A dividend of $6.6 million tala was declared by the Unit Trust of Samoa for the financial year ending 30th June 2021. Despite the impacts of Covid-19, this was an increase of 6.6% compared to dividends declared for the previous financial year.
The 11th Annual General Meeting of the Trust was held last week Friday 19 August 2022, attended by 129 unitholders. Those present held 42 million units representing 51% of the Trust’s Unitholders.
The UTOS annual report showed positive growth in all areas of the business including a 16% growth in the number of unitholders compared to the Financial Year ended June 2020 (FY2020).
• The unit price recorded a 10 sene increase during the year (July 2020: $1.66).
• The Total Investment Portfolio increased by 3.48% to SAT$164 million at the end of FY2021(FY2020: $158m)
• Total Income increased by 25% compared to FY2020 as was driven by key portfolio allocation decisions that were made to address impacts brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic (FY2020:SAT$10.4m)
• Overall, the Trust recorded a Net Comprehensive Income of SAT$7.55 million for FY2021 (FY2020: SAT$7.54m)
• The total Net Assets for the Trust as at 30th June 2021 was SAT$139 million (FY2020:SAT$135m)
• The total Assets of the Trust as at 30th June 2021 was SAT$170 million (FY2020: SAT$164m).
The Trustee Company
UTOS is a private trust owned by the Unitholders with its assets entrusted to a Trustee Company which holds in trust the funds of the unit holders. These funds are invested into a diversified portfolio of assets ranging from term deposits, government securities and shares in privately owned companies. Its social objective is inclusivity; allowing for accessible and affordable investment for ordinary Samoans.
Its commercial objective is to generate returns for the unitholders.
The Trustees made their remarks during the meeting and highlighted the critical aspect of their independent role. Their core responsibility is to ensure that the unitholder funds are secure and investment decisions are in line with unitholders’ best interests to earn optimal returns.
The Trustees reiterated the importance of their role as watch-dogs and stated that all the work carried by UTOS (Management) Limited was in accordance with relevant legislations and guidelines and emphasised that no insider trading occurred during the period.
Minister Keynote Address
The keynote address was delivered by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Susuga Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo. This was her inaugural keynote address since taking on the role as the Minister of Finance and the Unit Trust of Samoa (Management) Limited. She spoke about the first Pathway for the Development of Samoa (PDS) FY2021/2022 – FY2025/2026 that was developed by the Government to guide its socio-economic development over the next four years.
The Government’s aspiration is to “nurture growth that benefits all of our people”, hence the main priority for this PDS is human development. When our families are well developed, our villages and churches will progress, and therefore our Country as a whole will continue to cultivate positive growth.
One of the reasons why UTOS was set up, is to provide opportunities for all Samoans to invest their funds for better returns. Returns from UTOS have been capitalized by some unitholders to inject more resources to their existing businesses or develop new business interests, which has contributed to the development and the economy of Samoa.
She spoke on the challenges faced by the Trust fund resulting from the pandemic and increasing threats from climate change. Despite this, the Trust continues to deliver positive results and for that she commended the Trustees, Board and Management and especially the unitholders for maintaining their trust in UTOS.
The UTOS Chief Executive Officer Tevaga Viane Tagiilima presented on behalf of UTOS (Management) Limited and provided a brief presentation on main decisions undertaken by the Board of Directors during the financial year 2021.
Tevaga highlighted the achievements and accomplished of the Trust.
He also gave a detailed explanation of the different existing structures between the Unit Trust of Samoa (Trust) and the Unit Trust of Samoa (Management) Ltd and their governance arrangements.
The unitholders openly raised questions and concerns which the Board and Management were able to addresss.
The Annual Report for the financial year ending 30th June 2021 was then passed by the unitholders after discussions.
Unitholders thanked the Board and Management for the work carried out to ensure their funds remain secure and noted the gain on returns despite the challenges of the last two years.
This AGM was convened much later than usual due to State of Emergency restrictions.
However the next AGM to discuss the Annual Report for financial year ending 30th June 2022 will be held as usual, and is tentatively scheduled for November 2022.
About the Unit Trust of Samoa
The Unit Trust of Samoa is an initiative of the Government of Samoa mandated under the Unit Trusts Act 2008, whose goal is to provide “an investment vehicle for local and overseas based Samoans and Samoan businesses”. The establishment of the Unit Trust of Samoa was approved by the Minister of Finance on 2nd March 2009 as required by section 3 of the Unit Trusts Act 2008.
In addition, The Unit Trust of Samoa was setup by Trust Deed, and is managed by a State Owned Enterprise which is UTOS (Management) Ltd. The Government shareholding Ministers of the UTOS (Management) Ltd are the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
The Trust is an opportunity for small investors to access a range of investments while at the same time spreading risk and leaving the management of their savings in the hands of experts. It is also a part of the Government’s policy of partially privatizing some State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) and promoting wider participation by residents in the future development of Samoa.