Investing in FGN Bonds

What are bonds? Bonds are simply a term for loans that you give to the Federal Government, State Government, Companies etc.

Is it a document or what? It’s simply a piece of paper issued by the Borrower (e.g the Government) stating the amount borrowed from you, the tenor (no of years with which to repay), interest rate, and repayment period

Why me? Can’t they go to a bank to borrow money? You because you may have some money that you wish to save. You may say you have just N10k to save a month from your salary and wonder how that helps the government. Imagine that there are 1million people with N10k to save, that transcends to N10b already. Also have in mind that the money the banks actually lend are money deposited by you and I. So you and I are the major source of money for government, banks, corporations etc. That is why they tax us, pursue us to open accounts, and pressure us to buy their goods.

What’s in it for me? Bond issuers (borrowers like the government) typically attach a coupon to the Bonds. Coupon are basically interest rates attached to the Bonds issues. For example, the Government can issue a bond for say N10b, 10year bonds at a coupon of 6%pa. What they mean is that they want to borrow N10b from the public and are willing to pay 6% interest rate for it per annum for a period of 10years. Usually they pay you the principal amount at maturity meaning at the end of 10years and sometimes they can have the option to “call back” which basically means the can pay you the principal before the 10 year period. Bonds with “Call Back” are always clearly stated in the prospectus.So, in a nutshell if you borrow them N10k, you form part of many others who must have lent them as well. They pay you N600 per annum and pay you the N10k a the end of 10 years.

What? Just N600? Yes just N600. Well, you may think of it as low but the if you put that same amount in a Savings Account of bank you’d probably get N200 and stand the risk of loosing it if the bank collapses. Besides if it is N1m you invest then that’s N60k every year, N10m is N600k and N100m is N6m per annum.

Are you saying Government Can’t collapse? Well technically they can but it’s very unlikely. Even if they do, it’s if there is a war but then they must repay after the war is over. Government bonds are mostly secure and are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Government.

So I have to wait for 10years to get my money back? Off course not. The beauty of bonds is that you can exchange them just like shares. You can decide to sell your bond on the bond market if you want your money back.

Oh, so I put in N10k and get my N10k back plus interest? Yes if you decide to hold to maturity and wait for 10years. But if you wish to sell before then you can except that it could be worth more or less. Just like shares the value of bonds go up and down depending on economic factors. So, the bond you bought for N10k may be worth N11k or N9k when you are selling it. Just like shares, today it’s up tomorrow it may be low. But at maturity (the repayment day) the government or borrower must pay you the face value. The face value is the N10k you paid them. Movement in the market does not affect what the borrower pays you.

So are bonds really like shares then? Not exactly, whilst both are investment securities they are different in their nature. When you buy shares, you buy right to earn a dividend of a company. Meaning that you only get dividends when the company decided to pay you. For a Bond, the borrower or issuer (that’s is the Government or company) MUST pay you interest (coupon) a the stated date. In other words, owners of shares are equity holders, whilst owners of bonds are debt holders.

I have often heard of yields, what is that too? Well yields are basically interest on traded bonds. In my previous illustration I explained that the government pays you a coupon of 6%pa on your N10k bond. Since we understand that bonds are tradable, supposing the value was 9k at the time you sell the bond. It then means whomever buys it will earn N600 on the N9k he paid out. Thus his actual interest otherwise called yield is 600/9000 = 6.66%. So he gains an extra .66% and still gets to get another N1000 if he decides to wait till the maturity of the bond. They often say the yield of a bond moves in opposite direction to the value. Just as above, as the value dropped to N9k the yield increased to 6.66%.

That’s cheating me isn’t it? Nah not true. Remember, there is an opportunity cost you may incur if you do not sell. Imagine you had a business that will probably get you twice that amount if you sell. So instead of holding on just so it gets to 10k or higher, you sell and use the money for something more tangible. Also remember that you would have collected some interest as well. And then you can simply just hold on till maturity, it all depends on your opportunity cost.

Ok now I get it! How do I then invest? Bonds can be purchased either through the primary or secondary market.

The primary market is were you buy bonds that have just been offered by the seller like the Government (just like buying a public offer). The secondary market is where you buy tradable bonds that is, bonds from the bonds market (just like buying shares in the stock market). Bonds traded in the secondary market are usually done on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange or Over the Counter (OTC) through the PDMM

Bonds sold in the primary or secondary market are bought through a PDMM(Primary Dealer Market Maker). PDMM are operators licensed to buy and sell bonds. Most of them are banks like Zenith, GTB, UBA, Diamond Bank to name a few. They also have discount houses like Kakawa Discount House, FSDH who sell as well. You get the application form from them, fill it, include your cheque in full for the amount you wish to invest. You can invest as much as you can, from N10k to N1b depending on your capabilities financially. But the minimum is N10k and multiple of N1k thereafter.

The bonds purchased are confirmed through issuance of depository or issuance of certificates. The depository is the CSCS (Central Security Clearing System) an online storage for securities such as shares and bonds.

How do I get my interest? Interest on Government Bonds are paid Semi annually.For example in June and December or in January and July. Payment is through issuance of cheques or warrants, similar to the dividend warrants you get for shares.

Also note that interest rates can be fixed or floating. Fixed means when they say they will pay you 6%pa then it is 6%pa you get till the end if the maturity. Floating means they may pay you an amount that is linked to a are that moves with the market. For example they might say Nibor 8% plus 2%. Meaning the rate is benchmarked o. The Nigerian Interbank Official Rate (Nibor) of 8% plus 2%. The Nibor is a rate that banks use to lend money to each other and it always changes in response to market conditions and is thus the floating rate.

Source: Nairaland

The Wealth Myth

Over the past one decade, our attitudes and cultural beliefs about wealth has undergone a dramatic change. We have gone from people who’re proponents of hard work being the backbone of wealth to sudden riches overnight. These elusive lifestyle also comes with glamorous images of flamboyance. Today I’ll be discussing the false myths surrounding wealth.

    • Life for the rich is a big party everyday: escapism from life’s’ daily worries does not exclude the rich. Irrespective of the economic divide we belong to as individuals, we all have our fair share of troubles and have to wade through them. If you read through the bio of accomplished men and women, a unifying factor is the hard times they waded through in reaching their goals.
    • Once I hit the jackpot, I can buy anything I want: this is the biggest fallacy amongst the lot I’ve discovered. The rich don’t buy anything and everything, they carefully plan their purchases. Assuming you want to buy a car or build a house, you just don’t wake up one day and start. No! It all begins with the first seed and consistent savings.
    • Whether you like it or not, hard work is the sure path to building wealth. Disregard all the music videos and movies that promotes easy wealth, popping champagne and throwing endless parties. Life does not pan out that way. Four years ago, i had taken the decision to buy a new car but guess what, I didn’t have the liquid cash to buy one even though I could have converted my stock holdings to do this. I felt it was not necessary and took a decision to save for the kind of car I wanted and could afford. I didn’t make that purchase till late last year when I knew I had the cash to make a one-time purchase. The key lesson here; plan, plan and work assiduously to achieve your goals.
    • My current paycheck can’t take me far: hey wake up!!! The BRT lane was not built in a single day. No, No, No!!! When I started working, my monthly paycheck was average even though I had friends who earned thrice the amount I earned but that’s the beauty of ageing.

As you go along your career path, opportunities will come along that’ll increase your earning power. Remember the popular adage ‘little drops of water make a mighty ocean’. Start small and you’ll end big.

Spend less than you earn in 2012

If there is a single rule that underlies everything I’ve written about on Today’s Naira, it’s this simple sentence:

Spend less than you earn.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet there are many people out there burying themselves in debt (spending more than they earn) or living purely paycheck to paycheck (spending exactly what they earn). Yesterday fuel subsidy was officially removed with a litre of fuel selling within a range of N138 – N200. This is an astronomical increase and it’ll require an effort to save in 2012.

Simply spending less than you earn has a cascade of positive effects.

First, you begin eliminating your debts. Spending less than you earn frees up the money you need to make larger payments on your debts. Over time, they begin to disappear, reducing your monthly bills and giving you even more breathing room.

Second, you begin to save. First, you build up some cash savings in your savings account, enabling you to roll through emergencies (like a car breakdown or a job loss). You’ll also have the breathing room to start saving for retirement, paving yourself a great future for your golden years.

Third, your stress level falls. Knowing that you have fewer debts, your emergencies are covered, and your retirement is being planned for reduces your stress level. You sleep better, your overall health improves, and you feel happier about life.

Finally, you are now able to explore possibilities closed to you before. When your debts are gone and you are spending far less than you’re bringing in, you suddenly have many more career possibilities. You don’t have to stick with your high-stress job – you have the financial freedom to move on and chase your dreams. You can live where – and how – you want to live.

All of that comes back to one basic principle – spend less than you earn.

That statement actually has two parts, though.

Spend less refers to the fact that you do need to cut your spending. The first step doesn’t need to be anything drastic – nor should it be. Many of the more extreme money-saving tips come from people who have already tried out the basic tips and love them, so they seek out more intense strategies to further cut their spending. I do this myself – I’m always trying out new money-saving strategies, discarding the ones that don’t work for me and keeping the ones that do.

Here are five big ways to get started.

First, go through every monthly required bill. Ask yourself if you really need that service at all. Do you really need to take your car to work everyday or could you start a car pooling service with colleagues who live nearby to cover the cost of fuelling the car? With the fuel subsidy issue, I forsee the era of filling up the tank eroding. Also, more people will become circumspect about fuel management. Then, go through each bill and see if there are any optional services you can eliminate. Do you really need a washman or consider the options of purchasing a washing machine and ironing your clothes yourself?

Second, keep diligent track of your spending. Keep a notebook in your pocket and write down every expense you have. The simple process of doing this will make you think twice about unnecessary expenses. When you do have a month’s worth of expenses written down, take a careful look at them. Ask yourself whether or not each of these expenses actually contributed to the value and joy of your life. That process will offer a lot of insight for you as to where your spending is going to waste.

Third, look carefully at your routines. Watch what you do every day (or most days). Are there things you do each day that cost money? Those things are the most powerful ones to adjust, as trimming just N100 from your daily spending saves you N36,500 a year. Do you stop at fast food restaurants each day? Why not cut down your daily order a bit,  or start bringing your breakfast or lunch from home? Do you splurge on Coke every day? Perhaps you can start considering making your own Sobo drink or Chapman twice a week. Look at every regular expense you have.

Half- Year Appraisal

July 1 marked the second half of this year. What were some of the goals you desired to accomplish this year? It’s time to assess your success rates so far. I cannot stress the importance of saving for rainy days. Especially for women who deal with major financial crisis if anything happens to the breadwinner. Ensure the habit of saving 70% of your monthly salary (not lower than 50%) consistently and continously. The power of compound interest works on whatever amount you are stashing away right now. For a minimal sum of N10,000 you can invest in mutual funds managed by ARM Investment (a subsidiary of GTB). Other mutual funds managed by BGL Securities and First Bank Capital require a minimum of N500,000. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, you need to cultivate the habit of regular savings.

I’m a lover of leisure travel, clothes, culinary pleasures and shoes. However, I have not allowed my love for these things to deter me from imbibing a saving culture. I usually have a financial goal for the year which reads thus ‘ In 2011, I will save ……. by year end and invest in the following financial vehicles’. That’s how far I go and once I’ve made this committment, I adhere to my plans and until I achieve this goal, then there’s no travelling or any other pleasurable thing I indulge it. However, once I cross the mark, I whip out my pleasure list to decide what i’m indulging in. Overall, it must also fit within my budget or else I forgo and settle for something affordable.

In appraising your financial situation, you need to take into consideration how much you need to kick your saving gear in the right direction. Once you have a plan, stick to it and accomplish. In subsequent posts, i’ll be giving out information on the financial vehicles you can invest in.

Have a great year (2nd Half) ahead.

2011 Expectations

Wow it’s 2011 and at Today’s Naira, we’re thankful that we made it into the new year. We also thank our readers who made 2010 a fantastic year for us. In 2011, we’re mapping out new ways of keeping you informed and aware about important decisions you will need to take during the year. We need to re-educate our minds on the importance of imbibing financial frugality, investing wisely and saving for the rainy days.

So, what are your new year resolutions? Are they different from last year? I have put an hold on resolutions. Rather I always write down my goals and objectives for the year in the recess of my mind. That way, I tend to achieve my goals more quickly. Last years’ goals were all achieved short of all and I hope to nil this one in 2011.

For 2011 these are our plans for our readers:

  • We intend to highlight on a monthly basis, entrepreneurs in different fields with special emphasis on SMEs (small scale & medium enterprises). If you are a business owner and would like us to showcase your ideas and business on this page, do get in touch with us.
  • We’re also searching for individuals who’d like to intern with us by writing an article on various informative fields. Think you’re the one, give us a buzz.
  • You have a great product and would want to get the word out via ‘product reviews’, then you should be talking to us.
  • Above all in 2011, we’re getting back into financial shape and all the resources you require will be provided on this page.

Adios and we’re out.

Financial Advice for Women

I have not written specifically about financial matters for some time now. I have been trying to discover other forms of investment since the CBN slashed fixed deposit rates. While watching T.V last month, I came across the advert regarding “Federal Government Bond” and how possible it is for an individual investor to participate.

I decided to find out more but it took me about four weeks to locate the website responsible for disseminating information.

What is a bond?

A bond is a loan and the investor or holder of the bond is the lender. When you purchase a bond, you are lending money to a government, local government council, state government, federal agency or a corporation, known as the issuer. The government uses it to fund budget deficit, for instance, or to build roads, electric power stations, finance factories, etc. When you purchase a bond, in return the issuer promises to pay you a specified rate of interest during the life of the bond and to repay the face value of the bond (the principal) when it ‘matures’.

What is FGN Bonds?

FGN Bonds are debt securities (liabilities) of the Federal Government of Nigeria issued under the authority of DMO and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The FGN has an obligation to pay the bondholder the principal and agreed interest as they fall due. When you buy FGN bonds you are lending to the federal government for a specified period of time. The FGN bond is considered as the safest of all investments in domestic currency securities market because it is backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the government. They have no default risk, meaning that it is virtually certain your interest and principal will be paid as and when due. The income you earn is exempt from state and local taxes.

The Government Issues Bonds for the following reasons

  • To finance government deficits in a non-inflationary and sustainable manner
  • To enhance fiscal discipline and for the management of monetary policies
  • To restructure the existing debt stock of short term debt to longer term obligations
  • To establish a benchmark yield curve, which acts as a reference for pricing other bonds issued by other bodies
  • To develop the domestic bond market on a sustainable basis
  • To enhance and deepen the savings and investment opportunities.

Expatiate on Special Purpose FGN Bonds

Special Purpose FGN bonds are bonds issued to meet specific needs of the federal government. For instance, following the approval of Mr. President, special purpose bonds were issued to selected banks for settlement of N75 billion pension arrears in 2006.  Five deposit money banks participated in the private placement arrangement. In addition, in 2006 FGN floated bonds for the payment of debt owed to local contractors worth N91.7 billion. Recently, FGN indicated interest to raise funds through bonds for funding specific projects such as Methanol plant, revival of textile industry, terminal wages of workers, building of infrastructural facilities, etc.

Nature of FGN bonds

  • Denomination: minimum subscription of N10,000.00 + multiple of N1,000.00 thereafter
  • Yield: – Interest payment
    • Fixed interest rates: Most FGN bonds have fixed interest rates which are paid semi-annually:
    • Floating interest rates: Some FGN bonds (e.g. 3rd & 4TH tranches of the 1st FGN bonds) have floating rates of interest which fluctuates around a reference rate(NTB rates) on the basis of specified parameters
    • There are also zero-coupon bonds(not yet in issue in Nigeria) whereby both interest and principal are repaid at the final maturity date of the bond
  • Tenor: Minimum of two (2) years. There are bonds with maturities of 3. 5, 7 and 10 years, in issue and for the future we may have bonds with maturities of 15, 20,30 years or more
  • Default Risk: FGN bonds as a sovereign debt are the safest investment instrument. Default risk is nil. The Government always pays what is due to subscribers on the agreed date.

How do I invest in FGN Bonds?

1. Application forms can be obtained from any of the authorized dealers(PDMMs), or download from the DMO’s website

2. Complete the application forms and submit through any of the PDMMs

3. Common- price auction system is normally employed as opposed to multiple price auctions

4. Payments for the allotment are payable in full on application

5. Minimum of N10,000.00 and multiple of N1,000 thereafter

6. Investors can also access the FGN bonds after the auction through the secondary market

7. FGN bonds purchase is confirmed by registration in the depository (CSCS) or by issue of certificates

8. Interest is paid semi-annually until the maturity date when the principal amount is repaid

9. Payment of interest is through issue of interest warrant(cheque) or direct transfer to current or savings bank accounts

10. Bondholders who do not want to hold the bonds until maturity date can sell them at any time on the floors of Nigerian Stock Exchange or Over the Counter (OTC), through, any of the PDMMs

Why should I invest in these Bonds?

  • Retirement
  • Starting or expanding a business
  • Settlement after apprenticeship
  • Pay children school fees in future(e.g for University education)
  • Building a house
  • Future projects by town unions, associations, student union
  • To fund future social events such as Marriages and weddings, etc
  • Settlement of pension insurance obligation( for Corporate Fund Managers), etc
  • For further information, you can visit the ‘Debt Management Office‘ through this link.

    New Lessons

    What do you do when you suddenly realise you’ve got competition? How do you respond to such threat without making some costly mistakes? How do you know that your strategies for building brand loyalty amongst your target audience is the right one in the face of competition? This is where we are right now and I can tell you the  answers are not easy. I am following my gut instincts by following what my intuition tells me me. This is much different from emotions. I don’t allow emotions to rule me when it comes to business. I simply do what has got to be done.

    The product has given its’ first hint of monumental success based on consumer reactions to it. Yes, we now have another competitive distributor but that has not taken my gaze off my goals and objectives. I have not come this far to give up. I am trudging head on. We’ve also advised the manufacturer to obtain Standard Organisation of Nigeria’s certfication. This will help in affirming the quality of the product and it gives us the right to sell this product within Nigeria.

     Apart from selling the brand through large retail chains or stores, I have also decided to engage the services of Direct Sales Agent who will be brand ambassadors and engage in one on one communication with our target audience. For our affiliate program, we have put in place an attractive sales commission for our agents. Based on our sales forecast, our agents will be making a minimum of N5,000 – N10,000 weekly. We intend to also offer more incentives as sales increase. For now, we’re taking it one step at a time.  Got to go peeps.

    Have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas.

    Wanna own a house?

    Sometime ago, I spoke about investing in properties or the real estate as the sector is better known. I went in search of further information and came across the National Housing Fund. The National Housing Fund was signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1992. Basically, the objective of this Act is to provide affordable homes to Nigerians irrespective of the income class. If you earn a minimum of N7,000 monthly, you can subscribe to this fund.

    How does it work?

    The National Housing Fund is administered by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. If you are interested, locate the nearest FMBN branch within your state of residence and approach the officials. You’ll be required to remit 2.5% of your monthly income throughout your working life period into the NHF account. Interested applicant can pick up a form (free of charge), fill it and get your employer to sign their own respective parts. If you’re self-employed, you sign for yourself and also sign as the employer. Then you’ll be given a card which will record every payment you lodge into the NHF account.

    The requirements of the NHF Act (1992) states that you can only use the fund for the following:

    • Purchase a property
    • Build a house
    • Renovate existing property

    Note that if the property you want to purchase is within your present state of residence, then it is advisable to open a mortgage account within that state. Once the loan has been approved, you’ll be responsible for the inspection and evaluation fees. It is also important that you remit 10% of the total value of the property you wish to purchase into the mortgage account you opened with respective primary mortgage institution.

    Repayment Terms:

    Interest on the loan is fixed at 6% per annum and to determine repayment period, deduct your present age from 60 years to know how long you will pay back.

    Upon attaining 60 years, you’ll present your NHF passbook, a letter from your employer attesting that you have retired and a birth cetificate is also required which will be presented at the nearest FMBN branch where you’ll be paid back your NHF contributions over the years you were in paid or self employment. If you still need further clarification, do let me know.

    Investing in turbulent times

    Hey, don’t go thinking I know all the answers cos I don’t. I am actually trying to discover what everyone is investing in amidst the global financial crisis. I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday and she suggested real estate. My grouse with buying land in Nigeria is the issue of  “Omo o nile” and attendant dubious charges. I would rather buy a detached three bedroom bungalow, within the range of N5mn – N6mn (which is dependent on whether I can access mortgage facilties), located in Lagos. Since I don’t have such huge funds right now, I have to think of something else.

    For the past one month, I have been trying to scout for other alternative investment options (long-term), and someone had suggested ARM Investment. Please note that I did not include the link to the website. I’d rather not cos from my own point of view, either they are yet to engage the services of a social media strategist, or someone is simply not doing their job. I filled in the forms a month ago and I am yet to be contacted by a Wealth Advisor. What is the essence of setting up a website if there’s no one capable of attending to visitor’s enquiries. I also tried calling the numbers stated on the websites and unfortunately, none seems to be working.

    My question today is: If you have some funds sitting idle in your savings account, where would you invest it?