Mutual funds in Nigeria are growing both in number and asset value. Going by the latest NAV Summary Report from the Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC) for the week ending June 19th, 2020, there are 106 mutual funds in Nigeria with a total asset value of N1,337,044,839,679 the equivalent of $3,714,013,444. That is about the most that one can confidently and unequivocally say about Nigerian mutual funds. That underscores the extent of transparency, or lack thereof, in mutual fund reporting in Nigeria. One would expect that an industry that large, one whose net asset value represents 10% of Nigeria’s stock market capitalization, would not be shrouded in any form of opacity.
What is Transparency: The dictionary meaning of transparency is “the state of being easily detected or seen through, easily and readily understood”. When that definition is applied to mutual funds, transparency translates into the ability of the investor to look through his investment portfolio report or fact sheet and be able to see what the investment manager is doing with his money.
Why Transparency in Reporting Matters to the investor: Though mutual fund investors may largely be retail investors with not so much investment knowledge, they would like to monitor their investment performance, the risks involved as well as what their money is being invested in. In addition, investors would like to know how much they pay by way of fees. Transparency makes that information known. To the investor, more transparency translates to more information upon which investment decisions can be made. It also increases the level of comfort that investors have about the fund manager to whom they have given their money to manage.
Why Transparency Matters to the Fund Manager: Even the fund manager stands to gain from transparency in reporting mutual fund activities. Fund managers operate in a competitive market environment and transparency gives them a competitive advantage. A fund manager that discloses information readily, timely, and voluntarily stands to attract investment contributions from investors. It helps to make communication with investors clearer and timely.
Fund Managers Transparency Ranking: Having made known what and why transparency in mutual fund reporting is and should be the norm, I present below a transparency ranking of fund managers based on the availability of requisite information on their website or elsewhere, the frequency and availability of fact sheets as well as the content of such factsheets.
Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Company:
Daily Prices: Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Company has been at the forefront of mutual fund reporting transparency in Nigeria. It has daily fund prices for the 14 funds it manages updated daily on its website and sent to you upon request. Not only are the prices readily available daily, but they are also available on a historical (inception to date) basis.
Factsheets: Prior to 2019, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Company used to have a monthly fact sheet for each of their funds, but that got changed to a consolidated quarterly report. The quarterly report is released on a timely basis. The beauty of that report is that it tells the investor the risk profile of each fund, the expense ratio, asset allocation by sector, top 3 stock holdings (which is grossly inadequate disclosure) as well as current fund performance juxtaposed with 3- and 5-year performance data. The fact sheet also shows the investor the performance of the benchmark index for each fund. Other information contained in the fact sheet includes fund size, NAV, initial and subsequent investments as well as fund objectives. The Q1 2020 factsheets are currently on the website.
Annual Financial Reports: In addition to the rendition of the fact sheets as noted above, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management publishes the audited financial statements of all the funds under its management. Although that of 2019 has not been published, that of 2018 has been published.
Vetiva Asset Management Company:
Daily Prices: Vetiva Asset Management Company is the second most transparent fund manager in Nigeria. The daily fund prices are readily available although some times it looks like only the dates change without the actual prices changing. This may have to do with the valuation frequency of the funds.
Factsheets: Vetiva Asset Management Company has a monthly factsheet for its funds. The fact sheet contains most of the information that investors require. It beats Stanbic IBTC as it reports the top 10 holdings, which is better than Stanbic’s 3 top holdings. Like Stanbic, Vetiva Asset Management Company reports the risk profile of its funds but not all, and also reports the gross expense ratio. In addition, it lets investors see the funds’ MTD, QTD, YTD, ITD performance in juxtaposition with the relevant benchmarks. The factsheets used to be timely but as at the time of writing, the latest available is for the end of March 2020, it is likely they fund manager may be changing to quarterly reporting like Stanbic IBTC. Other pertinent information on the fact sheet includes dividend history, NAV, Bloomberg identifier, and lots more.
Lotus Capital Asset Management Company:
Daily Prices: Lotus Capital Asset Management comes next in line on transparency in mutual fund reporting. The fund manager publishes daily mutual fund prices but unlike Stanbic and like Vetiva, historical prices are not readily available. In that case, the prices are available on a get it or lose it basis.
Fact Sheets: Lotus Capital Asset Management publishes its factsheets on a quarterly basis and has published Q1 2020 edition for each of its funds. Though it does not show expense ratio, it shows the management and incentive fee percentages as well as a description of the risk profile of the fund. In terms of returns, the factsheet shows the QTD, YTD and ITD returns. It does show 5 top stock holdings as well as asset allocation by sector.
Annual Financial Reports: In addition to the fact sheets being available quarterly, Lotus Capital Asset Management publishes the audited financial statements of all the funds under its management. And the 2019 audited financial statement has been put on the platform.
Quantum Zenith Asset Management Company:
Daily Prices: Quantum Zenith Asset management Company has made a lot of changes to its reporting and by so doing has become one of the most transparent in mutual fund reporting. Daily prices are readily available as well as historical prices in downloadable form.
Factsheets: Quantum Zenith Asset management Company has the funds’ factsheets tucked away on the website The fund manager will be better off making it easier for investors to find the factsheets as its presence is not very evident from the home page. The fact sheet has most of the required information including top 5 holdings. The beauty of the performance presentation is that it shows whether the fund is out or under perfuming the relevant index and by how much. Information on expense ratio is not provided except the management fee rate.
United Capital Asset Management Company:
Daily Prices: United Capital Asset Management Company would probably have ranked the first or second fund manager if not for the lack of daily prices. On its web site, the last daily price is dated June 14th, 2019. However, I have been receiving the weekly prices upon request and investors can too.
Factsheets: United Capital Asset Mgt. Ltd publishes a monthly fact sheet, the latest being for the month of May 2020. The factsheet shows the risk profile of the fund, the total expense ratio, as well as MTD and YTD return numbers put side by side with that of the benchmark in addition to a 5-year performance summary. Unfortunately, it does not contain information on what the funds are invested in but it shows the allocation by asset type.
FSDH is another fund manager that practices or is cognizant of the importance of transparency in fund reporting. The fund manager reports daily prices which can also be downloaded on a historical basis. It also publishes fact sheets. Regrettably, FSDH has been slacking on the timeliness of the fact sheets as the last published ones are for Q4 2019
FCMB Asset Management is yet another reporting transparency conscious fund. The fund manager ensures that the fund prices are on their website daily. They used to let investors have the funds’ fact sheets but that has stopped as the last one posted was for December 2018
Other Fund Managers: There are other fund managers that are transparent with regard to daily fund prices like ARM Asset Management, Afrinvest, Chapelhill, FBN, FCMB, and Meristem but the lack of factsheets pushed them out of contention.
Conclusion: The fund industry has come a long way in Nigeria and it continues to evolve, as the regulators tie all the loose ends and fund managers begin to leverage off of the advantages from transparency, my hope is that mutual fund reporting will improve and the investors will be the happier for it.
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.