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U.T.O.S. CEO defends investment record

The Chief Executive Officer for the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.) has defended its investment record, after a church pastor complained of losing money in the government-owned Trust.

Trust head Tevaga Viane Tagiilima said the investment vehicle was designed for long-term growth, in response to criticisms by Pastor Samoa Uaoi of the Peace Chapel Christian Fellowship.

"I put some money in U.T.O.S. and I lost it, they (Government) took my money rather than giving anything to me," Pastor Samoa said. 

"I thought well that’s the risk of investment, even our own U.T.O.S. they took our money, we lost the money when we put it there for over four-to-six months."

But Tevaga said that the trust has generated returns for unit holders and that the Government's intentions were to deliver steady returns for retail investors over the longer-term. 

"[I] am not really sure how long he actually deposited his money with U.T.O.S., if that was the case then there was not enough time for the Trust to actually try and work something better for his return," he said. 

“I don’t really want to comment because I don’t really know the background of his deposits before he took it out again.”

Tevaga said Pastor Samoa must have been ill-informed about the process of investing in U.T.O.S. 

“A requirement for our staff is that we explain to them the process before they can invest in the Trust," he said. 

"We need to tell them the difference between the buying price and the selling price."

Tevaga said that aside from the Pastor the Trust had received no other similar complaints. 

“If you compare the number of unit holders two-three years ago with the number we have now, there’s actually a sort of trust, the people who actually invested with the Trust, they are happy with the return they are getting," he said. 

The buying and selling prices of the units will always affect the return of any investment in the Trust, explained Tevaga. 

“For example, this month the unit price is $1.65 and if you want to deposit that for the first time, reselling it to the Trust will be $1.63 in order get your money back," he said.

Tevaga said investors have to buy 50 units to start their investments and then top up with an investment size of their choosing:

“So at the moment our new unit price is $1.65: that’s about $82 tala to start off. 

“It depends on the growth of where the money is being invested. 

"Because we make the assessment every month, at the end of the month we revalue all the assets including new investments and then we see what the trend is. 

"Normally the price will go up, same with withdrawal price, the purchase price."

The comments come in the same week as the Trust announced a monthly increase to its unit selling price following the injection  into the Trust of end-of-financial-year dividends worth $1.10 million tala from BlueSky Samoa. That income has drove the unit price to $1.65 from $1.63 at the start of the month. 

The latest instalment of dividends takes the total received by U.T.O.S. from its BlueSky holdings to close to $7 million, according to a U.T.O.S. statement. 

U.T.O.S. owns a 25 per cent stake in Bluesky.

The Trust has about 3,000 unit holders from across Samoa.   

Breakdown: 

Unitholders annual growth rate: FY 17/18 = 8.4 percent 

Unitholders annual growth rate: FY18/19 = 26.03 percent  

Unit price gain/unit value growth for FY17/18 – 5.33 percent

Unit price gain/unit value growth for FY18/19 - 5.80 percent

Total return on unit holder investment (unit value growth + annual divided return) for FY17/18 – 12 percent

Total return on unit holder investment (unit value growth + annual divided return) for FY18/19 - 12.20 percent


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