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Investment Tips

What to do when interest rates are low in 2020

It is no longer news that interest rates are falling across all tenors in Nigeria and the world over. Some countries in the West are already seeing negative interest rates. Yield hungry investors and retirees who depend on interest yields on their retirement accounts are scratching their heads thinking of what to do. So, with interest rates heading south, what should you do?

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interest rates, investment bias, What to do when interest rates are low

It is no longer news that interest rates are falling across all tenors in Nigeria and the world over. Some countries in the West are already seeing negative interest rates. Yield hungry investors and retirees who depend on interest yields on their retirement accounts are scratching their heads thinking of what to do. So, with interest rates heading south, what should you do?

Get into dividend-paying stocks

Though not everyone has the guts or the risk appetite or tolerance to venture into the equity market, at times, hard times call for hard decisions. Although, it is not necessarily good to buy stocks based on their high dividend yield alone, buying stocks that consistently pay dividends with relatively high yield would not be a bad idea to weather the storm of low-interest rates.

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Get into high coupon long-maturity bonds

Though interest rate is falling, it does not reduce the coupon rates payable on bonds that are already in existence. By buying such bonds, you are buying into receiving interest income based on the coupons on the bonds, rather than current interest rate. The only issue is that you will buy such bonds at a relatively higher price because since the coupon on the bond is greater than the prevailing interest rate or yield, the bond will sell at a premium.

There is an inverse relationship between interest rate and bond prices, such that as interest rate falls, bond prices increase. Another downside to this strategy is that the issuers of the currently existing high coupon bonds may refinance the bonds by retiring them prematurely and replacing them with low coupon bonds of same maturity. Therein lies the reinvestment risk of bond investments.

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[READ ALSO: CBN boosts cotton production with N19bn loan  (Opens in a new browser tab)]

You can easily find high coupon bonds in the Nigerian market if you look closely. Examples of high coupon bonds in the Nigerian bond market include the DUFIL Foods bond with coupon of 18.25% and maturing in 2025. Union Bank, Flour Mills, Wema Bank and Sterling Bank, all have bonds with coupons in the upward of 15% and maturities of 2 to 5 years from now. Owning a bond investment that pays 18.25% per annum in a market where the prevailing interest rate is about 9.5% for a 5-year tenor, is a windfall.

Get into foreign securities

Another strategy that can help with managing the falling interest rate regime is diving into foreign securities. I did a piece not too long ago comparing investments in Ghana Treasury Bills and Nigeria’s, and it was obvious that if the exchange rate between the Ghana Cedi and the Nigerian Naira does not change drastically, there could be gain in venturing into Ghana’s Treasury Bills. Do some research on other African markets like Kenya, Mauritius, or Tanzania and find out where you can fit in and make some gains. Be mindful of the transaction costs and other regulatory requirements.

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Do your due diligence

The internet makes it easier now to engage in cross-border capital market transactions. Make sure you do your due diligence including understanding the various countries regulations on money laundry, capital gain taxes, trading commissions and fees and a host of others.

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Be Warned that nothing in this article should be taken as an investment advise and you may not rely on it for your investment decisions as the author is not licensed to provide investment advice.

Patricia

[READ ALSO: FG closes border to protect economic interests – Customs (Opens in a new browser tab)]

Uchenna Ndimele is the President of Quantitative Financial Analytics Ltd. MutualfundsAfrica.com and mutualfundsnigeria.com (both Quantitative Financial Analytics company website) is a leader in supplying mutual fund information, analysis, and commentary on African mutual funds. We provide reliable fund data; and ratings information that will add value to fund managers, the media, individual investors and investment clubs.

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Billionaire Watch

Want to be like Warren Buffet, Michael Phelps? Here are their secrets

The distinctiveness among Buffet, Dangote, Ovia, Phelps, Bolt, Musk, is not what they do, but how they do it and how often they do it.

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Warren Buffett

Michael Phelps won 22 Olympic medals (18 gold), how did he do it? Well, he trained and trained and trained, then he ate and ate and ate every day. He was also blessed with natural attributes i.e., he was tall.

So, wait, if I am tall and eat, and train, I can also win 18 gold medals? No! but stay with me.

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Warren Buffet likes to invest. He reads research reports, likes numbers and is always looking a discount deal on great stocks. Ok. So, if I am good with numbers, research buy great stocks I will become as rich as Warren Buffet? Well, maybe not as rich but you will earn more from your investments. The distinctiveness among Phelps, Bolt, Buffet, Musk, Dangote, and Ovia, is not what they do, but how they do it and how often they do it.

READ ALSO: Investing in Cryptocurrencies during this economic shutdown; here’s your need to know

Let’s look at an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps. When Michael was eight, he wrote out his goals; he wrote, “I would like to make the Olympics,” then listed his time goals for the various races i.e. breaststroke, freestyle etc. At the age of eight, this future Olympian had visualized his goals, written them down, and put a date for accomplishing them.

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When seeking to create a financial plan, it is impossible to achieve success without visualizing out a goal on paper. Imagine creating an investment plan without any idea of a retirement date or income or rates of return. It’s impossible without a clear road map to determine how much to save and invest for five years. During his teenage years, he trained “every single day, 365 days a year, Sundays, Christmas and Thanksgiving days included… and twice on his birthdays,” says his coach, Bob Bowman.

If an investor saved N1.00 every day for 5 years at 0%, that saver would have N1,826.00 What if those savings increased to N5.00 and were invested at just 5% annually? Then the savings pot will become N10,373.04. Yes, inflation will erode the value after 5 years, but applying a 13% inflation rate, the saver still has a real saving of N5,170.14.

READ MORE: Top 10 risks Nigerian businesses will face in 2020/2021 – Report 

So, the second lesson we take from Olympic champions is to start early, save, and then invest constantly. Micheal Phelps is a swimmer, a sport for endurance and speed. What do endurance athletes like swimmers and marathon runners eat? Food rich in carbohydrates; they need the carbs to fuel the massive amount of energy they expend during their sports. Phelps, for instance, for breakfast eats as many as 12,000 calories prior to his races. His breakfast consists of “three fried-egg sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, a five-egg omelette, three sugar-coated slices of French toast, and a bowl of grits.”

What does a sprinter like Bolt eat? Not calories but lean protein, eggs, meat, fish, dairy. Protein allows muscles to recover and develop after sprinting, which causes minute damages to muscle fibres that can be easily converted to energy. So, two different Olympic champions, each multiple gold medal winners, but because of their different sports, they eat very differently to achieve a different objective.

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Similarly, in investing, each investor is different, bond investors have instruments that have 30-year durations as opposed to stock traders who may be looking to buy and flip a stock in hours. What is key is to invest according to a stated objective and risk profile.

Patricia

Where the investor has a longer endurance factor to risk, meaning the investor can accommodate volatility in his earning, that investor will be comfortable investing on equities. Equities are higher-risk investments and can lose all invested capital but can also gain 100%.

However, where the investor has a lower risk endurance, then the investor will fill his plate with lean risk asset classes like sovereign bonds which offer lower volatility to stock and deliver a fixed return, but suffer if interest rates rise.

Thus, our third lesson from the Olympians, the food each investor eats, is a function of his individual sport. Where the investors have lower risk, his asset allocation diet is different. Each investor must tailor his asset allocation to his objectives and investment goals.

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Investment Tips

Proxy Voting: Making Your Voice Heard Inspite of COVID-19

Proxy voting is a process where one person chooses another to represent him or her in casting a vote on his or her behalf.

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Proxy Voting: Making Your Voice Heard Inspite of COVID 19

One of the privileges of owning shares in a company is the ability to attend the shareholders’ meetings and vote on important issues about the company. In most cases, such issues touch on dividend declaration, election and/or reelection of directors, authorization to fix independent auditors’ remunerations, and the election of members of the audit committee, among others.

It has been observed that shareholders love to attend such annual general meetings in person for the pride of place it provides, as well as the social status it bequeaths to the attendees in addition to the souvenirs they receive during such meetings.

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Unfortunately, that era of a social event involving the physical gathering of shareholders seems to be going extinct, thanks to COVID-19.  However, in spite of the devastating effects of COVID-19, and the changes it is bringing to our social life, shareholders can still make their voices heard during non-physical shareholders’ or annual general meetings. This they can do using proxy votes.

What is Proxy Voting: Proxy voting is a process where one person chooses another to represent him or her in casting a vote on his or her behalf. Proxy voting has not been more important than in the present COVID-19 times. In reaction to the pandemic, proxy voting is being used in areas outside corporate governance. For example, the US House of Representatives is pushing for proxy voting as a means of getting things done in the house. In a proposal released by the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, US lawmakers would be allowed to cast votes for their colleagues who are not in the Capitol in person. That underscores the advantage and the increasing importance of proxy voting.

Nigerian Companies and Proxy Votes:  Proxy voting is not new in Nigeria, especially among Nigerian companies. Whether it has been effectively used or taken advantage of is another question. However, Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has been proactive and forthright in its quest to ensure that companies in Nigeria and Nigerian shareholders alike, take advantage of the proxy voting process in keeping with the social distancing rules put in place by various governments to curb the menacing COVID-19. The CAC has therefore asked companies to take advantage of “S.230 CAMA on the use of proxies in holding their Annual General Meetings.”

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(READ MORE: IMF, World Bank to hold virtual meetings over Coronavirus epidemic)

In line with the availability of the proxy voting process as a way to give every shareholder a voice and the encouragement and enablement from the CAC, many companies in Nigeria are complying with the advice. A visit to the website of the Nigeria Stock Exchange indicates that all the 30 companies that notified the public about their annual general meetings via the Nigeria Stock Exchange, since April 1, 2020, included notices or indications of the need for proxy votes in such notifications. Many of them even included links to live-stream the events, for those who would like to participate online.

Proxy Voting: Making Your Voice Heard Inspite of COVID 19

Brace for Change: There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed and will continue to change the way certain things are done. From the look of things, proxy voting may become the new normal in corporate governance and conduct of shareholders Annual General Meetings.

Shareholders, big and small, should start getting used to voting by proxy, especially those who have not been doing so in the past. It is only by so doing that you will make your voice heard, in the affairs of the company in which you have worked so hard to invest in.

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Patricia
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Coronavirus

A New Wave: Where to Invest in H2 2020

Some of the industries that are expected to succeed given the changing times are not your usual kinds of investments.

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A New Wave: Where to Invest in H2 2020

There are two kinds of people in the world: The ‘glass-half-empty’ kind, and the ‘glass-half-full’ people. Where some see problems, others see the opportunities – same glass, but different perspectives. 2020 might have left very little hope to hang on to, but the world is still in motion.

Amidst the chaos, many have found their diamonds in the rubble – and many more will. These people, however, will be those who are willing to adapt to the changing times by repositioning themselves to leverage the opportunities that arise.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be a holistic challenge, bringing to the fore a myriad of issues. It has caused a dent in the revenue/ disposable income of many businesses and individuals alike, shaken the very balance of the economy with many countries heading for unprecedented recessions, and left everyone with so much uncertainty.

Yet, we are at the cusp of a new dawn. Processes are changing, new industries are emerging, and money is changing hands. Flexibility, automation, and sustainability are just some of the words that will make all the difference in the world of business.

Dr. Ola Orekunrin Brown, the founder of Flying Doctors – a healthcare investment company – had, at the Quarterly Economic Outlook Webinar hosted by Nairametrics, offered insights into some of the industries that are expected to succeed given the changing times, and they have been outlined below. But be warned, a lot of them are not your usual kinds of investments.

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READ ALSO: The week that shook the world: the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the effect it had on me

Investment opportunities to leverage in H2 2020

Online Events

One of the many trends that emerged in recent times, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown in many parts of the world, is a huge dependence on internet technology and digital media. Everybody went indoors – and online. The entertainment sector found its home on social media through Instagram Live parties, Tik Tok, and the Houseparty App.

Companies went online as well, leveraging digital technology like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Even the lifestyle industry went online with online gym classes, yoga classes, and even karate classes. Not only have they provided much-needed solutions, they have also come with the additional benefit of convenience.

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A good example of this is Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom, who joined Forbes’ billionaires’ list for the first time as a result of the increased use of Zoom for work meetings. Apptopia, an App tracking firm, reveals that Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world on 23 March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK– up from 56,000 a day and two months earlier.

Patricia

Online education

Another feature of the digital economy lies in the education sector. With schools forcefully closed, classes have had to go online. Online courses, training workshops, and even full degrees will become more normal as those who work from home will see these online education courses as an opportunity to develop themselves with little effort.

Investments here will be even more fostered by access to international markets, thereby increasing the market size. ResearchAndMarkets predicts that the online education market is poised to grow by $247.46 billion during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of 18% during the forecast period.

READ ALSO: Stay secure when shopping online – Follow these tips from Visa

Institutions that are too big to fail

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The stock market is expected to be even more volatile, given the overall unfavourable economic terrain and a high level of uncertainty – especially with all the talks of a recession coming. In H1 2020, the more favourable companies to invest in are those that have stood the test of time – the stocks that are too big to fail.

Many of these stocks have been in existence for decades and have been able to attain a level of stability as a result of their large market share and stable structures. You want financially strong companies and the reason is not far-fetched; the goal is to put your money behind the companies that are strong enough to withstand the storm to a good extent.

Telecommunication

Another by-product of the Covid-19 induced lockdown is the increased need for internet services. Dr. Ola explains that the use of the internet as well as the move to work-from-home, are some of the megatrends of the times.

Good internet connectivity has proven to be the lifeblood that keeps digital entertainment trends, digital work trends, digital lifestyle trends, digital entertainment trends, and a huge chunk of the communication we have today. As a result of this, companies in the telecommunication industry have begun experiencing growth in revenue and earnings. Investments in this sector will most probably be worth your while.

READ ALSO: Banking related phishing up 9% in 2019, e-stores down 10%

Distribution & E-commerce

When the Okada ban took place, several motorcycle companies that were affected were forced to pivot from transporting people to moving items as full-scale delivery businesses. While many might have thought that a bad idea, the lockdown has undoubtedly contributed to the development of this industry.

The e-commerce industry is also expected to thrive with trade moving predominantly to the internet. Investments in distribution companies and e-commerce businesses are also expected to be worth your while.

Stronger currencies

One of the major hits of the pandemic is the Nigerian foreign exchange market which has now become highly volatile. The demand for the dollar far outweighs the available supply and this has forced importers and speculators alike to scramble for what is available in circulation.

Given the challenges with the FX market, international spending on foreign denominated expenses like tuition fees or international loans will come at an increased cost. To mitigate foreign exchange loss challenges, investments in USD denominated equities, and Eurobond funds will help you withstand the storm. While gains here could have you betting against the Naira, having foreign investments in your investment portfolio will come in handy.

READ MORE: Edtech redefines learning during Coronavirus pandemic

Agriculture

The Agricultural industry is an expected gainer. One of the reasons for this is that local supply chains will expand, given the restrictions on the global supply chain as a result of the lockdown and the border closure. While this will also thrive, Dr. Ola Brown, explains that jobs will only be created in the short term.

This is because fewer hands will be required as productivity, better processes, and mechanization systems increase. An example of this is the new trend of robot herders in the United States. This is even more so as we compete with the rest of the world in production. Needless to say, Agriculture will always exist, given the need for food, as well as the rising global population.

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Healthcare

While the Covid-19 pandemic has a direct impact on the healthcare industry, the industry is a complex one. The first reason for this is that, with the healthcare infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, the government will need to invest in it to provide wide access.

With subsidies on healthcare, the free market in terms of investments might not be as lucrative with more people opting for government healthcare. However, given increased investments in the sector and the move to preventive health practices, the industry remains attractive.

For more detailed investment opportunities with specific stocks in the Nigerian Stock Market, sign up for the Nairametrics Stock Select Newsletter.

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