Minister launches Unit Registry and website

17 February 2017, 12:00AM

PR - The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, has launched the new Unit Registry System and Website of the Unit Trust of Samoa (Management) Ltd.

On Wednesday, he logged into the website to view one of the current unitholders’ investment account.  

He also spoke about the features of the new system and new services for unitholders of the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.) during his keynote address.

Since 2010, the government’s initiative to set up the Unit Trust of Samoa as a vehicle for the ordinary investors to access investment opportunities from the privatization of the S.O.Es, government guaranteed financing facilities and equity/financing for private public partnership projects, has continued to grow and expand its coverage in the development of the local capital market.   

This message was re-emphasized by the Minister during his keynote address.  He encouraged the U.T.O.S. Management staff to continue to put more effort into accessing rural communities to invest in U.T.O.S.

U.T.O.S. has progressively improved in the last six years its framework to improve access of the general public to the lucrative investment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, which used to be beyond the capacity of the individual local small savers and investors. 

The relatively attractive returns track record on investments in U.T.O.S. units to date has now made investments in U.T.O.S. units an increasingly attractive alternative to depositing savings in the commercial banks. 

Since its inception on 1 September 2010, U.T.O.S. has been able to increase its total assets to $131.6 million as at 31st December 2016 funded from $64.8 million of investments by unit holders and $66.8 by debt.

 Total net assets have reached $64.8 million as of end December 2016.

The total number of unitholders has continued to increase to 1,856 holding 42.3 million units at end December 2016, making U.T.O.S. one of the largest voluntary private sector investment vehicles in the country. 

The significant growth in the pool of savers investing in the U.T.O.S. units has demonstrated that the small savers when given appropriate incentives do make rational saving and investment decisions.

The new Unit Registry System will replace the traditional Excel Spreadsheet that was used when the first units were traded in July 2010.    

You can expect the processing of unit certificates to be fairly quick now.  Staff efficiency will improve since a lot of the manual work for processing of unit sales and repurchases will be done automatically within the system.

With the new system coming live, unitholders can access their investment account in U.T.O.S. from anywhere in the world through the new and upgraded U.T.O.S. Management Website, as long as they have internet access.  

With the implementation of new Unit Registry System and new website, unitholders will be able to:

·         Check their investment balance online from mobile phones, ipads, tablets, laptops and other new and advanced technology that will allow internet access.

 ·         Print statements online.

·         View the history of transactions in your account.

·         Download application forms and other publicly available documents such as the Prospectus.

·         Get the latest news and information on U.T.O.S. events.

The new service is a cost benefit for unitholders because they do not have to physically come to the UTOS office to check their investment balance. It is also very cost effective for the staff of the Management Company in terms of reducing the use of paper, as well as reducing staff time input into the processing of new unit applications, sale and repurchase of units and printing of unit certifications.

There will be a second phase of the project that will give the ability for registered unitholders to purchase their investment online.  

This will make it very cost effective, easy and convenient for overseas-based unitholders to top up their investment online without going through the rigmarole of a money transfer or bank to remit their funds to Samoa. 

Of course, security will be strengthened to protect accounts of unitholders and protect against money laundering practices. This second phase is expected to be facilitated following the commissioning of the Tui Samoa submarine cable later this year.

A mobile application will be developed to allow unitholders to securely access their accounts online. This will put U.T.O.S. at the level of other international financial institutions where access to services and information online is fast, secure and very convenient. 

A brief demonstration of the new system and its features was provided during the launch by Neil Hamlin, Managing Director of the software developer company. The new Registry system and website was designed and developed by a New Zealand based company, ZEST IT Ltd.

17 February 2017, 12:00AM

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