Collective Investment Schemes Explained

The Investments and Securities Act (ISA) No. 29 of 2007 (Section 153) defines Collective Investment Scheme as “a scheme in whatever form, including an open-ended investment company, in pursuance of which members of the public are invited or permitted to invest money or other assets in a portfolio, and in terms of which:

  • Two or more investors contribute money or other assets to and hold a participatory interest;
  • The investors share the risk and benefit of investment in proportion to their participatory interest in a portfolio of a scheme or on any other basis determined in the deed, but not a collective investment scheme authorised by any other Act”.

Types of Collective Investment Schemes:
•    Unit Trusts
•    Venture Capital Funds
•    Open-ended Investment Companies
•    Real Estate Investment Schemes
•    Specialized Funds

Unit Trust
A Unit Trust Scheme is a Fund into which small sums of monies from individual investors are collected to form a “pool” for the purpose of investing in stocks, shares and money market instrument by professional fund managers on behalf of the contributors called unit holders [subscribers]. By investing in a unit trust scheme, the unit holders enjoy the benefits of diversification and professional management of their fund at low cost.

The total fund of a unit trust scheme is divided into units of exactly equal monetary value e.g.  If one unit is N1.00, any person investing N100 will get 100 units. Unit Trust Funds are invested in highly-rated securities on behalf of the unit holders by the management company.

There are two types of Unit Trust Schemes, viz;

This is a Fund that continuously creates issues and redeems units after the initial public offering. The price is based on the Net Asset Value (NAV), which is total asset of the fund minus liabilities as at date of purchase or redemption.

In a Closed–Ended Fund, there is no additional issue of new units or redemption of units. The Fund is usually listed and traded on the Stock Exchange and its price will be determined by the market forces of supply and demand. A unit holder who wants to redeem his unit will therefore have to go through his Stockbroker.

Trust Deed 
A Trust Deed is the agreement between the Fund Manager and the Trustee. It governs the management of a Unit Trust Scheme by laying down rights, responsibilities, investment objectives, policies, outlets and all other relevant information of the Fund.

Key Parties to Unit Trust Scheme
•    Fund manager
•    Trustee
•    Custodian
•    Registrar

Benefits of Unit Trust Schemes
•    Deepening of the Nigeria capital market
•    Bringing capital market activities to the grassroots
•    Helps to pool funds from various investors for investment purposes
•    Encourages small private enterprises to take advantage of capital market funds for long-term investment purposes, which is necessary for the expansion of their businesses and subsequently the economy
•    Profit/income, capital appreciation e.t.c
•    Avails retail investors with professional Management for their Funds

Venture Capital
It is early stage financing of new and young companies seeking to grow rapidly. It is defined as a profit seeking venture by an entrepreneur, whose primary objective is to provide fund not otherwise available to new and growing business venture for the purpose of making profit in the long term.

For a Venture Capital Fund to exist there must be the presence of the following:-

•    Risk-Takers, who are prepared to invest in Venture Capital Fund and wait for long term gains rather than short term profits (Venture Capitalist).
•    There must be a Venture Capital Company to collect the money from the risk-takers and offer them shares in return with a promise of high return in future.
•    There must be a viable business venture whether new or young into which the Venture Capital Company could invest part of its equity.
•    There must be an entrepreneur with a good business under taking yearning for expansion capital.

The process for a Venture Capital activity involves:
•    Fund raising
•    Real flow/investment
•    Monitoring/value enhancement
•    Exit stage.

Sources of Venture Capital Fund
•    Institutional investors: – these are made up of pension fund, insurance companies, and professionally managed, charitable foundations/endowment fund of universities.
•    Wealthy individuals who are members of a business community, aggressive risk takers who possess the acumen to select good ventures with strong potentials.
•    Corporate organizations that are set up to fund new business ventures that lack the capacity to attract funding from banks because they lack collateral and impressive track record.

Benefits of Venture Capital Financing
•    It assists in providing seed capital to start-up companies with a view to helping the entrepreneur attain on-going concern status before being able to attract bank financing.
•    It provides risk capital to an existing company as support in a period of rapid growth or, to facilitate the introduction of a new product into the market.
•    It contributes to the GNP/GDP of the economy through output expansion.
•    It creates employment.
•    It enables companies involved to obtain tax rebates.
•    It helps in transforming technology.
•    It increases activities on the stock exchange through purchase of shares from existing shareholders, thereby stimulating capital market growth.
•    Provides capital with which to fund mergers and takeovers.

Problems associated with Venture Capital in Nigeria
•    Inadequate funding.
•    Problem associated with identifying suitable new domestic technologies and investment outlets.
•    Lack of defined framework.
•    Competition from other attractive investment alternatives.
•    Lack of qualified and experienced management.
•    Lack of technical capabilities.
•    Infrastructural problems in the areas of transport, good roads, power (electricity generation), health, telecommunication, etc.

Real Estate Investment Trust Scheme (REITS)
REITS is a Collective Investment Scheme which directly invests (acquire, hold and manage) in income generating real estate (and real estate related) assets using pooled funds from subscriptions of its participant investors/ unit holders