One of the problems that are prevalent in Nigeria is that of paucity of data. Though that problem still bedevils the Nigerian mutual fund industry, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been doing its best to publish, as often as it can, a compilation of the Net Asset Values of Nigerian mutual funds.
One way to judge the health of an industry like the mutual fund industry is to look at the trends of fund flows into and out of the industry. In one of my recent pieces, I pointed out that the state of the industry seemed to be strong, and judging by how much investors poured into the industry in 2019, the state of the industry seems to be even stronger.
Another way to judge the health of the industry is to look at its growth in terms of the number of funds, especially number of new funds, launched within a review period or year. Due to lack of alternative facts, our analysis is based solely on the publications by the Security and Exchange Commission. Based on the SEC NAV Summary reports, we can comfortably say that Nine new funds were added to the list of active mutual funds in Nigeria in 2019.
That is a slight improvement over the 8 new funds that were added in 2018, but nothing compared with the 16 new funds added in 2017. Be that as it may, the fact that the industry added more funds, with none going into extinction, is quite commendable and a mark of growth. Here are the newcomers in 2019.
Vantage Dollar Fund and Vantage Equity Income Fund
Vantage Dollar fund is a Eurobond fund, being denominated in US Dollar. It is a product of InvestmentOne Fund management. Though the fund opened for issue on April 23 2018, closing on June 1, 2018, it did not get listed in the SEC report until sometime in 2019, making it a newcomer in 2019. Its current asset value is N1.8 billion and the fund generated about N78 million in gains in 2019. InvestmentOne also launched the Vantage Equity Income Fund.
That brings to 6, the number of funds being managed by InvestmentOne Asset Management, giving it a total asset under management of N21.6 billion.
- Another newcomer in 2019 is the IBTC Shariah Fixed Income Fund. The Fund is an “open-ended unit trust scheme that invests in Shariah-Compliant fixed income securities and investment products that are permissible under Shariah principles.” A product of Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, the fund was valued at N1.5 billion by the end of 2019 and generated an estimated N54.6 million in gains also in 2019. With that, the number of funds under the management of Stanbic IBTC Asset Management company now comes to 14, with total asset undermanagement of N478.2 billion as at the end of 2019.
- PACAM Eurobond fund and PACAM Equity Fund also made it to the list of newcomers in 2019. Though PACAM Eurobond fund is said to be Eurobond fund, at least by nomenclature, the fund manager’s website says that the fund invests in “Fixed Income instruments such as FGN Bonds, Sub National Bonds, Corporate Bonds and other investment-grade Fixed income instruments giving investor’s opportunity to invest in secure and high yielding Bonds offered by Federal and State Governments of Nigeria and large Corporates.” The launch of the two funds brings to 5, the number of funds being managed by PACAM Asset Management company, bringing its asset under management, AUM, to N1.56 billion.
- Lead Balanced fund also got enlisted in the SEC NAV Summary Report for the first time in 2019. A product of Lead Asset Management, the fund is an Open-Ended Fund authorized and registered in Nigeria as a Unit Trust Scheme. Aimed at achieving capital appreciation by holding long-term positions in different asset classes and provide regular income streams for unit holders, Lead Balanced fund was valued at N475 million at the end of 2019, after making about N10.57 million in gains. Lead Asset management now manages 2 funds with combined AUM of N566 million.
- Legacy Money Market: Not wanting to be undone by other asset managers, First City Asset Management launched its Legacy Money Market fund, to bring the funds under its management to 4, and total asset under its management to N20.5 billion.
- Growth & Development Asset Management Limited also debuted in the Nigerian mutual fund industry with its GDL Money market fund, an open-ended mutual fund that invests in a broadly diversified portfolio of short-term, high-quality money market securities such as Treasury Bills, Commercial Papers, Bankers Acceptances and Certificate of Deposits issued by rated banks in Nigeria. With that, Growth & Development Asset Management Limited, GDL, gets set to make its mark in the industry with its current AUM of N896 million.
- FSDH Treasury Bill Fund: 2019 saw what could be known as Nigeria’s first and only Treasury Bill fund, with the launch of FSDH Treasury Bill Fund by FSDH Asset Management. Though a money market fund by its characteristics, the FSDH Treasury Bill Fund “provides investors with the opportunity to invest in a range of Treasury Bills across different tenors” in Nigeria. That brings the number of funds being managed by FSDH Asset Management to 4 and its total asset under management stood at N44 billion as at the end of 2019.
There is no doubt that the Nigerian mutual fund environment is still evolving and a fertile ground for innovation and product development. A lot of progress has been made, and a lot more needs to be made. One area that is yearning for attention is the area of fund of funds. We are watching to see who launches the first fund of funds in Nigeria.