- 24 Apr 2017 - 4:43pm
MURBS Registers 16% Growth Despite Volatile 2016-17 Markets
The Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS)’s total fund value has grown from UGX 67.46billion as at 30th June 2015 to UGX78.2billion as at 30th June 2016 representing a 16% growth, despite declines in the money and equity markets over the same period. This was the latest update shared by Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde the Chairperson, Board of Trustees, MURBS at the 6th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday 27th October 2016 in the Main Hall, Makerere University.
The AGM which came in the wake of similar ones by other players in the Ugandan Retirement Benefits market was highly anticipated, given the generally poor performance by regional equity and money markets over the same period. Approximately 30% of the fund value is invested in Equities especially in the Kenyan market, which played witness to two banks failing in the same period. The fast approaching Kenyan election combined with the recently concluded Ugandan election also led to a poor performance of local currencies, which led to foreign investors exiting the regional markets.
“After due consideration, the Trustees are declaring a rate of return of 4.34% on the opening balances as at 1st July 2016,” reported Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde as she gave her report. She however reassured members that the Board was anticipating a higher rate of return at the next AGM especially as foreign investors, who wield a lot of influence in the regional equity and money markets are expected to return as the currencies stabilize. The Chairperson further commended Makerere for remitting contributions due to MURBS members consistently over the 2015/16 financial year, but urged the University to honour outstanding debt obligations to the Scheme.
In his remarks, Dr. John Kitayimbwa the Secretary, Board of Trustees restored the member’s confidence in the scheme when noted that despite declaring a lower rate of return than other players, the MURBS fund value was solid and guaranteed. He also reported that the Scheme had sought legal redress with regard to the outstanding debt owed by the University and Trustees were only awaiting the signing of a judgement on the same. He further clarified that the change in the Scheme’s Custodians from Standard Chartered Bank Limited to Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited was completely in line with terms of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) as agreed upon at commencement. Additionally, he explained that the recruitment of GenAfrica Asset Managers Limited to replace Stanlib Uganda Limited as Fund Manager, whose contract expired on 31st January 2016, was after a thorough review of their performance in the regional market. The scheme retained PineBridge East Africa Investments Limited as Fund Manager.
The regional investment atmosphere and opportunities for the future were further explained by Mr. Denis Mugalya, Investment Manager at PineBridge when he said, “In the equity markets, about 70-80% of investors within our region are actually outside East Africa and so when the currency misbehaves within the region like it did in 2015, even if the share price hasn’t moved, they are already losing value. The only election we are left with is in Kenya under a year and for now the currencies have sort of stabilized.”
He anticipated that within at least 6 months, the projections would have improved and confidence would have returned to the market, “and therefore it might not be as bad as we did previously, maybe a 10% growth and we are looking at a 10-15% return on equities” he added.
In other initiatives reported at the AGM, the Board of Trustees has developed an online platform through which members can access their statements at their own convenience. “This is a good innovation and we are going to train members intensively on how to use the system,” remarked Dr. Kitayimbwa the Board Secretary. He added that members will still be able to receive printed statements but warned that this trend would gradually be phased out as a way of improving efficiency.
At the conclusion of the AGM, the Chairperson, Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde thanked members for sparing time to participate in the meeting. She reminded all present that the term for the current serving Trustees expires on 31st March 2017 and an election for new members is slated to take place in December 2016. She therefore thanked all Trustees who were ineligible for another term for their service and urged scheme members to actively participate in the election process when it is announced.
The 2016 AGM was attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, as well as representatives from; Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), Scheme Administrator-Octagon Uganda Limited, Auditors-KPMG, Custodian-Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited and Fund Managers-PineBridge Investments and GenAfrica Asset Managers.
Article by Public Relations Office
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