THE official launch last week of the new Gold Coin Unit Trust by a local investment firm, Bard Santner, is expected to go a long way in promoting financial inclusion in line with global trends while buttressing long-term savings by ordinary Zimbabweans.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) launched gold coins in June last year, as an alternative investment instrument to ease pressure on the demand for the US dollars and mop up excess liquidity on the market which was destabilizing the exchange rate.
Just like ordinary unit trusts, collective investment schemes involving the pooling of funds by a number of investors, the new Gold Coin Unit Trust enables investors to invest a minimum of just US$120 per year and own a share of a gold coin.
Alternatively, investors can accumulate units at a rate of US$15 per month. The minimum investment period is 180 days and a withdrawal notice period of seven days is required.
With an entry window of as little as US$15 per month to buy gold coins, also known as Mosi-oa Tunya, Bard Santner has said its platform seeks to give investors a chance to invest in one of the oldest assets at affordable rates, thereby promoting 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 offering investors a platform to save while preserving value,” the firm’s executive director, Dr Alfred Mthimkhulu, said in a statement shared with the media.
He said the objective of the Unit Trust is to deliver long-term value preservation given that gold has been the foremost store of value throughout the ages and performs well during times of economic volatility.
“We cannot think of a more stable asset for our clients than gold. It also happens to be a resource, like numerous others, we have in abundance in Zimbabwe.
“We are keen to see our clients’ portfolios hold the most stable asset humankind has ever known, from clients with as little as $15 to save per month to those with thousands and millions of times that amount,” said Dr Mthimkhulu.
According to the company, the minimum investment in the Unit Trust will be equivalent of US$120 per year.
Alternatively, an investor can accumulate units at a rate of US$15 per month, it said, adding that the minimum investment period is 180 days with a withdrawal notice period of seven calendar days.
Dr Mthimkhulu said the fund suits conservative investors whose goal is to accumulate savings using a defensive asset hence it is Bard Santner’s understanding of empowerment and prudence in investment management.
“And of course, in doing this through the Unit Trust, we are promoting a savings culture in Zimbabwe as per the goal expressed by the Central Bank on the first issue of coins six months ago,” he said.
The investment management firm says it has already begun the process of scaling up the distribution of the gold coin, stating that, at $1600 each when first issued in July, the price was too high for many Zimbabweans.
It further noted that even the smallest denomination introduced in November is still unaffordable for an average household.
Speaking during the launch last week, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development communications director Dr Clive Mphambela described the units “as an innovation that shows how bold we are as a country” in developing innovative investment products.
“These principles are echoed in the product being launched today, with bold action and transformative is represented by policymakers that are aware of the fact that ‘business as usual’ cannot deliver a prosperous middle-income economy by 2030,” said Dr Mphambela.
“It takes boldness to cut through the noise and take action with conviction as Bard Santner has done in coming up with the product being launched today,” he added.