By Mercy Omoike
Marble Capital Ltd. has launched its N3 billion Halal Commodities Fund to enhance investment diversification and ensure improved returns to investors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Marble Halal Commodities Fund is the pioneer Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved commodities fund in Nigeria.
The launch was held on Wednesday at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.
The initial three billion naira fund consists of 30,000,000 units at N100 per unit at par. But it can be increased subject to the approval of SEC.
The fund which primarily invests in commodities-linked instruments,
operates based on the principles of Shari’ah and as such only invests in halal -certified investment instruments.
Speaking at the launch, the Executive Commissioner for Operations, SEC, Mr Dayo Obisan, noted that the launch of the fund would play a key role in the attainment of the 2015–2025 Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan of the Commission .
Obisan said that one of the cardinal points was for 25 per cent of the market capitalisation to come from non-interest areas such as Marble Halal Commodities Fund.
The Chief Executive Officer, Marble Capital Ltd., Dr Akeem Oyewale, said the Halal Commodities Fund was launched with the goal of providing optimal investment returns to clients’ without compromising their convictions.
According to him, “The Marble Halal Commodities fund, which we just launched today is designed to assist investors that are looking at playing in the commodity space.
“Agriculture is just one of the commodities that we are going to be playing in, we are going to go big in agriculture space.
“We will also play in precious metals like gold, silver, or titanium as well as crude oil and energy as soon as those products become available.
“We want everybody, even the man on the street that wants to invest in the agriculture space or in the commodity space to be able to do it without him knowing the details.
“The investors do not have to know what transpires across value chain between the farmers, the fertiliser vendor or the sales of the produce.
“You just want to invest and get the ultimate benefit that all these people get, that is what the Marble Halal Commodities Fund is about,” Oyewale said.
He promised professional management of clients funds with ethical investments as the pivot for returns.
“So you are having what is called a professional management of the commodities space. So, if you have a minimum of N50,000, the investor is going to benefit from it.
“So our role as fund manager is to identify those instruments and emphasise instruments.
“We are not going to give money to the farmer but there are instruments that have been designed that capture all these value chains as approved by the regulators.
“we will identify these instruments and invest in them such that when they when we get proper returns the investor you benefit from that returns.
“Our unique selling point is that the investment gives you easy entry and easy exit. So, with whatever you have, you can invest and after 90 days, one year or two years, you can access your money.
“With Marble Halal Commodities we are giving investors an option for diversifying their portfolios,” he said.
Oyewale also reiterated the need to close the funding gap in the space with the commodities fund.
“There is a $180 billion gap to be filled in agriculture funding, we are starting with N3 billion and there is a room for us to fill and we believe it will appreciate over time.
“We are commodity traders, we are fund managers and we are regulated by SEC. We have gone through a lot of training to identify which investments we put your money in at what point in time.
“We also know when to sell those investments when we know they are not performing well.
“The reason for the Marble Halal Commodities Fund is that some people want ethical investments. They want profit that they know they can sleep and know that it is invested in ethical manner.
“So we are not there for the maximum profits. We are there for good profit or not at all . So it is s not all assets that we are going to invest in. Our investments are going to be ethical.
“The gap we have come to fill in the commodities market is huge. $180 billion to help the markets, the Federal Government’s allocation to the agriculture sector is not even sufficient,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman, Marble Capital Ltd., Alhaji Ali Ango said the fund would be invested in a series of commodities-linked instruments, including gold and precious metals among others.
“The fund is forward-looking and will be able to adapt to these asset classes as they become available and are approved by the regulators.
“The launch was timely, especially, coming from the raging floods that ravaged Nigeria last year, prompting commodities exchanges not only to prioritise agriculture production but also processing and the act of off-taking which can add value.
The Federal Government has agreed to support the farmers who lost a lot last year. This is why the launch is timely.
“The Marble Halal Commodities Fund being the pioneer fund approved by SEC is designed not only to impact the Nigerian financial market but the entire economic sector most especially but not limited to the agriculture sector.
“As commodities fund, we are able to invest in a series of commodities-linked instruments and assets which could be gold or other precious metals, energy such as crude oil and gas,” Ango said.
One of the partners of Marble Halal Commodities Fund, Mrs Oluwafunto Olasemo, the Vice-president Financial Market, AFEX, said that data have shown that commodities investment is the way forward for economic rejuvenation.
“Recent capital markets reports have shown that we need about $180 billion to close the agricultural funding gap.
“We have a budget of about N22.8 trillion and then the breakdown showed that agriculture has about N136 billion.
“Mathematically if we go on this trajectory, how long will it take us to close the funding gap? We will need over 600 years to close the gap.
“Global projections show that if we do not take care of how we do cultivation and manage all the post-cultivation activities, we will not be able to feed ourselves by 2050.
“And this is one of the reason why a product like the commodity fund is very critical. If we look at the entire value chain, we would see that there are different opportunities.
“We have about 74 million hectares of arable lands and less than that has been cultivated. And just two per cent of what is being cultivated is irrigated.
“That on its own gives an infrastructure of deficit that is looking for funding to be deployed into the agriculture sector,” Olasemo said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma