in Nigeria with a total asset value of $3,714,013,444.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a more recent asset class in Nigeria. (ETFs) are securities that track the performance of an index or basket of assets. There are about 12 listed ETFs on the Nigerian Stock Exchange
What are Mutual Funds and ETFs?
Think of mutual funds as a savings pot where you and your friends save excess cash and subsequently invest that entire savings in a specific way, maybe to buy a cow for Christmas. Imagine if your group of friends decided to allow everyone in your town to join your investing club and contribute to buying cows. The funds then become so larger that you employ an asset manager to oversee the administration of the cows, and you simply create a company that will also offer cows, goats, and lambs. Thus, contributors can join your club and receive goat, lamb, and cow meat without having to buy actual cows or goats.
This is exactly how mutual funds work. A company like Stanbic IBTC creates an investment fund just like those friends, but instead of cows, they invest in bonds, money markets, equity, and other financial instruments. By buying shares in just that StanbicIBTC fund, you own a part of whatever the fund owns. This is s cheaper way for you to participate in the broad market, without having to buy every single investment.
Are Mutual Funds similar to ETFs?
In similarities, both offer investors a low-cost way to diversify holdings by selecting specific sectors, geographical regions, or risk profiles. For example, both MF and ETFs allow investors to buy country-specific investments e.g., the Vertiva Griffin 30 EFT and the Global X MSCI Nigeria ETF that invests in only Nigerian equity.
How do they differ?
In terms of differences, MF cannot be traded during the trading, an investor must wait for the close of business to calculate the Net Asset Value of the mutual fund and then place an order to buy or sell. ETFs on the other hand allow trading during the day.
Why buy collective schemes, why not invest directly?
The collective investment schemes have been embraced by Nigerians because of their greater promise of yield and diversification. These funds have offered retail investors the ability to earn a higher return on mostly money market investment, much higher than placing funds in banks. This preference for collective schemes has also been highlighted by the fall in yields offered by the risk-free Federal Government binds.
About 69% percent of the total assets of mutual funds are invested in money market funds. 9% in Eurobond funds, 7% in bond funds. In simple terms, by investing with others in a fund, the individual investor can access investment management which increases his chances to gain superior returns.
The future for ETFs and Mutual Funds
These asset classes will continue to grow in AuM as investors become more sophisticated and price-conscious. ETFs, especially Index ETFs offer sales commissions at a fraction of the brokerage cost. Also, FinTech’s automation of the asset allocation process has allowed more fund options to match individual choices.
PFAs investment in FGN securities rises by 3.7% in November 2020
RSA registration marginally increased by 0.17% to 9,188,475 as at November 2020.
The Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have increased their investments in Federal Government of Nigeria securities by 3.7% to N8.14 trillion in November 2020.
This is according to recent data from the National Pension Commission (PenCom), which revealed that the amount invested by PFAs on FGN securities including; Bonds, Treasury Bills, etc., increased from N7.85 trillion as of October 2020 to N8.14 trillion by the end of November 2020.
The breakdown of the amount invested on various FGN securities within the period under review are:
- FGN Bonds got the lion’s share of N7.38 trillion as of November 2020, accounting for 90.7% of the total amount invested in FGN securities for the aforementioned month. This indicates a growth of 4.3% Month-on-Month.
- Investment in Sukuk bond increased to N100.07 billion in November 2020, up by +6.9% Month-on-Month.
- Investment in Treasury Bills declined to N642.03 billion, down by -1.7% Month-on-Month.
- Investment in Agency bonds also declined to N6.03 billion, down by 50.9% Month-on-Month.
- Investment in green bonds declined to N11.8 billion, down by 10.6% Month-on-Month.
- Investment in state government securities stood at N150.59 billion, down by 2.5% Month-on-Month.
Upshots: The increased investment in FGN securities by PFAs within the aforementioned period might be attributable to an earlier order by CBN which prohibited PFAs from OMO Auctions. The order redirected the investment focus of most PFAs, with many opting for other low-risk FGN securities, possibly explaining why the increase occurred.
What you should know: Nairametrics had earlier reported that CBN had restricted OMO auctions to banks and foreign investors.
- The Net asset value of all PFAs in the country as of November 2020 stood at N12.3 trillion, marginally up by +1.98% Month-on-Month.
- Total RSA registration for the aforementioned period also increased by 0.17% to 9,188,475.