Analysis of the recently released summary of Pension Fund Asset data for the first two months of 2020 by the Pension Commission of Nigeria has shown that pension fund managers are no longer in love with Treasury Bills like they used to be in the past.
Time was when fund managers allocated much of their assets to treasury bills, but that seems to be waning as yields on treasury bills head towards subzero.
According to the analysis, pension fund managers redeemed treasury bills worth N512 million in the two months combined but did not invest any additional kobo into treasury bills within the same period.
Prior to this event, the pension fund had invested a combined sum of N1.88 trillion into treasury bills, representing 18.4% of total pension fund assets.
With that development, pension fund managers allocation to treasury bills now stands at 13%. This is about the first time, in over 5 years that PFM’s are shying away from treasury bills.
The love seems to have shifted to bank placements which attracted additional investment if N420 million from pension fund managers. FGN Bonds continue their camaraderie with pension fund managers as they pumped additional N352 million into FGN bonds in January and February, combined. This seeming reallocation to bank placements is indicative of pension fund managers’ desire to hold on to their cash, while waiting and hoping that yields will trend up anytime soon.
Yield Analysis: Fund managers who are out to seek ways to generate positive alpha or returns for their investors are running away because of the low treasury bill yields. The last Treasury Bill option that was conducted on May 13th, 2020, had stop rates of 2.5%, 2.85% and 3.84% for 91-day, 182-day and 364-day treasury bills respectively. Those rates were not enticing enough for the fund managers.
Strong Market Demand: This does not mean that Nigerian Treasury Bills are no longer in demand because, according to the NTB Auction Results sheet of May 13th, 2020, all the three tenors of treasury bills were oversubscribed.
While the 91-day Treasury Bill had N4,384,80,000 on offer, it attracted a total subscription of N22,334,588,000, the 182-day tenor which had N12,920,900,000 on offer saw N41,194,993,000 being subscribed for, while investors bid N102,030,671,000 for the 364-day tenor which had N16,536,720,000 on offer.
Pension Fund Asset Allocation: All said and done, FGN bonds continue to be the asset type with the highest allocation from pension managers. Out of the N10.5 trillion total pension fund asset value as at February, 29th 2020, N5.6 trillion sits with FGN Bonds, while bank placements come second with an allocation of N1.48 trillion leaving Treasury Bills in the third position with an asset allocation of N1.37 trillion.