The Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) has expanded its product portfolio with the introduction of Unit Trusts as part of dedication towards making investments available to all Batswana through affordability and convenience.
Unit trusts afford retail investors the opportunity to pool their money together with other investors with similar objectives. Also the pool of money is managed by experienced investment managers of different assets in financial markets. They include a wide range of local and international equities, bonds, property and money market instruments.
The various assets purchased are combined into a portfolio and the value of the portfolio at any given time is split into equal portions or units.
Bifm Chief Executive Officer, Tiny Kgatlwane, says the diversification within unit trusts allows the risk to be spread across a range of assets which will provide better protection than placing it all in one area of the financial market. She also emphasized that Unit Trusts can help increase an individual’s income, capital growth or both.
Speaking during the Bifm Unit Trusts launch on Tuesday at Bifm offices, Kgatlwane pointed out that Unit Trust business is the culmination on the long term strategy as Bifm to be an integrated asset management company that focuses on institutional, as well as individual investors.
“Our focus will remain and continue to be on our clients and finding ways to provide them value and convenience through excellent client focus and service,” said Kgatlwane.
She pointed out that one can invest in Bifm Unit Trusts from as little as P200 a month or a lump sum of P1,000 and added that the Unit Trusts are an ideal investment opportunity for all Batswana, especially those that previously could not afford to invest large amounts in blue chip shares.
Bifm CEO noted that the year 2012 was a turbulent and challenging year for Bifm. She revealed that Post implementation of the new back office system was another key challenge faced.
She stated that whilst significant man hours were committed to embedding the system they experienced system failures and delays in the distribution of client reports.
Kgatlwane emphasized that significant progress had been made to address and minimize delays and inconveniences caused to clients.
“Investment performance as witnessed in 2011 continued to be a key challenge. Returns in beginning of the 2012 were unsatisfactory and disappointing. I am, however, pleased to report that during the second half of the year, they improved significantly; bolstered by the fruition of our disciplined long term investment approach,” said Kgatlwane.
She further revealed that the business has continued to steadily grow its property portfolio through subsidiary Khumo Property Asset Management to reach at least P1.5 billion of property assets under management.
“New properties, including Debswana House, Motheo Apartments and two retail properties in Broadhurst were added to the existing portfolio,” Kgatlwane stated.
For her part, Bifm Head of Retail, Setshwano Ngope, said the diverse Bifm Unit Trusts offering offers the investor the opportunity to select an investment portfolio that best suits them. She has also spoken about the four different funds being offered, which range from low to high risk.
“The decision you make about which fund to invest in, will depend on your financial position, life stage, investment objective and risk appetite. The Bifm Unit Trusts offer investors consistent long term growth, as the longer one’s investment horizon, the greater the potential for growth,” said Ngope.
She emphasized that for first time investors, the Bifm Unit Trusts suite of products will offer them access to professional fund management services, as well as flexibility, convenience and transparency.