Johannesburg, 23 March 2017 — Global Credit Ratings has affirmed the national scale fund rating* accorded to Nedgroup Investments Money Market Fund of AA+(ZA)(f); with the outlook accorded as Stable.
SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE
Global Credit Ratings (“GCR”) has accorded the above fund rating to Nedgroup Investments Money Market Fund (“NEDMMF”, “the fund”), key features of which are summarised below.
|Fund currency||South African Rand|
|Fund data review date||31 January 2017|
|Assets under management (“AUM”)||R12.0bn|
|Net asset value (“NAV”)||Targeted constant price of R1.00|
|Fund benchmark||Short Term Fixed Interest (“STeFI”) Call Deposit Index|
In determining a fund rating, GCR qualitatively assesses the fund’s management, and performs an evaluation of the fund portfolio’s historical performance in terms of price/return volatility, underlying asset quality, and market and liquidity risks. This fund rating was based on the following key criteria:
Fund profile: The fixed income mandate of the fund aims to deliver total returns exceeding those offered by call deposits. The mandate prioritises capital preservation, low risk and high liquidity, attracting retail, corporate and institutional investors.
Asset manager profile: Nedgroup Collective Investments (RF) Proprietary Limited (“NCI”) is the fund manager, Taquanta Asset Managers (Proprietary) Limited (“Taquanta”) is mandated to perform investment management functions, and investor administration is outsourced. GCR assesses NEDMMF as being managed within a very strong fund management and control environment, which supports the rating. The capacity, capability and competence of NCI and Taquanta facilitate achievement of performance objectives within mandate constraints. Marketing, risk/compliance and administration follow market best practices.
Investment performance: The fund’s return has exceeded benchmark since inception, and portfolio volatility over a 1- and 5- year time horizon is assessed as very low and low respectively. However, the compound annual growth rate for AUM over the past 3 years is -6.4% (1 year: -10.4%), and remains volatile.
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 NEDMMF’s stress-tested weighted average credit rating (“WACR”) of ‘AA(ZA)’. Interest rate risk is assessed as very low given that regulation limits the weighted average duration of the fund to 90 days. Sensitivity to spread risk is also very low, as regulation caps the fund’s weighted average legal maturity at 120 days and limits final maturity of any individual portfolio asset to 13 months.
Fund risks: Counterparty/investor concentrations and liquidity are the fund’s key risks. High investor concentration reflects the fund’s primarily corporate and institutional client structure. Credit concentration (assessed as high for NEDMMF) is a systemic issue in South Africa, and affects most money market funds, due to the high allocations of bank securities in these funds’ portfolios. The fund’s concentrated investor base and same day liquidity offering leave it susceptible to large and volatile fund (out)flows. Nevertheless, adequate strategies are in place to manage liquidity, including investor concentration monitoring, and holding adequate levels of liquid assets (rated at least ‘A1(ZA)’/‘A(ZA)’ or equivalent).
An increase in the WACR of the portfolio, accompanied by stability or improvement in concentration risks, could enhance the rating. Mandate breaches, and/or deterioration in credit, liquidity and concentration risk metrics, could negatively impact the rating.
* Fund ratings 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 published rating scales and definitions).
|NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS HISTORY|
|Initial/last rating (March 2016)|
|Fund rating: AA+(ZA)(f)|
|Rating outlook: Stable|
|Sector Head: Financial Institution Ratings|
|Senior Credit Analyst|
APPLICABLE METHODOLOGIES AND RELATED RESEARCH
Global Criteria for Rating Funds and Asset Managers, updated March 2016
NEDMMF rating report (2016)
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.
Nedgroup Investments (Proprietary) Limited and Taquanta Asset Managers (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 Nedgroup Investments (Proprietary) Limited and Taquanta Asset Managers (Proprietary) Limited with no contestation of the rating.
The information received from Nedgroup Investments (Proprietary) Limited, Taquanta Asset Managers (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;
- 31 December 2016 financial statements for Nedbank Group Limited;
- Corporate governance and enterprise risk framework; and
- Industry comparative data and regulatory framework.
The rating above was solicited by, or on behalf of, Nedgroup Investments (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.|
|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.|
|Exposure||Exposure is the amount of risk the holder of an asset or security is faced with as a consequence of holding the security or asset. For a company, its exposure may relate to a particular product class or customer grouping. Exposure may also arise from an overreliance on one source of funding.|
|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.|
|Interest Rate||The charge or the return on an asset or debt expressed as a percentage of the price or size of the asset or debt. It is usually expressed on an annual basis.|
|Interest Rate Risk||Interest rate risk in the banking book is the risk that earnings or economic value will decline as a result of changes in interest rates. The sources of interest rate risk in the banking book are repricing/mismatch, basis and yield curve risk.|
|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.|
|Rating Outlook||Indicates the potential direction of a rated entity’s rating over the medium term, typically one to two years. An outlook may be defined as: ‘Stable’ (nothing to suggest that the rating will change), ‘Positive’ (the rating symbol may be raised), ‘Negative’ (the rating symbol may be lowered) or ‘Evolving’ (the rating symbol may be raised or lowered).|
|Risk||The chance of future uncertainty (i.e. deviation from expected earnings or an expected outcome) that will have an impact on objectives.|
|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 affirms Nedgroup Investments Money Market Fund’s rating of AA+(ZA)(f), Outlook Stable.