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Alternative Investment

Bard Santner unveils affordable gold unit trust

The Herald

Business Reporter
BARD Santner Investors Private Limited, Zimbabwe’s newly established and fast growing asset management firm, has introduced a novel investment security, the Bard Santner Gold Coin Unit Trust, as part of efforts to provide an affordable gold linked investment security as well as widen and deepen the country’s capital markets.

This follows the introduction by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) of the Mosi-oa-Tunya Gold Coins to, among other reasons, promote a savings culture in Zimbabwe.

The Bard Santner Gold Coin Unit Trust enables Zimbabweans to invest in an asset whose value is directly linked to the international gold price, which accords investors an opportunity to save while preserving value.

The gold unit trust is designed to deliver long term value preservation given that gold has been a proven store of value throughout the ages and performs well during times of economic volatility.
According to Bard Santner, the minimum investment is the equivalent of US$120 per year. Alternatively, an investor can accumulate units at a rate of US$15 per month. The minimum investment period is US$180 while a notice for withdrawal is 7 calendar days.

The trustee of the Bard Santner Gold Coin Unit Trust is the Central African Building Society (CABS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Old Mutual Zimbabwe, the country’s single largest financial services and property company.

Bard Santner has introduced its Gold Coin Unit Trust following its licensing by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe in July last year and licensing of the gold unit trust by the RBZ last December.

Speaking during the launch of the Bard Santner Gold Unit Trust in Harare yesterday, the firm’s executive director Lucia Chingwaru said the initiative was motivated by the need to complement efforts by the Government to promote savings, offer alternative investment option to investors and provide a hedge against inflation.

“The initiative was really to augment the efforts of the Government to promote savings or provide a hedge to larger populace against inflation. We believe that the unit trust will be cheaper and efficient and will be accommodating to everyone we thought could not afford to own a unit in gold,” she said.

Speaking at the same event, another Bard Santner executive director Dr Alfred Mthimkulu said the financial investments company was licensed as an asset management company in July 2022 and opened its doors to the investing public the following month.

Six months later, Bard Santner had its gold unit trust licensed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which urged Zimbabwe’s capital market players to innovate around the Mosi-oa-Tunya Gold Coin to offer innovative financial products.

“As Bard Santner, we cannot think of a more stable asset than gold,” he said, adding that clients could invest in the the firm’s gold linked investment security from as little as US$15 per month to buy the gold unit trust.

The gold units also provide attractive investment options to larger investors with thousands to millions of US dollar savings.

“This is our understanding of financial inclusion. This is our understanding of empowerment, this is our understanding of future investment in financial markets in Zimbabwe,” Dr Mthimkulu said.

” In doing this through our gold unit trust, we are promoting savings culture in Zimbabwe. For a functional economy like ours, we have a well developed financial market except for one glaring anomaly; for many years Zimbabweans have not had a platform to achieve those savings without worrying about loss of value,” he said.

He said the gold unit trust investment option presented the public an alternative, through the financial markets, to create savings and preserve value, including in US dollar terms. “We are here today to scale up the distribution of (RBZ) Gold Coins,” Dr Mthimkulu said.

Bard Santner, in coming up with the innovative investment platform, Dr Mthimkulu said, realised that at a price of around US$1 600 per denomination of the larger units, upon introduction earlier last year, the price was beyond the reach of many.

Even the smaller units of the Mosi-oa-Tunya gold coins later introduced by the central bank in September last year, Dr Mthimkulu opined, the RBZ gold coins remain pricey for a significant part of the population.

Clive Mphambela, the Ministry of Finance and Evonomic Development’s communications who was the guest of honour at the lauch of the Bard Santner Gold Coin Unit Trust, said the initiative by the rapidly growing asset management company tallied with targets and aspirations of the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) of bold and transformative measures”.

“This gold unit trust symbolises targets and aspirations of NDS 1 as well as vision 2030. To those of you familiar with NDS 1, it speaks about bold and transformative measures. Why bold and transformative?

“Bold in the sense that there is a commitment from the Government to do things differently, to chart uncharted and rechart charted waters,” he said.

In terms of transformation, he said, Government was implementing various programmes across sectors, including extensive investments in infrastructure, mining and agriculture.

Mr Mphambela said, for instance, the Government had directed massive investments in trans formative infrastructure programmes using domestically mobilised resources. As such, he said the initiative by Bard Santner was complementary to efforts by the Government to mobilise domestic savings, which are critical for economic growth and development.

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