It has been noted severally in the past that one of the factors acting against the growth of mutual funds in Nigeria is the dearth of data and information.
The dearth of data boils down to a lack of transparency in reporting on mutual funds as investors can hardly find data or information on historical fund performance, expense ratios, fund manager experience and qualifications, fund risk profiles and benchmarks, among others.
While there is no exhaustive list of fund data that can meet the ever-increasing need of investors for decision variables, it is important that such basic data like historical fund versus benchmark performance, daily fund prices, expense ratio, and fund top holdings be made available to investors on a timely basis.
There are different ways that a fund management company can be transparent in its reporting of funds under its management. In some countries, such reporting is standardized in such a way that fund management companies are required to report same information in the same format and frequency, but there is no such standardization in Nigeria yet. This is an area that the regulatory authorities should do something about.
Transparency in reporting can come about through monthly or quarterly factsheets, fund marketing materials, press releases, SEC filings or publications on websites.
Value Alliance Fund
One fund that seems to have upped the ante on reporting is Valualliance Fund. I happened to chance on the fund’s financial highlights on its website and I must confess that I am impressed. Though the financial highlights presented by Valualliance is an annual summary of the fund’s financial performance, it is a pacesetter in the Nigerian mutual fund industry. Among other things, it presents investors with data on the beginning net asset value of the fund, the ending net asset value, net income, distributions, (which represents dividends paid) and net asset value per share. It also shows the unit distribution/dividend, total return, (net of expenses), and distribution or dividend yield.
What is Financial Highlight?
Financial highlight is a summary of the monetary results of an organization, or a fund, as in the case of Valualliance Value fund. The purpose of financial highlight is to provide readers and investors with information that they could use for decision making in their asset allocation process.
How this helps an investor
One may ask, how does the financial highlight above help an investor or potential investor?
By looking at the financial highlight, an investor, current or potential, will see that the fund has been making money since 2012, except in 2015 and 2019, when it made losses. Again, investors are able to see that the fund has made dividend payments since 2012, even in those years that they made losses.
With the dividend or distribution yield information, an investor is better positioned to estimate how much dividend he or she will receive if he or she invests a given amount of money in the fund, other things remaining the same.
With the financial highlight, it becomes easier for an investor to compare Valualliance Value fund with another fund, if such fund also has comparable data and information available.
Increased fund visibility
Fund managers should therefore increase the visibility of the funds under their management by increasing the transparency of such funds by making available to investors, important fund data and statistics using financial highlights, factsheets or other marketing materials.