Databank’s EPACK posts ‘disappointing’ results for 2019

Databank’s Epack Investment Fund suffered another negative return in 2019 even though its performance was slightly better than in 2018.

At the close of the year, the fund posted a return of -1.11% as compared to the -5.25% recorded in 2018.

It performed better than the entire Ghana stock market’s which returned -12.25% but the negative output is not encouraging to investors.

Speaking on the performance of Epack, Board Chairman for the Fund, Keli Gadzekpo, stated at the virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Data Bank Group that the outcome was “as a result of the mixed performance of African markets in 2019.”

Mr. Gadzekpo added that the Fund’s holdings in South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius and Malawi contributed positively to the Fund’s comparatively better performance against the GSE.

Mr Gadzekpo stated in his annual report that “despite the disappointing performance over the past two years, Epack’s cumulative return over its lifetime continues to significantly outperform the return on the Ghana stock market over a comparable period.

The number of shareholders in 2019 increased from 101,650 to 103,487.

But the Fund’s Asset Under Management (AUM) declined by 11% from GHC 186.11 million to GHC 165.11 million as at December 31, 2019.

The AGM was organized via Zoom on Tuesday, July 14 and Wednesday, July 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 and restrictions placed on public gatherings.

Meetings were held for EdIFund on Tuesday and for MFund, BFund and ArkFund on Wednesday.

As the meetings were virtual, shareholders were able to participate from across Ghana, as well as other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the EdIFund shareholders, the Chairman, Israel Titi Ofei, revealed that the performance of Ghana’s only two-tiered educational investment fund was quite impressive in 2019.

“EdIFund Tier 1, which is focused on helping clients meet short-term educational needs, recorded a return of 11.44%, while EdIFund Tier 2, directed at helping clients attain long-term educational goals, posted a return of 6.87%. The AUM of the Fund also increased from GHC 30.77 million in 2018 to GHC 34.69 million at the end of 2019,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Benjamin Gogo, Chairman of MFund, stated that the Fund posted an annualized yield of 15.57%, outperforming the 91-day Treasury bill’s annual yield of 14.70%. He attributed this to the decision to convert MFund to a Fixed-Income fund in February 2019.

Mr Gogo added that MFund grew its unitholder base by 22% to end the year at 178,672. The Fund also witnessed a 6% year-on-year increase in Assets under Management (AUM) to GHC 633.64 million at the end of 2019.

Group CEO of Databank and Chairman of Databank Balanced Fund (BFund), Kojo Addae Mensah, informed shareholders about the performance of BFund, the best investment option for retirement planning. The Fund recorded a return of 7.08% and the shareholder base increased by 7.3% to 25,263 in 2019.

In the final meeting on Wednesday, Dr. Joyce Aryee, Chairman for Databank Ark Fund, addressed the shareholders of ArkFund.

She indicated that Ghana’s only ethical investment fund recorded a return of 4.30%. She added that the Fund’s performance was on account of the poor performance of equities during the year. Despite this, the Fund was sustained by its fixed-income holdings. The total number of ArkFund shareholders grew by 8% to 15,781 at the end of 2019.

Across the funds, the Board Chairmen thanked shareholders for their support and loyalty, particularly in the midst of the financial sector clean-up and other issues that plagued the financial sector in 2019.

Shareholders were encouraged to continue to engage with their board members and fund manager to ensure that they remain well-informed about matters relating to their investments.

Investors expressed satisfaction at the general organisation of the meetings, especially clients abroad who were able to join the meetings for the first time because they were held virtually.

Others commended Databank for their consistency in solid fund management and advocated subsequent virtual Annual General Meetings.

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