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Exclusives

Best performing Mutual Funds in February 2021

Nairametrics reviews the best Mutual Funds in the month of February 2021, judging by their performance.

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Best Mutual Funds in Nigeria

Data obtained from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), showed that only 25 mutual funds out of the 118 registered funds in the month of February recorded price gains in the period.

Mutual funds have always been considered as a good alternative investment opportunity, particularly for retail investors because it gives them access to diversified and professionally managed portfolios at a low price.

After delivering an impressive growth of 51.6% in 2020 and kicking off 2021 with a marginal decline of 0.13% in January, the total net asset value of the registered mutual funds also declined further by 0.94% between January and February 2021.

According to SEC, the total net asset value of the 118 registered mutual funds in Nigeria was N1.56 trillion across the 9 mutual fund types offered as of February 26, 2021.

READ: Top 5 Fund Managers in Nigeria by asset value

A comparison of the performance of the fund types month-on-month indicated that despite the fall in total net asset value at the end of February, real estate bonds’ net asset value grew by 17.48%, exchange traded bonds by +11.72%, fixed income funds by +5.27% while the bond funds grew by +1.26%. The infrastructure bonds sustained their value in January, recording no change in the month. Other funds recorded losses with the money market fund recording the highest loss of 7.09% in net asset value during the month.

It is also worthy of note that out of the 118 registered mutual funds, only 32 mutual funds had increased in net asset value between January and February 2021 while only 25 mutual funds had increased in unit price.

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Below are the top-performing mutual funds in the month of February 2021. We also highlighted their performance in terms of returns and changes in net asset value and included profiles of the funds as described on their websites.

READ: Nigeria’s mutual fund asset value hits N1 Trillion


FBNQuest Asset Management Limited – Retail (Bond Funds)


The FBN Nigeria Eurobond is a fixed income mutual fund that invests in the US Dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by the Nigerian government and reputable corporate institutions. Investments can be made into this fund by both retail and institutional investors.

To get started as a retail investor, a minimum investment of $2,500 is required and the minimum holding period is 180 days.

January 29, 2021

Stanbic 728 x 90

Fund Price – N49,736.31

February 26, 2021

Fund Price – N51,765.35

Return – 4.08%

Ranking – Fifth

Commentary: The retail bond fund package of FBNQuest Asset Management Limited performed as the fifth-best fund in February 2021. The unit price appreciated by 4.08%, closely behind the growth of the institutional bond fund managed by the same asset manager.

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The net asset value of the fund increased by 7.81% from N4.62 billion as of 29th January 2020, to N4.98 billion as at end of February 2021.

READ: Naira falls across forex markets as CBN suggests official rate has been adjusted


FBNQuest Asset Management Limited – Institutional (Bond Funds)

The FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) designed for institutional investors is also invested in US Dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by the Nigerian government and reputable corporate institutions and managed by FBNQuest Asset Management Limited.

To begin investment as an institutional investor, a minimum of $100,000 is required for a minimum tenor of 180 days.

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January 29, 2021

Fund Price – N49,681.06

February 26, 2021

Fund Price – N51,712.01

Return – 4.09%

Ranking – Fourth

Commentary: The FBNQuest Asset Management Limited bond funds created for institutional investors is the fourth in the list best performing fund in the month of February, growing its unit price by 4.09% and net asset value by 4.41% from N578.37 million in January 2021 to N603.85 million in February 2021.

READ: Investors pump N7 billions into New Gold ETF


Nova Dollar Fixed Income Fund (Fixed Income Fund) – Novambl Asset Management

Nova USD Fixed income fund is an actively managed open-ended unit trust scheme managed by Novambl Asset Management. The fund has an asset allocation range target of 0% – 80% on sovereign Eurobonds, 0% – 80% on corporate Eurobonds, 0% – 50% on money market instruments and finally 0% – 5% on Cash.

The issue price is $100 per unit and the minimum initial investment for the offer is 5 units of the funds, while additional/subsequent investments will be issued in multiples of 5 units and payable in full, upon subscription.

January 29, 2021

Fund Price – N393.57

February 26, 2021

Fund Price – N410.23

Return – 4.23%

Ranking – Third

Commentary: Nova dollar fixed-income fund, managed by Novambl Asset Management Ltd, recorded unit price appreciation of 4.23% from N393.57 in January 2021 to N410.23 in February 2021. The fund’s net asset value also increased by 4.17% from N122.95 million as of 29th January 2021 to N128.08 million at end of February 2021.


United Capital Euro Bond Fund – United Capital Asset Management Limited (Bond Funds)

The United Capital Nigerian Eurobond Fund is an open-ended mutual fund that invests in dollar-denominated euro bonds, floated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Nigerian top-tier banks, and corporates.

Investors can start with a minimum of 10 units, with each unit costing $100 and multiples of 5 units can be purchased thereafter.

January 29, 2021

Fund Price – N46,347.64

February 26, 2021

Fund Price – N48,466.73

Return – 4.57%

Ranking – Second

Commentary: The euro bond fund owned by United Capital Asset Management Ltd recorded a unit price growth of 4.57% in February 2021. The net asset value however declined by 3.61% from N29.74 billion as of 29th January 2021, to N28.67 billion at the end of February 2021.


Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund – Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited (Fixed Income Funds)

Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (SIDF) is an open-ended fund launched in January 2017. The fund invests a minimum of 70% of its portfolio in high-quality Eurobonds, a maximum of 25% in short-term USD deposits, and a maximum of 10% in USD equities.

The expense ratio of the fund is 1.5%. The minimum investment amount is $1,000 while additional investments is $500. All investments must be held for a minimum period of 180 days.

January 29, 2021

Fund Price – N485.29

February 26, 2021

Fund Price – N507.73

Return – 4.62%

Ranking – First

Commentary: This is a dollar fund by Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited, which led the list of best-performing mutual funds in the month, appreciating by 4.62% in February.

Also, the net asset value as of 26th February 2021, was N119.23 billion indicating a growth of 3.50% when compared to N115.20 billion recorded as of January 29 2021.


Bubbling under…..

The following are the other top 10 performing funds on our lists in ascending order:

Lotus Capital Fixed Income Fund – Lotus Capital Limited (Fixed Income Fund)

Return – 0.68%

Anchoria Equity Fund – Anchoria Asset Management Limited (Equity-Based Funds)

Return – 0.77%

SFS Fixed Income Fund – SFS Capital Nigeria Limited (Fixed Income Funds)

Return – 1.00%

Cordros Dollar Fund – Cordros Asset Management Limited (Fixed Income Funds)

Return – 1.51%

ARM Discovery Balanced Fund – Asset & Resources Management Company Limited (Mixed Funds)

Return – 1.58%

Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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Business News

Banks earn N216 billion in E-banking income amidst threat from challenger banks

Nigerian banks raked in a sum of N216.52 billion from their e-business earnings in the year 2020.

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the best mobile banking apps, On Google Play Store, some Nigerians are dissatisfied with their mobile banking apps  

Nigerian banks raked in a sum of N216.52 billion from their e-business earnings in the year 2020 as tier-1 banks popularly known as FUGAZ (First Bank, UBA, Access Bank, GT Bank, and Zenith Bank) topped the list of highest earners. 

Income from digital channels is also classified as electronic business or banking income by the majority of commercial banks. Nairametrics gathered this research from the audited financial statements of 12 of the leading banks in the country. The same banks reported N217 billion in income from digital channels in 2019 dipping marginally by 0.24%.

  • Banks attribute the reason for the drop in 2020 compared to 2019 to the revision of fees and charges for electronic transfers by the central bank in early 2020.
  • On January 1st, 2020, the CBN ushered in a new regime for bank charges. While these mostly affected things like card maintenance fees, charge for hardware tokens it also affected the amount that can be paid for electronic transfers.
  • For example, a graduated fee scale for electronic transfers replaced the current flat fee of N50 such that transfers below N10,000 now attract a maximum charge of N10; and transfers above N50,000, N50.
  • USSD fees also got a cut a few months later announcing that customers will pay a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use USSD services with effect from Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic also played a major role in bank performance as it affected the expansion of the digital rollout plans earlier on in the year. However, the pandemic will swing in their favour as Nigerians increasingly relied on mobile banking for transactions while avoiding banking halls for fear of contracting Covid-19.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Best performing banks in Nigeria judging by the numbers

Banks and Digital Channels

Banks in Nigeria have increasingly resorted to generating income from digital channels such as their mobile applications, USSD channels, and online banking targeting Nigerians from all works of life. Efforts at increasing revenue from digital channels have been supported heavily by the Central Bank through initiatives such as BVN, POS, and other banking policies driving financial inclusion.

While the apex bank’s policy was aimed at reducing the number of unbanked in the country, banks have seized on the opportunity to offer a wide range of services that have increasingly provided an alternative source of income. According to NIBSS, the total value of electronic transfers for 2020 topped N158 trillion in 2020 a 50% growth when compared to 2019. Transaction volume also rose to 2 billion up 77% when compared to 2019.

READ: Zenith Bank spends N20 billion on IT in 2020, up 122%

Rise of Challenger Banks

Banks will face stiffer competition in 2021 as Challenger Banks such as Kuda Bank and V-Bank are more capitalized having attracted significant funding in recent months. These banks offer zero fees as an attractive selling point which they hope will sway customers from the big commercial banks who have long started monetizing their platforms.

Challenger Banks typically earn money from other sources such as providing bespoke services wrapped around savings and investments with their customers. Thus, rather than rely on digital revenues earned from fees and charges per transaction, they earn by actually engaging in the business of banking, lending depositors funds, and investing their free float.

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READ: Highest paid Nigerian bank MD/CEOs of 2020

Here are the top earners in 2020: 

Apart from Access Bank, UBA, and FBNH, all the other banks posted year-on-year declines. For example, Zenith Bank and GTB recorded a 36% and 25% drop respectively.

However, Access Bank and UBA both recorded an increase of 56% and 14% respectively topping N56 billion and N44.2 billion respectively. Access Bank is now the largest bank making money from e-business income having topped FBNH which posted N48 billion from E-business income, the highest in 2019.


Fifth position – GT Bank (N11.77 billion)

Guaranty Trust Bank, the most capitalized financial institution listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange generated a sum of N11.8 billion from its e-business unit, accounting for about 5.4% of the total e-business revenue in 2020.

  • Its e-business revenue declined massively by 24.85% compared to N15.66 billion recorded in the previous year.
  • The bank, however, posted a profit after tax of N201.44 billion in 2020 (second only to Zenith Bank), representing a 2.33% increase compared to N196.85 billion recorded in 2019. 

READ: Ecobank Transnational Inc. records 24% increase in Profit After Tax for Q4 2020.

Stanbic 728 x 90

Fourth position – Zenith Bank (N27.08 billion)

Zenith Bank earned a sum of N27.08 billion from its e-business in 2020 to stand fourth on the list behind UBA.

  • Its income from e-business accounted for 12.5% of the total income generated by the twelve banks. Zenith Bank’s e-business income witnessed a huge plunge of 36.3% in 2020 compared to N42.5 billion it recorded in 2019.
  • However, Zenith Bank posted the highest profit of N230.6 billion in the review period, growing its profit after tax by 10.4% from N208.8 billion recorded in 2019. 

Third position – UBA (N44.25 billion)

UBA retained its position in third place with a total e-business revenue of N44.25 billion, accounting for 20.4% of the total e-business income generated by the banks on our list.

  • UBA recorded a 14.14% increase in its e-business revenue in 2020 compared to N38.8 billion recorded in the prior year. 
  • UBA has also intensified its effort to build on its 2020 success by releasing a new mobile banking app, which aims to improve the ease of transacting by their customers.
  • The tier-1 bank posted a profit after tax of N113.77 billion in 2020, representing a 27.7% increase compared to N89.09 billion recorded in the previous year. 

Second position – FBN Holdings (N48.68 billion)

First Bank lost its first position to Access Bank, having increased its e-business revenue marginally by 1.35% to stand at N48.68 billion in 2020. Its e-business revenue accounted for 22.5% of the e-business income recorded by the twelve banks under consideration. 

  • Despite being one of the oldest banks in the country, First Bank has been at the forefront of the mobile banking revolution.
  • The bank was one of the pioneers of the USSD platform which is used to transfer money via a text messaging application of a mobile phone and has continued to create products within the electronic space.
  • For example, in November 2020, First Bank launched a Next Generation ATM, referred to as FastTrack ATM, designed to eliminate the need for physical interaction with the automated machine.
  • This was as a result of the need to reduce physical contact with people and substances, due to the covid-19 spread in the country. 

First position Access Bank (N56.09 billion )

The largest bank in Nigeria by total assets toppled First Bank, Zenith, and UBA to occupy the first position with e-business revenue of N56.09 billion in 2020.

  • Access Bank was in the fourth position in 2019 but catapulted to first as it grew its e-business income by a whopping 55.64% from N36.04 billion recorded in the previous year.
  • This increase also translated to a 12.71% growth in profit after tax to stand at N106.01 billion in the review period from N94.06 billion recorded in 2019. 
  • Access Bank does mention that its E-business income includes earnings from its Channels business.

The increase in its e-business revenue is no surprise as the tier-1 bank spent a sum of N18.7 billion on IT and E-business related initiatives in the same year, as against N9.7 billion incurred in the previous year and N11.39 billion in 2018, a move that clearly translated to a boost in E-business income. 

According to a recent article published by Nairametrics, Access Bank stated that it created 4 million digital loans in the year under review and disbursed N105 billion loans through its digital lending platform, indicating a 48% year-on-year growth. 

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Bubbling under

  • FCMB – N8.61 billion
  • Union Bank – N7.04 billion
  • Sterling Bank – N4.97 billion
  • Stanbic IBTC – N2.74 billion
  • Wema Bank – N2.61 billion
  • Fidelity Bank – N2.46 billion
  • Jaiz Bank – N214 million

 

Commercial Banks E-Business (Digital Banking) Income.
Source: Nairalytics Research.

 


Bottom line

The disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic plunged into the revenue generated by Nigerian banks from their e-businesses, however, they were able to make up for it from their multiple streams of income which translated to a general stellar performance from the sector. It is worth noting that only Access Bank, UBA, and First Bank recorded growth in e-business income in the period under review. 

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Blurb

Is something fishy going on at Custodian Plc?

Custodian stock hit a year high just as it announced a Convertible Loan Instrument set to be approved at its AGM.

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Custodian Investment Plc. announces board meeting and closed period, Custodian Investment Plc. announces board meeting and closed period

Custodian Plc, one of the largest insurance companies in Nigeria is currently trading at a new year high of N7.10 and is up 21% year to date. Nairametrics Blurb team has in recent days noticed an upsurge in its share price especially since the company announced its AGM.

As we pen this article, about 2.9 million units have exchanged hand at a share price of N7.

The stock is included in the Pension Index and by some measure quite illiquid. It is also one of the stocks recommended in our Premium Service Stock Select Newsletter thus the need for further introspection.

READ: Buy what? GTBank vs Zenith Bank

Custodian Investment AGM

Typically, when companies announce AGMs we are keenly curious as this is where decisions that can ultimately affect shareholders (especially smaller retail investors) are approved.

In its recent filings, the company stated as follows in item 10.

That the Board of Directors of the Company be and is hereby authorised to:

(a) raise the Naira equivalent of up to $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million US Dollars), as additional capital through a convertible loan instrument;

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(b) convert the loan in the Naira equivalent of up to $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million US Dollars) into shares in the Company (the “Conversion Shares”) at a conversion price, being the higher of N6 per share or the 12-month historical average daily share price of the Company derived from the Daily Official List of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (for the period ending on March 23, 2021), subject to adjustment upon the occurrence of certain adjustment events;

(c) allot the Converted Shares to the Lender upon the exercise by the Lender of its right to convert the Loan into shares in the Company, subject to applicable law; and

(d) take steps necessary or reasonably desirable to give effect to the foregoing resolutions and for effecting any transactions pursuant thereto, including the appointment of professional advisers, and the obtention of relevant regulatory approvals.

READ: Notore Chemicals is swimming in debts – company to access equity market in Q2 2021

What this means?

In simple English, the directors of Custodian are seeking the approval of its shareholders to borrow $15 million (N6.1 billion) in convertible loan instrument.

Stanbic 728 x 90

A convertible loan instrument is simply a loan that you can convert into shares if the lender so wishes. The share price for conversion are predetermined and in this case, they stated N6 per share or the 12-month historical average daily share price of the company’s stock.

If the lender does decide to convert the loans to shares at the current share price of N6 per share, it means about 1 billion shares will be offered to the lender, an equivalent of 17.4% of the total outstanding shares of the company. This loan is in effect, a potential dilution of existing shareholders of the company if it is approved at the AGM.

So why is the company seeking a convertible loan or even diluting its shareholders?

READ: Gains on quoted investment stocks rescued Custodian Investment Plc from loss in Q3 2020

Fishing around for why

Typically when a company decides to raise money via a convertible loan instrument, they are looking for lower interest rates, debt that avoids the burden of periodic repayment, and/or looking to delay when the actual equity is issued. There are also tax considerations at play but not as significant as the ones mentioned above.

Except, Custodian is looking to purchase another asset, after it bought UPDC, we do not understand why it will be looking to raise capital huge enough to dilute existing shareholders. It also did not explain why it is seeking to raise the said capital in its AGM Notice, a slight departure from the norm in cases like this.

  • Custodian is also highly capitalized with a Net Asset of about N46 billion and a balance sheet size of N176.1 billion (after the acquisition of UPDC) as of 2020.
  • Suffice to add that the company recently paid shareholders about N2.6 billion in dividends, making us wonder why it is seeking to dilute shareholders when it could have just ploughed that amount to its capital raising needs.
  • In fact, the dividends paid in 2020 was just 21% of profits, meaning it had retained about N10 billion in profits made during the year. Again, why does it need N6.1 billion in loans?
  • Custodian also has a thriving insurance business which fetched it about N58 billion in gross premium income out of which N32 billion was from non-life. Again, why does it need N6.1 billion on convertible loans?
  • The company currently carries a debt of about N5.5 billion which was inherited from its acquisition of UPDC. The debt is mostly a bond issued at an interest rate of 16% per annum and due for full liquidation in 2023.
  • There is no rush to pay down this debt.

READ: NPF Microfinance vs C&I Leasing: A tale of two rights offer

What then?

We are lost as to why the company is looking to raise this capital and can only now think of two reasons. Firstly, could it be the existing shareholders looking to tighten their stake in the company? Custodian’s majority shareholders are Gratitude Capital Limited and Mikeade Investments Limited with 22.48% and 15.72% respectively.

  • The company CEO Oluwole Oshin represents Gratitude Capital while Business Mogul Micheal Ade (Elizade) owns Mikeade Investments Limited. Could it be either of these two investors looking to up their stakes?
  • There could also be a reason for this back door approach. About 74.5% of the company is owned by just 20 shareholders so it is clear that increasing majority stake will be difficult to achieve.
  • The other reason is perhaps an institutional investor looking to acquire a significant stake in the company through the backdoor. Is this plausible?

READ: Investors react to Fidelity’s bond listing, as it gains N1.74 billion

Well, these are speculations that only Cusdotian can confirm. We hope they do so as soon as possible.

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