The world’s biggest pension fund posted the worst annual performance since the global financial crisis, with losses exacerbated by unfavorable currency moves and a foray into equity markets.
Japan’s $1.3 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund lost 3.8 percent in the year ended March 31, or 5.3 trillion yen ($51 billion), the retirement manager said Friday in Tokyo. That’s the biggest drop since the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009. GPIF lost 10.8 percent on domestic equities and 9.6 percent on shares in other markets, while Japanese bonds handed the fund a 4.1 percent gain.
The annual loss — GPIF’s first since doubling its allocation to stocks and paring domestic bond holdings in October 2014 — came during a volatile stint for markets. Japanese shares sank 13 percent in the year through March while the yen climbed 6.7 percent against the dollar, reducing returns from overseas investments. The only asset class to post a profit was local debt, which jumped in value as the Bank of Japan’s adoption of negative interest rates sent yields tumbling.
“The results are painful,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, a senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “Because it’s a pension fund, they need to have a long-term outlook, so I don’t think we can say yet that they took on too much risk. It was a harsh investment environment for most of us.”
In a press briefing in Tokyo after the results were announced, GPIF President Norihiro Takahashi said he will reflect on the performance, but that the current portfolio has enough flexibility to adapt to different market conditions and he wants to run the fund steadily. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief government spokesman, said GPIF’s management shouldn’t be influenced by short-term moves and there is absolutely no issue with its financing.
The fund also disclosed individual stock holdings and the issuers of the bonds it held as of March 2015, the first time it’s divulged such detail. GPIF’s biggest investments in stocks were Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. in Tokyo and Apple Inc. outside Japan. The fund’s largest debt holdings included Japanese government bonds and U.S. Treasuries. GPIF plans to announce its holdings as of March this year on Nov. 25, and is staggering the releases to avoid impacting markets, fund official Hiro Mitsuishi said on Monday.
GPIF held 22 percent of investments in local stocks at the end of March, and 38 percent in domestic bonds. Its overseas equity holdings made up 22 percent, while foreign debt accounted for 13 percent of its assets. Alternative investments were 0.06 percent of holdings, up from 0.04 percent at the end of 2015. GPIF targets allocations of 25 percent each for Japanese and overseas stocks, 35 percent for local bonds and 15 percent for offshore debt.
“They have more than enough room to increase their weighting to Japanese stocks,” said Makoto Sengoku, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
Almost 80 percent of GPIF’s holdings were passive investments, according to the statement. While GPIF’s losses can be mostly attributed to rocky markets and an index-hugging investment approach, its peer in Canada has done better. The $212 billion Canada Pension Plan Investment Board had a 3.4 percent return for the year ended March, with its biggest gain coming from private emerging-market equity investments and real estate.
Investors “have been fully aware that there would be losses,” Akio Yoshino, chief economist at Amundi Japan Ltd. in Tokyo, said before the fund posted earnings. “What’s more interesting is how this will be used politically, or even misused.”
GPIF’s performance was announced three weeks later than usual, sparking speculation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was holding off on releasing bad news until after upper-house elections held earlier this month. Opposition lawmakers have been critical of Abe’s decision to increase riskier assets, with the Democratic Party of Japan pledging to return GPIF’s investments to safer assets in its election manifesto.
“We’ve repeatedly pointed out that it’s problematic to invest in stocks, which are high-risk, but the situation is turning into what we feared,” DPJ President Katsuya Okada said in a press conference on July 1. “It’s a grave problem that could lead to reductions in future pensions.”
Investors, however, say GPIF should stay the course.
“They took on more risk, and they posted good returns before, but there’s going to be times when they see losses,” said Koichi Kurose, Tokyo-based chief market strategist at Resona Bank Ltd. “It can’t be helped.”
Private Sector to Invest N169.72bn Tax Credit in Four Roads Construction
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Executive Council, on Wednesday, approved N169.7bn private sector investments for at least four road infrastructures under the government’s Tax Credit Scheme.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made this known to the State House correspondents after the council meeting. At the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Fashola disclosed that the scheme was initiated in 2019 through Executive Order 7 signed by the President, and that the arrangement allowed private sector players to finance public infrastructure instead of paying taxes and then offset it over time using tax credits.
In the statement made available to Investors King, the four roads include a 234 kilometre stretch from Bali to Sheti through Gashaka to Gembu in Taraba State at the sum of N95,232,474,010.72 and the second road, which is also a tax credit scheme, is made up of three roads worth N74,486,577,050.
For the 234-kilometre road in Taraba costing N95.23bn, Fashola noted that N20bn under the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme would be disbursed to begin the project soonest.
“The two main memoranda relate to the uptake by the private sector in response to the tax credit programme, which we initiated in 2019, by Mr. President signing of Executive Order 7 to allow private sector finance public infrastructure in lieu of tax and then to offset it over time using tax credits.
“So the first road that was awarded today on that policy initiative is the rule road from Bali to Sheti through Gashaka to Gembu in Taraba State. A total of 234 kilometres reconstruction of that road in the sum of N95,232,474,010.62.
“The existing road, for those who are familiar with it, has no concrete stone base. It is just laterite on the asphalt so it doesn’t last and it’s breaking up and leading to potholes.
“So we’ve rewarded this now for reconstruction under the tax credit scheme, there’s a N20bn provision under the NNPC tax credit scheme that will be used to kickstart this immediately,” he said.
Fashola added that “the second road which is also the tax credit scheme, which was approved by the Council is actually three roads. The applicant, in this case, is Mainstream Energy Solutions, a major energy player in the country and is now seeking to also participate in this policy by investing a total of N74,486,577, 050.”
72% of North American Quant Fund Managers Struggle to Access High Quality Data
New research with fund managers in North America who collectively manage around $600 billion, reveals they are placing a growing emphasis on both the quality of the data used in their investment processes and on having access to the technological capabilities to efficiently process data (please see the attached press release). Six out of ten (60%) believe this is crucial to achieving above-average returns in the future.
The study, which was commissioned by quant technologies provider SigTech, found that 94% of fund managers find the process of evaluating data, ensuring it meets quality standards and negotiating with data vendors challenging. 72% say it is difficult to source data that is cleaned, validated and ready to use from vendors.
When it comes to onboarding new data sets, nearly six out of ten North American fund managers say they encounter problems, with 56% saying it takes between 1 and 6 months to have new data fully operational internally.
As a result of the many challenges North American fund managers encounter when sourcing and managing data, 64% expect to increase their budget in this area over the next few years.
When asked to pick the two asset classes where they encounter the greatest difficulty in accessing high quality data, 62% of North American fund managers cited fixed income, followed by 54% who selected commodities. In terms of the two financial instruments where they have the greatest difficulty in securing high quality data, 66% cited forwards, followed by cash/spot (58%) and then futures (40%)
In terms of outsourcing of data services, the study found that 64% of fund managers have increased their level of outsourcing over the last two years. Going forward, 77% plan to outsource more between now and 2024, with none seeing a decrease. When asked which factors are fuelling the growing trend towards data services outsourcing, a shortage of qualified in-house subject matter experts and resources was cited as the biggest driver.
Half of those surveyed (50%) found negotiating with data vendors the most frustrating part of the data onboarding process, and 60% say that evaluating the different vendors is challenging.
EUR 27 million European Investment Bank Backing for Cameroon Business Investment
The European Investment Bank today formally agreed to provide EUR 27 million of new long-term financing to support investment by entrepreneurs and businesses across Cameroon and strengthen economic resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The streamlined business financing represents the largest ever EIB support for private sector investment in Cameroon and is part of the EIB’s increased engagement with financial partners across Africa to strengthen economic resilience to the pandemic.
The two new credit lines will be managed by leading local financial partners, EUR 15 million by CCA Bank and EUR 12 million by Commercial Bank of Cameroon.
Cameroonian businesses accessing the new financing will benefit from lower cost of financing thanks to European Union support as part of broader support to improve the competitiveness of Cameroon’s private sector.
The new partnership between the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank, CCA Bank and Commercial Bank-Cameroun, will increase access to long-term finance by businesses across Cameroon. The new financing builds on close cooperation in recent years to support private sector investment across Africa and best practice cooperation with leading financial partners in Cameroon.
The new business financing will support investment by manufacturing, agriculture, services and trading companies across the country.
The EIB’s latest cooperation to support business investment in Cameroon was formally announced in Yaoundé by Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President, Alexis Megudjou, CEO of CCA Bank and Léandre Djummo, CEO of Commercial Bank-Cameroun, in the presence of Louis Paul Motazé, Minister of Finance, Achille Bassilekin III, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, and Philippe Van Damme, EU Ambassador.
“Increasing support for Cameroon’s productive private sector is a major focus of our national development strategy (SND30). From this point of view, the State has a duty to put in place an optimal, conducive and incentive framework for the development of entrepreneurship, particularly among the priority targets of young people and women. Agreement of new business financing credit lines totalling more than 17.7 billion FCFA, thanks to Cameroon’s Competitiveness Support Scheme, demonstrates a model for strengthening resilience for a sector severly impacted by COVID-19” said Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Integration.
“The new financing agreements confirmed today will help to strengthening the productive capacities of our SMEs, in particular in manufacturing and accelerate post-Covid recovery. This is essential to ensure that SME’s can access finance and lead our country’s structural economic transformation agenda”. said Achille Bassilekin III, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social Economy and Crafts. Enterprises.
“Companies across Cameroun have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial Bank Cameroun is supporting private sector investment across our country and enabling our corporate, business, especially those in the processing sector to invest for the future and create economic opportunities. The European Investment Bank has previously agreed to support EUR 14 million of new long-term financing for entrepreneurs and businesses across Cameroun. Recently a new EUR 12 million business financing has been granted to Commercial bank Cameroon, for a total of EUR 26 million financing. The new EUR 12 million support provided by European Investment Bank and EU backing for Commercial Bank will unlock new private sector financing to be provided by our branches across the country for private businesses.” said Léandre Djummo, Director General of Commercial Bank.
“Increasing access to finance by entrepreneurs and businesses is essential to overcome economic challenges enhanced by COVID-19 and unlock business expansion. The EIB’s latest cooperation with leading financial partners here in Cameroon demonstrates how together EU and African partners are helping to beat COVID and ensure that private sector business can invest, create jobs and grow. As part of Team Europe, the European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 15 million of new targeted financing to CCA Bank and EUR 12 million to Commercial Bank of Cameroon to unlock new private sector financing essential to strengthen private sector investment, create jobs and accelerate the post-pandemic recovery of Cameroon.” said Thomas Ostros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.
“The European Union is committed to supporting the private sector in Africa. The Team Europe cooperation with the European Investment Bank will increase access to targeted business finance by companies across Cameroon. The new EUR 27 million financing scheme with CCA Bank and Commercial Bank of Cameroon will create jobs, unlock business growth and enable Cameroonian companies to seize new business opportunities in the years ahead.” said Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, Head of the European Union Delegation to Cameroun.
Supporting investment by businesses across Cameroon during challenging times
The two new 7 year EIB credit lines with CCA Bank and Commercial Bank of Cameroon will allow new financing to be provided to private businesses, notably SMEs, across Cameroon.
The new financing will allow longer average loan tenors for business loans and enable companies to better reflect the economic life of new investment.
Ensuring that Cameroon benefits from EIB response to strengthen economic resilience to COVID
The new cooperation represents the EIB’s first support for business investment with CCA Bank and the second with Commercial Bank of -Cameroun and the first private sector financing in Cameroon in two years.
The scheme is part of the EIB’s increased engagement across Africa to ensure that companies can continue to access finance when faced with unprecedented health, business and trade challenges linked to COVID-19, approved by European Union finance ministers in April 2020, within weeks of the impact of the pandemic being recognised.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states.
Since the pandemic EIB has provided more than EUR 8 billion for private and public investment across Africa.
Government4 weeks ago
IMF/IMFC Warns Russia-Ukraine War Has Humanitarian Consequences
Government4 weeks ago
Strengthening Women’s Role in Politics is Key to Solving Today’s Crises
Finance3 weeks ago
Kigali to Host the Commonwealth’s Landmark African Anti-corruption Conference
Finance2 weeks ago
Dollar to Naira Today Thursday, 5 May 2022
Naira4 weeks ago
Naira Improves Against Pounds Sterling and Euro on Monday
Banking Sector3 weeks ago
FirstBank Wins Best Bank in Nigeria and Best Bank in Digital Transformation Nigeria 2022
Finance4 weeks ago
Unilever Nigeria Shakes Off Covid-19 Effect, Records N1.796 Billion Profit in Q1 2022
Banking Sector3 weeks ago
Fidelity Bank Announces 29% Increase in Gross Earnings in Q1 2022