Tuesday 29 September, 2015

NASFUND coping in slowing economy

NASFUND coping in slowing economy

By Rosalyn Albaniel – Post Courier (28 – 09 - 2015)

In spite of the down-turn in the economy in a number of key sectors, the board and management of NASFUND say the fund has fared well.

NASFUND’s chief executive officer Ian Tarutia was responding to questions relating to the fund’s performance for 2015 and investment decisions undertaken.

“ So far in spite of the slow- down in the country’s economy across a number of key sectors, the fund’s performance has been positive and in line with the boards approved budget for 2015”, he said.

Mr Tarutia said apart from the usual investments in fixed income products such as Government bonds and Treasury Bills, the fund’s board had made decisions to invest in the banking sector and commercial real estate as well.

On the operational front, since January, the fund has processed 38,745 member transactions, (including housing advances) totaling K264.213 million.

He added that 75 per cent of all payments had been related to unemployment.

Commenting on the Fund’s stake in Hitron Limited – Papua New Guinea’s top provider of internet, VSat systems and TV programs, Mr Tarutia had clarified the investment had been undertaken in 2013, adding it was also in line with its approved strategic asset allocation, investment objective and risk return profile.

“The decision to invest in Hitron was made in 2013 after considering the company as a flagship company in the growth sector of data with largest PNG cutomer base in TV Channel.

“Nasfund invested for a 40 per cent stake when the company was valued at K90 million.

“In 2014 Hitron was valued at K100 million at which time Digicel invested in the remaining 60 per cent,” he said.

In terms of expected returns, Mr Tarutia said the fund has always cautioned members that investment returns are subject to market changes which can be positive or negative.

“Members must remember that their fortnightly contributions to NASFUND are long term savings for their benefit at retirement. It will grow significantly over a long period of time through the effect of compound interest dedication to investing in assets that provide long term secure returns,” he added. 

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