Absa unit trust funds register 265pc quarter growth to hit Sh1 billion

Absa Bank Kenya

Absa head office in Westlands, Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Absa Kenya’s unit trust scheme recorded the fastest growth in the collective investment scheme sector in the quarter ending June, hitting Sh1.05 billion in assets under management from Sh287 million in March.

The lender’s scheme, known as Absa Asset Management Limited, was licensed by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to run unit trust funds in November 2020, joining other tier-one lenders Equity Group, Co-operative Bank, and NCBA in operating unit trusts.

A bank running a wealth management unit is able to leverage its clientele to grow assets under management by offering this service as part of a suite of financial services that have also grown to include insurance.

The CMA’s latest statistical bulletin shows that the Sanlam unit trust scheme had the second-highest gain of 24.2 percent in the quarter, adding Sh2.5 billion to its assets under management to stand at Sh12.7 billion.

Coop Unit Trust Scheme grew its assets under management by Sh430 million or 13 percent to Sh3.73 billion in the period.

“A quarter-on-quarter comparison of performance between quarter two and quarter one of 2022 indicates that Absa Unit Trust Scheme registered the highest percentage increment of 265.01 percent, recording assets under management worth Sh1.05 billion as at June 2022,” said the CMA in its quarter three 2022 statistical bulletin.

Overall, the assets under management of the unit trust sector rose by three percent to Sh144.9 billion, with CIC Unit Trust Scheme maintaining its position as the biggest fund manager with a market share of 39.4 percent or Sh57.13 billion.

NCBA Unit Trust Scheme followed with assets worth Sh20.2 billion, accounting for 13.9 percent of the industry total. Out of the Sh144.9 billion assets, the bulk was invested in government securities and fixed deposits.

The bonds accounted for 45.6 percent or Sh66.1 billion of the investments, while the bank deposits took up 43.4 percent or Sh62.9 billion.

The weighting towards these two asset classes reflects new investment guidelines issued by the CMA to unit trusts to limit their money market fund investments to assets with a maximum duration of 13 months —effectively Treasury bills and bank deposits.

The CMA said the least proportion of asset classes invested in was off-shore investments, accounting for 0.33 percent of the portfolio held by unit trust schemes as at June 2022.

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