As a middlemen who ensures that the interest of all parties in an investment is protected, Funmi Ekundayo deploys her expertise to satisfy her clients while they go to sleep, confident that what they have invested in the business would yield the anticipated profits. Interview by Chima Akwaja.
We give comfort to all parties in a commercial transaction…
What every investor wants is peace of mind. Anyone parting with value – whether it’s a bank that wants to lend to a corporate entity for any reason whatsoever – wants to be sure that the money will be repaid with interest and as agreed. Having said that, I would like to say that we are the gate watchers of such transactions; we protect investors. We give comfort to all parties in a commercial transaction.
What grows an economy is trade, investments and a conducive environment…
Most credit transactions with banks are never complete without a trustee because the trustee provides the requisite comfort to both the bank, lending the money, and the borrower. With a trustee, a financial provider in any transaction feels secured knowing that a trustee will monitor all the obligations and ensure that all the terms of obligation are complied with and everybody is happy. We all know that what grows an economy is trade, investments and a conducive environment. So you can say that trustees help facilitate that.
The trustee ensures that the mode of repayment is secured…
Coming to bond trusteeship, which is also a very significant part of the role we play as a trustee, Nigeria is a frontier economy, which means that we still have a lot of infrastructural gap. So what do most states do? They come to the capital market to raise capital. We call it debt capital or the bond. For them to raise bonds, investors have to part with their own money so that the states can have instant cash to carry out long-term infrastructural projects. However, don’t forget that some people have parted with capital and need to be paid back. So, all of the interest of the investors is put in the hands of one person and that is the trustee. The trustee ensures that the mode of repayment is secured.
Our socio-cultural belief is another challenge…
One of the challenges facing the industry is that of awareness. The Association of Corporate Trustees of Nigeria is working hard to ensure that a layman on the street understands what the concept of trusteeship is and how it can be beneficial to them.
Also, in the area of regulations, we want to see a complete overhaul of the key laws that guide these practices of trusteeship business in Nigeria, basically the Trustees Act and the Trustees Investment Act. These laws are more than 50-years-old and some of them still rely on the practices of common law and we think it’s about time the National Assembly came up with some needful amendments to these statutes. Our association will be happy to engage the legislature in this regard and contribute our quota to the proposed amendments.
In the area of private trusts which involves Wills and Living Trusts, our social-cultural belief is another challenge because a lot of people continue to view it with superstition. No matter how religious some people may be, the need to have an estate plan in place frightens them and they keep procrastinating and postponing until it is too late to set up a plan.
However, in terms of the laws regulating our business, I would like to commend SEC’s efforts at creating rules as the need arises and updating them from time to time. This has been very helpful.
We train and retrain ourselves towards ensuring that we continuously deliver quality and innovative services…
At STL Trustees, our core values are integrity, professionalism, commitment and innovation. These values ensure that in dealing with clients, whether individual or corporate, we strive to always deliver trust solutions that are guaranteed to meet their needs on a continuously satisfactory basis. And because we operate in an industry that is extremely dynamic, we train and retrain ourselves towards ensuring that we continuously deliver quality and innovative services with the required speed to excite our clients.
STL Trustees is a delegate trustee to the first Sukuk Issuance in Nigeria, the State of Osun Sukuk Al-Ijara which was issued by the government of the State of Osun to finance the construction of modern elementary, middle and high schools in the state. We are also a delegate trustee to the first sovereign Sukuk to be issued in Nigeria, the N100B FGN Road Sukuk 1, which was issued by the federal government to fund the construction and rehabilitation of some roads across the six geo-political zones in the country.
Essentially, our ability to anticipate, meet and surpass the needs of our clients are some of the factors that helped us to win the 2017 award of Non-Interest Trustees of the Year during the 3rd African International Conference on Islamic Finance organised by The Metropolitan Skills Limited.
We have a bouquet of customised retail products…
In order to simplify the concept of trusteeship for our customers and make same readily available no matter an individual’s income level, we have a bouquet of customised retail products tailored to meet the needs of individuals across a broad spectrum. These products are: Controlling Your Retirement Voluntarily (STL CRV). STL CRV is a savings product which has been designed for income earners who are mindful of preparing ahead for post-retirement from paid employment, in addition to the mandatory pension contributions under the law as well as self-employed individuals who want to secure their future, when they would be less active and earn lower income.
The product is targeted at the middle to lower income group and ensures that they are able to maintain a lifestyle akin to what they enjoyed while in active service. It is pertinent to also add that this product has an insurance benefit and the contributor gets a specified amount on the happening of certain events. The insurance premium is separate from the funds contributed and the income generated from the management of the funds as premium for the insurance is paid by STL Trustees.
There is also STL Target which is specifically designed for persons who would wish to set aside some funds to meet a particular need at some determinate time in the future. The advantage of this product is that it simplifies savings for events by the client and ensures that the funds are available for the required purpose.
We also have an educational product tagged STL CET. STL is a CET Child Education Trust designed to enable you set up a Trust Fund for the education of your child or children. STL Trustees will hold such funds under a trust instrument as trustees to the named beneficiaries and preserve the funds, including all accumulated income thereon, in trust for your named beneficiaries. The contributions for this product is periodic and gradual to enable one build up the fund to achieve the desired objective. One can also make lump sum payment if desired.
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