Johannesburg, 15 December 2017 — Global Credit Ratings has accorded Absa Core Income Fund a national scale fund rating* of AA(ZA)(f); with the outlook accorded as Stable.
SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE
Global Credit Ratings (“GCR”) has accorded the above fund rating to Absa Core Income Fund (“Absa CIF”, “the fund”), key features of which are summarised below, based on the following key criteria:
|Fund currency||South African Rand|
|Fund data review date||31 October 2017|
|Assets under management (“AUM”)||R512.6m|
|Net asset value (“NAV”)||Market value (variable NAV)|
|Fund benchmark||JIBAR + 0.5%|
Fund rating factors: GCR qualitatively assesses the fund’s management, and performs an evaluation of its historical performance in terms of price/return volatility, underlying asset quality, and market and liquidity risks.
Fund profile: The fixed income mandate of the fund aims to deliver total returns exceeding those offered by money market (“MM”) funds. The mandate prioritises capital preservation, low risk and high liquidity, attracting retail and corporate/ institutional investors with an investment horizon greater than six months. Regulatory, mandate, and investment policy compliance are evident. Absa CIF features 2 day liquidity and a 1 year duration limit.
Asset manager profile: Absa Asset Management/Absa Fund Managers perform the investment/fund management functions in house, outsourcing selected administration activities. Based on the manager’s track record, it possesses the competence, capability and capacity to manage the fund. High quality management practices, compliance and risk monitoring, as well as operational and systems environments aim to meet performance objectives within mandate constraints. Furthermore, the fund’s marketing, risk management, compliance, administration and performance reporting follow international best practice.
Investment performance: Since the establishment of the fund in October 2016, AUM have grown to R512.6m as at 31 October 2017. Investor flows have been volatile over the past year, but the fund has adequate strategies in place to simultaneously meet investment objectives and manage liquidity, including maintaining adequate levels of liquid assets. The fund’s monthly annualised returns have exceeded benchmark since December 2016, while 0.6% volatility over a 12 month time horizon supports a moderately low volatility risk assessment of the portfolio.
Portfolio quality and market risk: GCR’s portfolio analysis considered credit/concentration risk, tenor/duration (and limits), and additional sources of market risk, in addition to Absa CIF’s stress-tested weighted average credit rating (“WACR”) of ‘AA(ZA)’, in determining the fund rating. The fund’s short track record, moderately low volatility and long portfolio tenor result in an initial ‘moderately low’ market risk assessment.
Key fund risks: Very high investor and counterparty concentration, and tenor based exposure, are Absa CIF’s key risks. The fund’s very high investor concentration is a function of its short history and small size, while very high issuer concentration is due to the Absa Asset Management’s decision to primarily invest in instruments issued by South Africa’s five largest banks. Credit concentration is a systemic issue in South Africa, and affects most variable rate, short-term fixed income funds (ie, MM funds and other cash strategies), due to the typically high allocation of bank securities in these funds’ portfolios. Absa CIF’s long maturity profile (weighted average maturity of 3.5 years) raises spread risk.
An increase in the WACR of the portfolio, accompanied by a sustained reduction in tenor and stability or improvement in concentration risks, could enhance the rating. Mandate breaches, a significant increase in the volatility of the fund, and/or a deterioration in the fund’s WACR, could negatively affect the rating.
* Fund ratings (denoted by a ‘f’ modifier) provide an opinion regarding the fund’s ability to preserve principal value under varying market conditions; with reference to the relevant asset management environment. Refer to GCR’s published rating scales and definitions.
|NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS HISTORY|
|Initial/last rating (December 2017)|
|Fund rating: AA(ZA)(f)|
|Primary Analyst||Secondary Analyst|
|Kurt Boere||Thandolwenkosi Mkwanazi|
|Senior Credit Analyst||Junior Credit Analyst|
|(011) 784-1771||(011) 784-1771|
|Senior Credit Analyst|
APPLICABLE METHODOLOGIES AND RELATED RESEARCH
Global Criteria for Rating Funds and Asset Managers, updated March 2017
RATING LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS
ALL GCR’S CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET/UNDERSTANDING-RATINGS. IN ADDITION, GCR’S RATING SCALES AND DEFINITIONS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET/RATINGS-INFO. GCR’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, PUBLICATION TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET.
SALIENT FEATURES OF ACCORDED RATINGS
GCR affirms that a.) no part of the rating was influenced by any other business activities of the credit rating agency; b.) the rating was based solely on the merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument being rated; c.) such rating was an independent evaluation of the risks and merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument; and d.) the validity of the rating is for a maximum of 12 months, or earlier as indicated by the applicable fund rating document.
Absa Asset Management Proprietary Limited participated in the rating process via face-to-face management meetings, teleconferences and other written correspondence. Furthermore, the quality of information received was considered adequate and has been independently verified where possible.
The fund rating has been disclosed to Absa Asset Management Proprietary Limited with no contestation of the rating.
The information received from Absa Asset Management Proprietary Limited and other reliable third parties to accord the fund rating included:
- A breakdown of the fund investment portfolio, including information on the instruments, their terms, conditions and credit quality;
- A breakdown of the fund investor portfolio, including fund flows and withdrawal terms;
- Detail on historical fund returns, fee structures, and expense ratios;
- Details regarding the fund management, investment management and administration activities of the fund;
- Financial statements for Absa Core Income Fund at 31 December 2016;
- Corporate governance and enterprise risk framework; and
- Industry comparative data and regulatory framework.
The rating above was solicited by, or on behalf of, Absa Asset Management Proprietary Limited, and therefore, GCR has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS/ACRONYMS USED IN THIS DOCUMENT AS PER GCR’S FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS GLOSSARY
|Asset||A resource with economic value that a company owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.|
|Capital||The sum of money that is invested to generate proceeds.|
|Corporate Governance||Refers to the mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and directed, and is used to ensure the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of an entity to its stakeholders.|
|Credit Rating||An opinion regarding the creditworthiness of an entity, a security or financial instrument, or an issuer of securities or financial instruments, using an established and defined ranking system of rating categories.|
|Credit Rating Agency||An entity that provides credit rating services.|
|Credit Risk||The possibility that a bond issuer or any other borrowers (including debtors/creditors) will default and fail to pay the principal and/or interest when due.|
|Debt||An obligation to repay a sum of money. More specifically, it is funds passed from a creditor to a debtor in exchange for interest and a commitment to repay the principal in full on a specified date or over a specified period.|
|Financial Institution||An entity that focuses on dealing with financial transactions, such as investments, loans and deposits.|
|Financial Statements||Presentation of financial data including balance sheets, income statements and statements of cash flow, or any supporting statement that is intended to communicate an entity’s financial position at a point in time.|
|Interest||Scheduled payments made to a creditor in return for the use of borrowed money. The size of the payments will be determined by the interest rate, the amount borrowed or principal and the duration of the loan.|
|Liquid Assets||Assets, generally of a short term, that can be converted into cash.|
|Liquidity||The speed at which assets can be converted to cash. It can also refer to the ability of a company to service its debt obligations due to the presence of liquid assets such as cash and its equivalents. Market liquidity refers to the ease with which a security can be bought or sold quickly and in large volumes without substantially affecting the market price.|
|Liquidity Risk||The risk that a company may not be able to meet its financial obligations or other operational cash requirements due to an inability to timeously realise cash from its assets. Regarding securities, the risk that a financial instrument cannot be traded at its market price due to the size, structure or efficiency of the market.|
|Long-Term||Not current; ordinarily more than one year.|
|Long-Term Rating||Reflects an issuer’s ability to meet its financial obligations over the following three to five year period, including interest payments and debt redemptions. This encompasses an evaluation of the organisation’s current financial position, as well as how the position may change in the future with regard to meeting longer term financial obligations.|
|Maturity||The length of time between the issue of a bond or other security and the date on which it becomes payable in full.|
|National Scale Rating||Provides a relative measure of creditworthiness for rated entities only within the country concerned. Under this rating scale, a ‘AAA’ long term national scale rating will typically be assigned to the lowest relative risk within that country, which in most cases will be the sovereign state.|
|Net Asset Value||The value of an entity’s assets less its liabilities. It is a reflection of the company’s underlying value and is usually quoted on a per share basis.|
|Portfolio||A collection of investments held by an individual investor or financial institution. They may include stocks, bonds, futures contracts, options, real estate investments or any item that the holder believes will retain its value.|
|Principal||The total amount borrowed or lent, e.g. the face value of a bond, excluding interest.|
|Provision||The amount set aside or deducted from operating income to cover expected or identified loan losses.|
|Risk||The chance of future uncertainty (i.e. deviation from expected earnings or an expected outcome) that will have an impact on objectives.|
|Risk Management||Process of identifying and monitoring business risks in a manner that offers a risk/return relationship that is acceptable to an entity’s operating philosophy.|
|Securities||Various instruments used in the capital market to raise funds.|
|Security||An asset deposited or pledged as a guarantee of the fulfilment of an undertaking or the repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in case of default.|
|Short-Term||Current; ordinarily less than one year.|
|Tenor||The time from the value date until the expiry date of a financial instrument.|
For a detailed glossary of terms please click here
GCR accords a fund rating* of AA(ZA)(f) to Absa Core Income Fund; Outlook Stable.