Speaking in an interview with a section of the media in Accra, Mr Emmanuel Alex Asiedu, Chief Executive Officer, STANLIB Ghana, said although the investment market was currently not as deep as one would have wanted, it would grow to be able to absorb the funds.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel because it is going to force the industry to become more innovative. I know as a fact that there are number of fund managers who have put in application to roll out property funds, real estate investment trusts and other alternative assets,” he said.
Over the past two months, government’s temporary pension funds account had been opened and monies are being released, he said.
“As I speak about 170 million cedis has been released over the past two months and I think that approximately a little over 2 billion cedis ought to be released. So far just a small percentage of it has been released,” he said.
Mr Asiedu said the release of funds by the National Pension Regulatory Authority was also an opportunity to do private equity, adding that there was a lot of innovation that was going to be spurred by the release of the pension funds.
“So what I think is going to happen is that in the immediate term there would be more funds than there are investible outlets. But the market would quickly catch up and we would expect the regulator to speed up with some of the things we would want to do or allow us to start investing in property funds. There would be catch up but it is going to happen very quickly,” he said.
On how STANLIB has positioned itself to take advantage of the Funds, Mr Asiedu said the firm had established a solid relationship with pension trustees, both corporate and non-corporate and has been able to get a bit of market share.
He said the company expected to double its assets under management between the 2014 and 2015 just as it did in between 2013 and 2014.
Currently, the company has over GHC600 million assets under management, he said.
On the impact of the economy on the company’s operations in 2015, Mr Asiedu said in general a volatile macro environment never boded well for a fund manager. However, “if the fund manager is used to volatility he/she could put in measures to both mitigate the effects on his clients and to right off the volatilities and make money.”
He said in 2014 many clients were unwilling to invest in the cedi assets investments because “they thought that if they took cedis and bought dollars they would do well. But since the cedi has stabilised, albeit the nominal depreciation, is not as steep as it was in the past. It gives you some measure of hope and you can plan ahead.”
“Last year was not too good for many of us in the industry because the currency was in sharp decline. If you are earning cedis in dollar terms, the cedi is losing value, so depreciation hurts the industry,” he said.
He said 2015 was relatively better, adding that “inflation might be relatively high but it hasn’t crossed the 18/19 mark. Depreciation did not do that either.”
“Yes the economy has been through a bit of challenge but it hasn’t impacted us as much as you think. This is actually the time for us to go out there with products that are not correlated with the currency,” he said.