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In a First Diaspora Bond, FG Successfully Raises $300m

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  • In a First Diaspora Bond, FG Successfully Raises $300m

There was cause for celebration Monday, when the federal government issued its first diaspora bond in the international capital market, raising the sum of $300 million at coupon rate of 5.625 per cent for a tenor of five years.

The Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, explained in a statement Monday that the diaspora bond, which was 130 per cent subscribed, was targeted principally at Nigerians abroad, to provide them with the opportunity to contribute to national development.

According to Nwankwo, the bond was structured as a retail instrument to appeal to a wide range of investors and was offered through private banks and wealth managers, rather than institutional investors, which normally deal in large volume transactions.

He revealed that there was considerable interest from investors from all over the world, with the issue attracting initial orders of about 190 per cent of the offered amount.

Final subscriptions were about 130 per cent of offer at the final price for the transaction.

“The diaspora bond has opened a new source of financing for the Federal Government of Nigeria for funding projects for the development of the country.

“This new window further enhances funding liquidity and flexibility of the Nigerian economy, which are necessary characteristics as the country gathers momentum towards the attainment of advanced economy status,” he said.

Nigeria is the first African country to issue a bond targeted at retail investors in the United States, a market highly regulated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (U.S. SEC).

The only previous U.S. SEC registration for an African country was targeted at institutional investors.

The issuance of a bond registered by the U.S. SEC provides an opportunity to access a wide range of investors, Nwankwo explained.
With this development, Nigeria can now routinely access funds from private banks and wealth managers in the U.S. and European markets: this opportunity is not available to other developing countries that have only issued Eurobonds.

Reacting to the successful debt raising, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said: “To have received the approval of the U.S. SEC was indicative that the highest level of transparency and accountability in the economic process has been attained.”

She explained that the bond should positively impact the country’s credit rating, transparency rating and financial market development index rating.

“The Diaspora Bond is the first bond issued by an African sovereign registered with both the U.S. SEC and the United Kingdom Listing Authority (UKLA) and targeted at retail investors,” she stressed.

With the successful issuance of the debut Diaspora Bond, Nigeria will establish a programme for raising funds from Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria in Diaspora, as an avenue for continuous participation in the development of the economy.

Market experts also hailed the move by the country, pointing out that Nigeria was able to raise the sum under the very restricted U.S. retail market.

This, according to experts, opened new window for programmed sourcing of diaspora funds.

“Unlike the Eurobond which restricts you to only institutional investors, to be authorised by U.S. and European regulators to issue a retail product means you can now approach wealth managers and private banks. In short, you have no more real restrictions,” one analyst who preferred not to be named, explained.

The international Joint Lead Managers to the issue were Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.

The Nigerian Joint Lead Managers were First Bank of Nigeria Limited and United Bank for Africa Plc.

Prior to its issuance, the presidential aide for foreign affairs and diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had urged all Nigerians to take advantage of the first ever diaspora offer by buying into the bond.

She said her office and Nigerians in the diaspora were excited about the offer, adding that it was a unique way of lubricating the interest of Nigerians abroad to participate in the development projects being carried out by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Preparatory to the debt issuance, Nwankwo had led the federal government delegation, comprising officials of the DMO, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Budget Office of the Federation on investor roadshows that took place in major cities of the world, including London, New York, Miami and Geneva.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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FBNQuest Mutual Funds returns 104%

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FBNQuest Asset Management, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings, has held yearly general meetings for five mutual funds managed by the firm.

The funds are the FBN Balanced Fund, FBN Smart Beta Equity Fund, FBN Eurobond Fund, FBN Bond Fund and the FBN Money Market Fund.

The Fund Manager continues to deliver commendable results, as demonstrated by strong performance across all its funds.

The FBN Bond Fund was the best performing of the mutual funds, returning 104.20 per cent over five-year while its US Dollar fund, the FBN Eurobond, returned 48.43 per cent in US dollars over the same period.

The Managing Director of FBNQuest Asset Management, Ike Onyia, said: “Our strong performance track record is premised on the research capabilities, insights and experience of our portfolio management and research teams. Our mutual funds serve as useful investment options useful in formulating unique and value-adding investment strategies for various client segments. This is because our range of mutual funds cut across various asset classes including equities, bonds and money markets.”

“Our funds remain easily accessible, as our goal is to continue to drive financial inclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financiainclusion and democratise wealth creation, by supporting the financial security aspiration of investors” he added.

Increasingly, financial markets are becoming complex to navigate and as a result, it will not be out of place for investors to actively seek the inclusion of mutual funds in their investment portfolio, which will serve as the structured gateway to such markets. Seeking the help of experienced financial planners to assist you in establishing your risk tolerance levels and advise on suitable options is highly recommended.

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SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the investing public to be wary of the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

SEC’s warning was conveyed via a circular issued in Abuja, Thursday to capital market operators.

It advised the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products.

The circular read: “The attention of the SEC has been drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign companies listed on securities exchanges registered in other jurisdictions.

“These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with capital market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”

The Commission categorically stated that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public.

Accordingly, the SEC notified CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms of the Commission’s position and advised them to desist henceforth.

Public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.

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SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall

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SoftBank Group Corp on Thursday racked up a roughly $33 billion gain on paper through the public market debut of South Korea’s largest e-commerce company, Coupang Inc, the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround for its $100 billion Vision Fund.

Shares of Coupang opened 81% above their offer price on Thursday, after the company raised $4.6 billion in the U.S. stock market’s biggest initial public offering this year.

SoftBank paid around $3 billion for a 37% stake in the company, according to sources familiar with earlier fund-raising, giving it a roughly $33 billion headline profit if prices hold.

Coupang’s hugely successful stock market launch is welcome news for SoftBank, which is grappling with the collapse of billions of dollars worth of funds linked to Britain’s Greensill Capital, a supply chain finance start-up.

Vision Fund is Greensill’s biggest backer.

The Japanese conglomerate last month reported third-quarter net profit ballooned more than 20 times thanks to a recovery at the Vision Fund, a huge venture capital operation famous for investing early in Uber and other tech industry startup successes.

Only a year ago, SoftBank had been smarting from the flopped IPO and collapse in value of office sharing firm WeWork, raising questions over whether Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had lost his midas touch and threatening plans to establish a successor to Vision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced Son to sell assets but a second deal reported by Reuters on Thursday bodes well for VF II, a second, smaller fund.

The $225 million late-stage funding round for healthcare startup Forward Health was its first major investment this year, following a pickup in activity and the group’s fortunes in the second half of 2020.

The Vision Fund also made $11 billion on a blockbuster market launch of DoorDash Inc in December, which valued the food delivery company at more than $70 billion.

It also made gains on home seller Opendoor Technologies Inc’s initial offering in December.

The fund still holds large stakes in China’s biggest ride-hailing firm Didi, as well as Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.

SoftBank is also trying to ride the mania for special purpose acquisition companies, launching a handful of blank-check firms this year, although none of them have found investment targets yet.

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