UT and Capital Bank takeover: A few clarifications for stakeholders

capital bank

The takeover of UT and Capital Bank has resulted in many raised questions by various stakeholders. On 14th August 2017, the Bank of Ghana revoked the licence of both UT Bank and Capital Bank Ltd. This followed a takeover of the two banks by GCB Bank Ltd. While related information continue to unfold, below is a summary of the few clarifications gathered so far.

Why the takeover

Both UT and Capital Banks had been declared insolvent by the Bank of Ghana (BOG). An institution is considered insolvent if its liabilities exceed its assets. In order to protect the banking system, in particular customers, the BOG decided to cancel their licenses. In accordance with the Banks and Specialised Deposit–Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), the BOG was further mandated to possess and resolve the failing banks (UT and Capital Banks). There are many ways to resolve a failing bank in the banking industry. A common among them is the purchase and assumption (P&A) transaction used by the BOG.

With the purchase and assumption transaction, a healthy bank is appointed to take over the running of the unhealthy bank. In this case, the BOG settled on GCB bank to take over UT and Capital bank.

P&A transaction vs. stocks (shares) transaction

Purchase and assumption transaction differ from stocks transaction in the following ways. In purchase and assumption transaction, the buyer (in this case GCB bank) specifies which assets and liabilities it is willing to acquire, while leaving other liabilities behind. On the other hand, a stock purchase requires the buyer to purchase the company’s stocks which may come with unforeseen liabilities. GCB Bank therefore took over all deposits, selected assets and liabilities of the two banks. Liabilities that were not assumed by GCB Bank would be settled by the receiver.

The role of the receiver

The Bank of Ghana appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as the receiver to manage assets that were not taken over by GCB Bank. As a receiver, PWC would liquidate such assets and work with stakeholders to recover them. In other words, the role of PWC is to distribute all proceeds from liquidated assets to stakeholders such as creditors and shareholders after determining the validity of their claims. Distribution of proceeds would however be done according to the priority of claims which is in line with Banks and SDIs Act, 2016 (Act 930).

The fate of existing customers

According to the BOG, all depositors of UT and Capital Bank will have access to the full amount of their deposits. In addition, they will be able to access their accounts and continue banking transactions with GCB Bank Ltd. Customers of the two banks will henceforth become GCB Bank customers. They may continue banking at the old Capital Bank and UT Bank branch locations (which are now part of GCB Bank branches).

Fate of employees

Workers of UT and Capital Bank are to be put on probation for 6 months while the full transition of their companies into GCB Bank Ltd is completed. Completion of the transition is expected to take approximately six months. Following the transition, some workers are expected to be retained while others will be shown the exit. It is understood that senior level management of both banks, in particular those found guilty of causing the collapse of the two banks, will be the hardest hit.

Fate of shareholders

Shareholders of UT Bank Ltd. are required to patiently wait as the relevant transaction partners in the takeover process determine their fate. According to the Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Mr. Kofi Yamoah, UT Bank shareholders may have to wait a little longer until their benefits or losses are determined. He explained further that this would depend on the available funds and direction from the receiver, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC).

The GSE boss however clarified that the takeover of the assets of UT Bank does not necessarily translate into a shareholders swap.

This is not a transaction in shares so if you are a shareholder in UT, you do not necessarily translate into a shareholder of GCB. GCB has not bought the shares of UT Bank; they have taken over certain liabilities and assets of UT Bank.

Meanwhile the Bank of Ghana has indicated that the shareholders of Capital Bank will not be compensated.

Mr. Raymond Amanfu, the Head of Banking Supervision of the Bank of Ghana, added that discussions with the Ghana Stock Exchange in the coming days will determine the way forward for shareholders who bought shares of UT Bank from the stock market.

GSE suspends UT Bank Limited of its listing status

UT bank

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) has with effect from Monday, August 14, 2017 suspended the listing status of UT Bank Limited indefinitely.

UT Bank has failed to publish its financial results since the end of its financial year December 31, 2015. The non-publication is in breach of the continuing listing obligations under the GSE Listing Rules. The GSE has collaborated closely with Bank of Ghana (BoG), the regulator for banks on this matter.

The suspension has also become necessary due to the revocation of the licence of UT Bank by BoG effective Monday, August 14, 2017 in a letter to the Exchange dated August 11, 2017. In the said BoG letter, the BoG has approved a purchase and assumption agreement by GCB Bank Limited to acquire the total deposit liabilities and some selected good assets of UT Bank.

The GSE will continue to collaborate closely with BoG and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ensure that the interest of shareholders of UT Bank are protected in accordance with the GSE Rules and any guidelines or notices that may be issued by BoG.

Further information, thorough Press Releases will be published as appropriate.

Issued in Accra, this 14th day of August, 2017.

 

Credit: GSE

Could these listed companies be classified as foundational stocks?

If you have keenly been following the series on ‘get to know your mutual funds’, you would realise that in each post, the top 5 equity holdings of the fund’s portfolio are highlighted. Interestingly, of the few mutual funds covered so far, there appears to be much similarity in their various top 5 equity holdings. In other words, most of the mutual funds list similar companies as their top 5 equities. Out of curiosity, other mutual funds were also looked into to find out if the similarity trend would remain unchanged. To achieve this, some of the most recent annual reports (where available) of major mutual funds were examined. In all, 19 annual reports were studied, which covered 7 different mutual funds (both equity and balanced funds). The main purpose was to figure out if the topmost equities repeating more frequently in the various mutual funds could be considered as foundational stocks. In doing so, these stocks could become a sort of principal, key or foremost stock picks for investment portfolios. Many would agree, to some extent, that mutual funds are managed professionally by fund managers. Hence, following in the footsteps of these fund managers by replicating some of their top stock picks can be useful.

Why foundational stocks?

Investing in stocks is one of the most proven means to build wealth. However, picking the right stocks from the market can be challenging, especially for the novice investor. One requires a good portfolio mix comprising the right stocks in order to be successful. Just like building a house requires strong foundation to ensure its robustness, building wealth with stocks may equally require careful selection of stocks, in particular, starting with good foundational stocks. A poor foundation can cause your building to tremble or worse, topple down, so do poor foundational stocks can cause to your investment portfolio. Arguably, maintaining strong foundational stocks in your investment portfolio comes with some benefits such as good investment returns. Moreover, strong foundational stocks can somehow protect an investor from the impacts of market falls.

Summary procedure for selecting foundational stocks

As stated earlier, the top 5 equity holdings of seven (7) different mutual funds were compared. The mutual funds were Databank Epack, Databank Bfund, SAS Fortune Fund, HFC Equity trust, HFC Future Plan, CDH Balanced Fund and FirstBanc Heritage Fund. To ensure the use of up-to-date data for decision making, data covering the latest three years (2016, 2015 and 2014) were utilised. The topmost equities frequently appearing in the various mutual funds were preliminary grouped, followed by brief background study of their performances. The table below provides comparison between the top 5 equity holdings of the seven different mutual funds. For detailed (raw) data of the top equity holdings compilation, click on this link: Top five equity holdings of selected mutual funds.

 

Table 1: Comparison of top 5 equity holdings of selected mutual funds

 

Mutual fund

Top 5 Ghanaian equity holdings

2016

2015

2014

1 Databank Epack EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, MAC EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, TOTAL EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, SOGEGH
2 Databank Bfund EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL EGL, EGH, GCB, SCB, TOTAL
3 SAS Fortune Fund EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL EGH, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL EGH, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL
4 HFC Equity Trust EGH, FML, GCB, TOTAL, GOIL EGH, ETI, GCB, TOTAL, GOIL EGH, HFC, GCB, EGL, TOTAL
5 HFC Future Plan EGL, FML, GCB, SCB, GOIL EGL, ETI, TOTAL, SCB, GOIL EGH, HFC, GCB, SCB, CAL
6 *CDH Balanced Fund CAL, FML, GCB CAL, FML, GCB Fund was not yet established
7 FirstBanC Heritage Fund Annual report not available EGL, EGH, GCB, SCB, SOGEGH EGL, SOGEGH, GCB, TOTAL, GOIL

*CDH invested in only three (3) stocks.

Observations and analysis

From the table above, GCB bank Ltd. (GCB) occurs 18 times out of the 19 studied annual reports. This is followed by Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd. (SCB) which can be counted 13 times out of the 19 annual reports. The rest, in descending order, are Fan Milk Limited (FML), 12 times; Enterprise Group Limited (EGL), 12 times; Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), 10 times; Ecobank Ghana Limited (EGH), 8 times; Total Petroleum Ghana Limited (TOTAL), 7 times; Societe Generale Ghana Limited (SOGEGH), 3 times. CAL Bank Limited (CAL), 3 times; Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), 2 times; HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited (HFC), 2 times; Mega African Capital Limited (MAC), once.

In total, 12 different stocks could be found in the top five equity holdings of the mutual funds. However, considering the comparatively low occurrences of SOGEGH, CAL, ETI, HFC and MAC, they were delisted, leaving the rest of the seven stocks as the preliminary group for further studies.

 

Table 2: Preliminary group of foundational stocks

Stock Number of occurrences in top 5 holdings
GCB 18
SCB 13
FML 12
EGL 12
GOIL 10
EGH 8
TOTAL 7

To study further on the above stocks, their historical performance trends were looked into. Simply, two main performance indices were examined- annual returns and dividend yields. It must be noted that stocks with fairly good returns can be indication of investors’ confidence in the companies. Furthermore, while dividend pay-outs provide regular income source, they also signal financial stability of companies. The latest 5-year annual returns and dividend yields of the stocks can be seen in the tables below.

Table 3: Latest 5-year performance results

Company Trading symbol Return, %
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016  Average
1 Enterprise Group Limited EGL 26.3 291.7 -6.9 37.1 0 69.6
2 Fan Milk Limited FML 50.4 86.5 -20.7 40 51.7 41.6
3 Ghana Oil Company Limited GOIL 93.8 43.5 19.1 33.3 -21.4 33.7
4 GCB Bank Limited GCB 13.5 131 13.4 -34.9 -6.1 23.4
5 Ecobank Ghana Limited EGH -6.3 87 35.5 7.6 -8.6 20
6 Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd. SCB -74.7 29.9 36.2 -19.9 -25.2 -10.7
7 Total Petroleum Ghana Limited TOTAL 18.5 N/A 20.6 -16.4 -61.2 -9.6
GSE all-share-index 23.81 78.81 5.4 -11.77 -15.33 16.18

 

Table 4: Latest 5-year dividend yield

Company Trading symbol Dividend yield, %
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Average
1 Enterprise Group Limited EGL 3.33 0.00 1.43 1.04 2.1 1.58
2 Fan Milk Limited FML 1.13 0.00 1.71 0.00 1.4 0.85
3 Ghana Oil Company Limited GOIL 2.26 1.61 1.52 0.00 1.8 1.44
4 GCB Bank Limited GCB 3.33 2.94 3.96 8.44 8.7 5.47
5 Ecobank Ghana Limited EGH 8 5.18 5.66 11.27 12 8.42
6 Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd. SCB 26.52 3.14 5.65 0.00 2.3 7.52
7 Total Petroleum Ghana Limited TOTAL 2.81 13.72 1.61 2.25 2.3 4.54

In terms of annual performance, with the exception of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Total Petroleum Ghana Ltd. (TOTAL), the rest of the stocks show impressive positive results. Moreover, their average returns exceed that of the GSE (all-share index) in the same period. Enterprise group limited (EGL) beats the GSE index in 4 out of 5 years. Fan Milk and GCB similarly perform better than the market index in 4 out of 5 years while Ecobank and GOIL both exceed the index in 3 out of 5 years.

For dividend yields, Ecobank Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank lead with impressive average yields of 8.42% and 7.52% respectively.

It may also interest you that five of these stocks had even been commended in an earlier article recently. In the article by Kofi Busia Kyei (a financial analyst), EGL, EGH, FML, GOIL, and GCB were highlighted together with UNIL and BOPP as the few listed stocks that had offered great returns to investors in the past 10 years (Refer to the chart below).

foundational stocks _performance
Figure 1: 10-year return of selected stocks on the GSE Credit: Kofi Busia Kyei (a financial analyst)

Even though the performance trend of SCB doesn’t look so good, the high extent of its occurrence in the top five holdings of the various mutual funds may be due to positive future projections. The fund managers may have realised from their analysis, good earning or growth expectations of SCB, thus chasing its shares. Don’t forget that SCB is one of the few stocks that have recorded impressive returns in the current year so far. In fact, since the beginning of the year, its share price has appreciated by 115.52% as of 8th August 2017. Hence, considering it in our foundational stocks can be worth it. Unfortunately, because of the comparative low performance of TOTAL, in addition to its least number of occurrences in the top five holdings of the funds, delisting it from the group may be helpful for now. As a result, GCB, SCB, FML, EGL, GOIL and EGH can be finally listed as our proposed foundational stocks- six foundational stocks made up of three banking stocks, one insurance stock, one manufacturing stock and one petroleum stock (see Figure 2 below).

Foundational stocks
Figure 2: Proposed foundational stocks comprising six listed companies

Conclusion

The similarities between top 5 equity holdings of various mutual funds gave rise to this write-up. Through comparison and further background studies, six listed companies have been proposed as foundational stocks. These can be useful to investors in building their stock portfolios.

If you’re a new investor deciding on buying stocks from the exchange, you can think of starting with at least, one of these companies. Furthermore, investors who are already trading in stocks may also consider rebalancing their existing portfolio and perhaps buy more of these particular stocks.

Finally, if you’re yet to own shares of these stocks, my personal advice is to begin moderately with the ones that have already attained high appreciation in their share prices. For instance, the year-to-date returns of GOIL and SCB are currently 108.18% and 115.52% respectively, as of 8th August 2017. Even though they still have the potential to continue with their gains, the potential to fall is also inevitable due to the high prices already achieved.

 

Buying low-priced stocks: The benefits we underrate

low-priced stocks

Basically, listed companies on the stock market can be placed under two categories in terms of their share prices. On one side, there is the category of stocks that trade at comparatively high price per share. On the other side, there is another category that fairly trade at low price per share. One deliberation when it comes to stock trading is the decision on whether to purchase low-priced stocks or high-priced stocks. A few investors argue that buying low-priced stocks comes with many benefits. For instance, Warren Buffett, a veteran investor, argues that:

The key to successful investing is to buy low, [and] sell high.

Low-priced stocks may however not be necessarily cheap. In other words, it is important to look beyond the mere cheap price of a stock. This is because a number of factors can contribute to how high or low a stock price can be. For example, during stock split (when an institution decides to divide its existing shares into multiples), the price per each of the divided shares reduces by default while their values remain unchanged. When the shares of an institution become undervalued, it can also lead to a low-priced stock. Undervalued stocks are stocks that are sold at prices presumed to be below their true intrinsic value.

Due to the above contributing factors, using only the market price of a stock to determine its worth may be sometimes deceptive. In fact, some stocks may not be even worth the low price being paid for. For instance, cheap stocks that post fewer earnings may turn out to be costly if their price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is high. Note that in general, the higher the P/E ratio, the more expensive the stock. The Ghana Stock Exchange publishes P/E ratios of the various listed stocks on its website. Recognising the underlying (or intrinsic) value of a stock when making decision on low-priced stocks would be useful.

Now, before we begin to list some of the benefits of buying low-priced stocks, we should bear in mind that buying low-priced stocks may also come with some downsides. In the meantime, let’s focus on their upsides.

 

  1. Lower initial investment

Low-priced stocks offer investors the opportunity to start with minimal amounts. This is particularly beneficial for low income earners as well as new investors who may not have that much to begin with. Besides, it makes it easier for one to invest as much of his investible money as possible. Remember that shares are bought in wholes, not in fractions. For instance, you cannot purchase 2.5 shares of a company’s stocks. Neither can you purchase 2.99 units of shares from the stock market- You are allowed to purchase in whole numbers such as 2 shares, 3 shares, etc. Let’s assume that you have only GH¢50 at your disposal to purchase some stocks on the GSE. With this amount, you can only afford one share of AGA (AngloGold Ashanti Limited) which is currently traded at GH¢37 per share. Thus, the remaining GH¢13 may be left idly. Meanwhile, the same GH¢50 could purchase 55 shares of CAL bank stocks (currently traded at GH¢0.9 per share), leaving just GH¢0.5 unused. In effect, low-priced stocks can offer maximum utilisation of one’s investment.

 

  1. High potential for growth

Low-priced stocks, in particular, undervalued stocks, appear to have greater potential for growth. In general, it is likely for the share price of a low-priced stock to rise steeply if the company comes out with something favourable. This places its shareholders in good position to make some gains. With any slightest increase in share price, investors owning more stocks stand a greater chance to increase their returns. For example, an investor with GH¢500 can purchase 10,000 shares of a stock priced at GH¢0.05 If the share price of this stock increases by 0.01 to GH¢0.06, the investor’s stock value would be GH¢600 (that is, 10000×0.06). This would be 20% appreciation from the original purchase price. In comparison, if an investor use the same GH¢500 to purchase 100 shares of a stock priced at GH¢5, he may not achieve similar results when the price of the stock appreciates by 0.01. In this instance, the value of the investor’s stocks would be GH¢501 (that is, 100×5.01), representing just a 0.2% appreciation.

It may also be important to note that not all low-priced stocks have the potential to appreciate exponentially at a given time. Moreover, the price movement of a few low-priced stocks tend to be erratic and risky. A typical example is CPC (Cocoa Processing Company) stock, known to be one of the low-priced stocks on the Ghana Stock Exchange. In fact, the share price of CPC can increase or drop by 50% within a particular trading day. Over the past five years, CPC stock (currently priced at GH¢0.02/share) has periodically enjoyed substantial [±50%] price movements within some particular years. Notwithstanding these significant movements, the opening and closing prices of CPC stock have remained unchanged in each of the individual years (since 2011). In effect, in terms of annual returns, CPC stock has recorded 0% from 2011 to 2016.

 

  1. The potential for high dividend earnings

Dividends are paid on each share held by a shareholder. This means that the higher the number of shares owned, the higher the earnings derived from dividends. All things being equal, as stock prices fall, they become cheaper to buy. Thus, you get the chance to buy an investment at a bargain rate. Low-priced stocks offer you the advantage of acquiring increased number of shares at the same monetary value. Let’s have a look at the example below:

Two investors, Gadasu and Ashai, both had GH¢1,000 at their disposal to purchase some stocks on the Ghana Stock Exchange. They both settled on purchasing shares of Societe Generale Ghana Limited (SOGEGH). However, Gadasu completed his purchase on 31st December 2014 while Ashai bought his shares two years later, on 30th December 2016. The price per share of SOGEGH on 31st December 2014 and 30th December 2016 was GH¢1 and GH¢0.62 respectively. Hence, with the GH¢1000, Gadasu possessed 1000 shares while Ashai owned 1612 shares of SOGEGH.

Now, in May 2017, Societe Generale paid a dividend of GH¢0.033/share to each qualified shareholder.  Gadasu and Ashai therefore earned GH¢33 and GH¢53.2 respectively from the dividend pay-outs.

It can be deduced from the above example that the low price of SOGEGH stock in 2016 gave Ashai the advantage to acquire more number of shares compared to what Gadasu attained in 2014. Ashai’s increased number of shares therefore made him earn more in dividends than Gadasu even though they equally invested GH¢1000. Unfortunately, not all companies follow a regular pattern of dividend payments. Furthermore, the dividend yield of many stocks may be considered too low. Thus, the advantage of earning more dividends from low-priced stocks may not be practical for all stocks.

 

  1. Improved diversification

Diversification continues to be a common term in the investment world due to the associated positive outcomes. Earlier in this post, it was mentioned that low-priced stocks make it affordable for investors to start with minimal amounts of money. The affordability factor allows investors to be able to invest a small amount of money in a diversified portfolio. Now, imagine a low-income earner who wish to invest GH¢50 in a diversified stock portfolio. If this investor selects Anglogold Ashanti (AGA) as one of his stock picks, he may end up spending almost all his GH¢50 on just a single share of AGA since one share of AGA is priced at about GH¢37. On the other hand, the investor may be able to purchase a mix of stocks comprising CAL bank (currently priced at about GH¢0.9), SOGEGH (currently priced at GH¢0.75) and probably GOIL (currently priced at GH¢2.29). For example, out of the GH¢50, he could spend GH¢20 on 22 CAL shares, GH¢10 on 13 shares of SOGEGH and GH¢20 on 8 shares of GOIL. This therefore gives the investor the opportunity to reap many of the benefits associated with investment diversification.

GSE begin second half of the year with impressive performance

GSE returns

Just one month into the second half of the year, the year-to-date (YTD) return of the Ghana Stock Exchange has tremendously increased from its half-year figure of 16.31% to 31.99% as of 24th July 2017. To this effect, the percentage gained so far in the month of July alone is fairly equal to the overall percentage achieved by the bourse in the first half of the year. The graph below depicts the monthly trend of GSE YTD return for the year so far.

GSE return 2017
Monthly trend of GSE YTD return

Increased market activity played a major factor for the remarkable performance in July. In particular, the sustained interest of investors in stocks such as Standard Chartered Bank contributed to the successive gains on the exchange. In the month of July alone (between 1st and 24th July), Standard Chartered Bank has gained an additional return of 55.43 %. This exceeds the return of 39.98% it recorded in the first six months of the year. Besides Standard Chartered Bank, other stocks that have made good returns in the 3-week period (between 1st and 24th July) are HFC Bank, Fan Milk Limited, Ghana Oil Company Ltd. (Goil) and Benso Oil Plantation Ltd. (BOPP). Between 1st and 24th July 2017, HFC Bank, Fan Milk Limited, Goil, and BOPP have recorded positive returns of 32.73%, 25.21%, 15.79% and 14.06% respectively.

Despite the continuous impressive performance of the exchange, a number of stocks such as Agricultural Development Bank, Golden Web Limited, Cocoa Processing Company Ltd., Mechanical Lloyd Company Limited and Clydestone (Ghana) Ltd. have still not recorded any positive return in the year so far.

Dividend yield of stocks on Ghana Stock Exchange

dividend yield ghana

Earlier this year, I wrote about dividend payments of selected stocks on the Ghana Stock Exchange. In the same post, I mentioned the importance of dividend yield as a comparison criterion of how well dividends are paid by different stocks. Generally, it would be deceptive to compare just the dividend figures of two different stocks and conclude that one stock pays better dividend than the other. This is mainly due to the varying differences in the prices of various stocks. Note that dividends are paid per each share owned by an investor. Thus, to earn a meaningful dividend income, one must own an appreciable number of stocks. Now, imagine purchasing equal number of stocks of two different companies such as GOIL and AGA (AngloGold Ashanti Limited). GOIL and AGA currently trade at about GH¢2 and GH¢37 per share respectively. Hence, to purchase 100 stocks each of GOIL and AGA, you would require at least GH¢200 and GH¢3700 respectively. In a way, you need to invest more in AGA in order to own equal number of stocks as GOIL. Let’s assume that GOIL and AGA decide to pay GH¢0.06 and GH¢0.12 respectively as dividends to their shareholders. Owning 100 stocks each of GOIL and AGA imply that you would earn GH¢6 and GH¢12 from GOIL and AGA respectively. Comparing these amounts at face value, one may be tempted to conclude that the AGA’s dividend is twice better than the GOIL’s dividend. Nevertheless, don’t forget that you invested only GH¢200 in GOIL to earn the dividend income of GH¢6 while you invested a whooping GH¢3700 in AGA to earn the GH¢12. As you can see, it is surely better to earn GH¢6 on a GH¢200 investment in comparison to earning GH¢12 on a GH¢3700 investment. To avoid such deceptive comparisons of dividend payments, dividend yield is rather used.

By definition, dividend yield is dividend expressed as a percentage of a stock price. That is, Dividend yield = (dividend per share/price per share) × 100. Due to the continuous fluctuation of stock prices, dividend yield is normally estimated in reference to a stock’s closing price for a particular period (such as a financial year). Also, dividend yields of a present financial year are usually calculated based on the dividend payments for the previous financial year. For instance, to estimate the dividend yield of GCB bank for the 2016 financial year, one can utilise GCB’s dividend payment for the 2015 financial year (which was GH¢0.33/share) and GCB stock’s closing price for the same period (GH¢3.79). Thus, dividend yield of GCB bank for 2016 financial year = (0.33/3.79) × 100 = 8.7%

A stock’s dividend yield may depend on many factors such as the business sector, cash flow as well as policy regarding dividend pay-outs. For example, it is believed that stable institutions such as the banking sector mostly pay good dividends on their stocks. In addition, factors such as a sharp decline or increase in stock prices can also have an impact on the dividend yield of stocks. Let’s assume that ‘company A’, whose stock price closes the year at GH¢5 per share, declare a dividend of GH¢0.3 per share. The dividend yield, in this case, would be 6%. Now, if the stock price of ‘company A’ declines from the GH¢5 to GH¢2 the following year while it maintains the same dividend of GH¢0.3 per share, the company’s dividend yield would definitely shoot up to 15%.

Dividend yields can be of many benefits. In a post about the performance of stocks on the GSE, I made mention that capital gains (owing to price appreciation of stocks) alone do not constitute the total performance of stocks. In fact, dividend yield plays an important role when it comes to the overall profit or yield of a stock. For example, if the price of a stock goes up by 20% in a particular year and the company further pays a dividend reflecting a yield of 5% for the same year, the overall return of the stock would be 25%.

In a period of falling markets, dividend yield remains one main consolation to investors. Using 2015 and 2016 as typical examples when the Ghana Stock Exchange made losses of -11.77% and -15.33% respectively, an investor who benefited from an average dividend yield of 4% could be better off than one who gained none or less dividend yield. Good dividend yields can be particularly useful for investors who seek to grow their investment and at the same time receive some regular income. It must however be stressed here that the payment of high dividends by companies may also come at a cost as it can deny the companies of potential reinvestments.

Historical dividend yields of listed companies

Even though historical data does not guarantee future prospects, one may still be able to guess the future dividend of a company based on the historical trend of the company’s dividend yield. This is even more useful for investors who seek high dividend income. In the table below, you will find the historical dividend yield of listed companies of the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Historical dividend yield of stocks on GSE
Company
Trading symbol
Dividend yield, %
Average, %
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 AngloGold Ashanti Limited Depository shares AADS 0.81 1.00 2.51 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.72
2 Access Bank Ghana ABG *NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
3 African Champion Industries Limited ACI 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
4 Agricultural Development Bank ADB NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
5 AngloGold Ashanti Limited AGA 21.9 0.38 0.51 1.22 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.00
6 Aluworks Limited ALW 9.1 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.14
7 Ayrton Drugs Manufacturing Co. Ltd. AYRTN 0.8 1.31 0.0 0.69 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.35
8 Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited BOPP 3.3 4.43 4.88 4.93 2.41 0.81 2.82 1.90 3.19
9 CAL Bank Limited CAL 7.3 1.6 4.64 6.84 3.57 5.25 5.3 9.7 5.53
10 Clydestone (Ghana) Limited CLYD 3.8 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.48
11 Camelot Ghana Limited CMLT 2.8 0.0 12.5 0.00 0.00 5 0.00 6.25 3.32
12 Cocoa Processing Company Limited CPC 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.16
13 Ecobank Ghana Limited EGH 5.7 0.0 6.27 8 5.18 5.66 11.27 12 6.76
14 Enterprise Group Limited EGL 0.7 5 1.58 3.33 0.00 1.43 1.04 2.1 1.90
15 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated ETI 21.3 2.82 0.0 2.25 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.8 3.65
16 Fan Milk Limited FML 1.0 4.08 0.84 1.13 0.00 1.71 0.00 1.4 1.27
17 GCB Bank Limited GCB 6.9 1.32 3.78 3.33 2.94 3.96 8.44 8.7 4.92
18 Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited GGBL 2.9 2.49 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.67
19 NewGold Issuer Limited GLD NA NA NA NA NA
20 Ghana Oil Company Limited GOIL 5.2 3.59 0.0 2.26 1.61 1.52 0.00 1.8 2.00
21 Golden Star Resources Limited GSR 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
22 Golden Web Limited GWEB 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
23 HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited HFC 1.6 3.41 3.56 4.89 0.00 2.33 6.67 7.06 3.69
24 Mega African Capital Limited MAC NA NA NA NA NA 0.00 0.83 1 0.61
25 Mechanical Lloyd Company Limited MLC 3.0 0.0 5.45 4 0.00 3.57 5.26 5.3 3.32
26 Produce Buying Company Limited PBC 0.8 3.52 4.89 5.18 7.33 8.8 12.57 6.16
27 Pioneer Kitchenware Limited PKL 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
28 PZ Cussons Ghana Limited PZC 1.59 2.09 2.83 7.53 6.65 0.30 3.50
29 Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd. SCB 5.0 2.79 26.52 3.14 5.65 0.00 2.3 6.49
30 Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd. (Prefrence shares) SCB PREF 10.00
31 SIC Insurance Company Limited SIC 5.9 4.43 5.21 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.22
32 Societe Generale Ghana Limited SOGEGH 10.0 7.45 8.33 5.33 6 Bonus shares 9.5 7.77
33 Starwin Products Limited SPL 2.0 0.0 28 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.29
34 Sam Woode Limited SWL 16.7 0.0 0 0.00 10 0.00 30.00 8.10
35 Trust Bank (Gambia) Limited TBL 2.6 0.0 4.29 0.00 0.91 5.88 9.6 3.33
36 Tullow Oil Plc TLW NA NA 0.0 0.39 0.00 0.00 0.46 0.46 0.22
37 Total Petroleum Ghana Limited TOTAL 3.5 3.4 2.81 13.72 1.61 2.3 4.56
38 Transol Solutions Ghana Limited TRANSOL 0.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
39 Unilever Ghana Limited UNIL 3.6 4.32 5.63 1.40 2.39 3.01 2.3 3.24
40 UT Bank Ghana Limited UTB 0.15 0.12 4.55 8 0.00 0.00 2.14

*NA: Not available, mainly due to company not listed by then.

Credit: GSE

 Dividend yield of stocks: Brief observations

From the above data, dividend yields of the financial sector appear to be higher than that of the other sectors. A few banks having a good average dividend yields for the period under study are CAL bank (5.53%), Ecobank Ghana (6.76%), GCB bank (4.92%), Standard Chartered Bank (4.49%) and Societe Generale Ghana Limited (7.77%). As earlier stated, the industrial sector of a company can have an influence on its dividend yield.

Even though dividend yields of the manufacturing sector are not that encouraging, there are a few exceptions. For instance, the average dividend yield of Benso Oil Palm Plantation Ltd., PZ Cussons, and Unilever Ghana Ltd. are 3.19%, 3.5% and 3.24% respectively. These are comparatively better than some of their counterparts in the manufacturing sector.

The average dividend yields of some companies, although good, are not evenly distributed over the years. One of such companies is AGA whose average dividend of 3% is mainly contributed by its 2009 dividend yield of 21.9%. ETI’s average dividend yield of 3.65% is similarly contributed by its 2009 dividend yield of 21.3%. Unfortunately, there are companies that have paid no dividend for such a long time (since 2009). Examples include African Champion Industries Limited, Golden Star Resources Limited, Golden Web Limited, Pioneer Kitchenware Limited, and Transol Solutions Ghana Limited.

GSE records 16.31% return in first half of the year

GSE performance

After failing to post positive results in the last two years, the Ghana Stock Exchange continue on its track of recovering from previous losses. This is reflected in its performance in the first half of the 2017 year. At the end of trading session yesterday (30th June 2017), the GSE Composite Index inched up by 12.77 points to close at 1,964.55, representing a year-to-date gain of 16.31%. Likewise, the GSE Financial Stocks Index edged up by 11.5 points to close at 1,824.88, representing a year-to-date gain of 18.08%. Yesterday’s gains were made possible by six gainers and no losers. At the end of the trading session, Standard Chartered Bank Limited (SCB) led the gainers with 11 pesewas to close at GH¢17.04 per share. This was followed by Benso Oil Palm Plantation Limited (BOPP) and Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), which gained 8 pesewas and 5 pesewas each to close at GH¢4.40 and GH¢1.87 per share respectively. Fan Milk Limited (FML) also gained 4 pesewas to close at GH¢11.82 per share while Enterprise Group Limited (EGL) and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) both gained a pesewa each to close at GH¢2.39 and GH¢0.13 per share respectively.

In relation to the year-to-date performance of individual stocks, UTB bank lead with 133.33%, followed by BOPP (111.54%) and GOIL (70%) respectively. These are then followed by GCB (46.07%), SCB (39.98%), ETI (30%) and SOGEGH (20.97%). Others include CAL bank (16%), ALW (14.29%), SCB PREF (13.33%), TOTAL (12.12%), FML (6.1%), EGH (6.06%) and UNIL (5.76%).

Despite the overall positive results of the exchange, a few listed stocks posted negative returns in the half year. Notable of these stocks are Mechanical Lloyd Company Limited (-33.33%), HFC Bank (-26.67%) and Tullow Oil Plc (-22.10%). Other stocks with losses so far include Starwin Products Limited (-33.3%), Produce Buying Company Limited (33.3%), Ayrton Drugs Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (16.67%), PZ Cussons Ghana Limited (-9.09%), Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (8.59%) SIC Insurance Company Limited (-8.33%), AngloGold Ashanti Depository shares (-7.69%) and Access Bank Ghana (-7.32%).

In the same period, a few stocks such as Agricultural Development Bank, Golden Web Limited, Cocoa Processing Company Ltd. and Clydestone (Ghana) Ltd. neither recorded a gain nor a loss.

Get to know your mutual funds: HFC Equity Trust

HFC equity trust

HFC equity trust was established in July 2004 by HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited. The fund is managed by HFC Investment Services Limited, a subsidiary of HFC bank. Just like most other funds, HFC equity trust is an open-ended investment scheme with a long-term investment goal. Started with an initial capital of about GH¢700,000 in 2004, the fund’s value currently stands at GH¢5.32milion as of the end of 2016.

Nature and investment strategy of HFC equity trust

Due to its long-term investment objective, HFC equity trust invest most of its portfolio in stocks on the Ghanaian market. Part of its portfolio is however invested in fixed income instruments to enhance liquidity of the fund. According to the portfolio composition displayed on its website, the fund mainly invest in 70-80% equities, 5-10% money market, 10-15% other schemes and 5% as cash in the bank. This composition however varies depending on the prevailing conditions of the economy, in particular, whenever there is a dramatic change in the performance of the exchange. In fact, there have been occasions when investment in equities was remarkably reduced to favour that of the fixed income instruments. Typical examples were the 2015 and 2016 financial years. At the end of 2015, equity portion of the fund constituted 31.30% (a reduction from 63.38% in 2014) while fixed income instruments formed a whopping 62.66%. Of the 62.66% fixed income allocation, corporate bonds constituted 17.05% while investment in other short-term instruments made up 45.61%. Likewise, in 2016, the fund’s assets portfolio was skewed in favour of the money and fixed income market. The fund’s portfolio allocation, during this period, was 23.18% equities, 54.42% money market instruments and 14.42% corporate bonds (Refer to the pie chart below).

HFC Equity Trust portfolio mix 2016
Portfolio allocation of HFC equity trust as of 31st December 2016. Source: HFC equity trust 2016 annual report

According to the fund’s 2016 annual report, HFC equity trust invested in 16 out of the about 40 companies listed on the GSE. This was a reduction from the 21 listed stocks it had previously invested in 2015. Some of the fund’s top equity holdings in the same period (2016) were GCB Bank Limited (GCB), Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL), Total Petroleum Ghana Limited (TOTAL), Enterprise Group Limited (EGH) and Fan Milk Limited (FML). This was not much different from its top equity holdings in the preceding year. At the end of 2015, the fund’s top five equities were GCB (constituting 5.59% of the fund’s value), GOIL (4.14%), TOTAL (3.85%), EGH (3.79%) and ETI (2.94%).

Performance of HFC equity trust

The price of HFC equity trust is updated by the fund manager on a regular basis, usually after each business day. The price of the fund reflects its net asset value which in turn depends on the performance of its portfolio on the market (For current prices of HFC equity trust and other mutual funds, click on this link). At the end of each financial year, the annual return of the fund is similarly published. In the past decade (since 2005), HFC equity trust’s best performance has been 70.43%, recorded in 2013. On the other hand, its worst performance in the same period is -21.25%, which was recorded in 2005. As noted earlier, HFC equity trust alters its investment mix (in favour of fixed income instruments) whenever the equity market performs poorly. This, in some way, cushions the fund from the effects of huge market losses. For example, when HFC equity trust reduced its equity portfolio to 31.3% in 2015, it recorded an annual return of 14.49% even though the GSE lost by -11.77%. Similarly in 2016, HFC equity trust recorded 7.35% as against GSE return of -15.33%. The fund, by then, had as low as 23.18% of its portfolio in stocks. The table below shows the annual performance trend of HFC equity trust since 2005, compared with GSE returns over the same period. For performance comparison of HFC equity trust and other investment funds, refer to this link.

Performance trend of HFC equity trust
Year HFC equity trust return, % GSE return, %
2005 -21.25 -29.72
2006 12.46 5.21
2007 34.19 31.21
2008 38.89 58.16
2009 -19.94 -46.58
2010 25.12 32.25
2011 2.85 -3.1
2012 0.11 23.81
2013 70.43 78.81
2014 8.23 5.4
2015 14.49 -11.77
2016 7.35 -15.33

(Credit: Compilation of HFC equity annual returns was partly contributed by ARG)

HFC equity trust’s awards

HFC equity trust is recognised for the following awards:

·         Equity fund of the year, 2013 (Ghana Investment Awards)

·         Portfolio manager of the year, 2013- Genevieve Abban, HFC equity trust’s portfolio manager (Ghana Investment Awards)

Investing in HFC equity trust

HFC equity trust is opened to both individuals and groups. Prospective clients can contact the fund manager, HFC Investment Services Limited, through the various HFC bank branches across the country. Opening an HFC equity trust account attracts no charges. However, withdrawals made before one year attract a fee of 2.5%. For details on investment fees and commissions, refer to this link.

To what extent do you trust your investment brokers?

investment brokers _trust

There are various services generally provided by investment brokers in Ghana. Out of these offered services, the common ones are trading of stocks on clients’ behalf, management of investment funds, and investment advisory services. Investment brokers’ role in the financial sector can therefore not be understated. Nevertheless, as humans as they are, they equally make mistakes. These mistakes range from petty ones such as carelessness to critical ones that can result in devastative effects on clients’ investments. Hence, as investors, it is essential to be alert and be aware of the extent to which our investment brokers can be trusted. It is always important to ensure that our investment brokers (and advisors) really have our interests at heart. This can be attained by paying attention to typical attributes such as honesty and transparency, competency, reputation and track record.

Investment brokers are expected to be honest and transparent without withholding vital information from their clients. Information such as clear fee structure, performance updates, financial statements and reports should be readily available to clients to make informed decisions. Getting regular feedback from your brokers should not be too complicated. Certainly, investment brokers must keep their clients in the loop and present them with the available lucrative [investment] options for decision making. However, it is unfortunate that the nature of their job, these days, appears like that of salespersons- They tend to be primarily concerned about revenue generation for their financial institutions (employers). Investment brokers seem to rather focus on the promotion and marketing of their investment products. Of course, the more they sell their investment products, the more revenue they make through management fees and other commissions. After all, what commission or management fee would NTHC brokerage make if it endorses FirstBanc Heritage fund instead of NTHC Horizon fund? Similarly, you don’t expect Databank financial services to recommend SAS Fortune fund to its clients while they have their own [Epack] investment fund. In much the same way, it would be unheard of if SAS Investment Management recommend Epack mutual fund for their prospective clients even if Epack overwhelmingly performs better than other funds. Clearly, investment brokers and their financial institutions favour their own products which may put their credibility to test.

The reputation and track record of brokers must also be carefully examined when trust is concerned. A little background check and public perception can serve as useful starting point. How long has the institution or individual operated as a broker and how has their past performance looked like? Although historical performance may not guarantee future prospects, they still serve as useful measures when dealing with brokers. Undoubtedly, there exist a few good brokers who have not operated in the industry for so long. Nothing therefore prevents investors to give them a try. However, it is important to do so in a cautious approach. For instance, one may start dealing with new investment brokers by testing their services on a small scale. That is, by initially investing smaller amounts with them and increasing their investment in a gradual manner as they keep building trust. It’s like taking a bath with hot water of unknown temperature. You don’t pour the hot water on yourself right away. You cautiously test it, probably by dipping your finger slightly in it. A key factor of equal consideration, while looking at investment brokers’ reputation, is whether they are licensed or not. You have worked hard for your money and surely deserve to keep it safe from fraudsters. It is worth to note that the potential for fraud lessens when dealing with licensed brokers. The Ghana Stock Exchange provide details of all licensed brokers where you can do some background check on their date of incorporation, key personalities etc. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) similarly publish names of licensed mutual funds.

Furthermore, it is essential for existing clients to pay attention to details such as data accuracies in their transactions. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to bump into the Facebook page of an investment management firm. While going through people’s comments and reviews, I came across one that specifically advised colleagues to regularly check on their accounts to ensure accurate details. The person was commenting on grounds that some deposits he made some time ago did not reflect in his account until he followed up with the investment firm. In fact, I couldn’t stop grinning after going through his review. This is because I have particularly witnessed, on some occasions, similar errors made by my investment broker. On two separate occasions, they misplaced my purchasing order form for stocks. Realising unusual delay in the purchasing of stocks I had requested for, I had to follow up. Surprisingly, they couldn’t locate my completed forms so I had to pick another form and start over. This definitely led to further delay in the stocks purchase. On another occasion, they mistakenly purchased a different company’s stock instead of the one I had ordered for. There was this day too when a deposit I made into my equity fund account rather ended up in my money market fund account (managed by the same broker). Imagine if this had found its way in a third party’s account. I also recall one painful experience whereby an investment firm issued me a closed account number for telex (electronic) transfer.

As you can see, such carelessness and poor data records may translate into grave consequences in the management of clients’ investment. If they could lose my purchase order forms, mistakenly purchase a different company’s stock instead of the one I requested for, issue me a deactivated account number for telex transfer, what is the guarantee that they cannot commit similar critical mistakes in the management of our funds. Mind you, this was even one of the oldest and respectable brokerage firms in the country. How much more the ‘baby-toothed’ ones?

The bottom line is that, investment brokers and advisors can be professionals as far as investment services are concerned. However, instead of sitting back and leaving everything in their hands, you can play an active role to ensure that your investment stay on track. In other words, never leave your investment on autopilot, trusting the experts to always do things right. In addition, avoid falling prey to brokers’ personal interests. Personally take interest to access and compare investment options of different firms and then choose the ones that align with your interests. Finally, you should periodically monitor your investment transactions and balances. If you don’t have access to online services, you may request or physically go to their offices for your account statements on a regular basis.

Get to know your mutual funds: SAS Fortune fund

SAS fortune fund

Our first post on the ‘Get to know your mutual funds’ series started with Epack investment fund, where we highlighted aspects such as the nature, investment strategy and performance of the fund. To continue the series, let’s have a look at SAS Fortune fund. Continue reading “Get to know your mutual funds: SAS Fortune fund”