The Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) recorded $256.3 million in total distribution payments to unitholders in 2022, a 16.2 per cent increase from $221 million in 2021.
The financial institution hosted it 41st annual general meeting on Thursday at the Government Campus Plaza, Port of Spain where the ‘Annual Report 2022’ was presented. This was the first in-person meeting, post-pandemic.
Chairman Jo-Anne Julien in her opening remarks noted the challenges brought on by the global pandemic, ongoing conflict in Ukraine and a turbulent financial landscape. In 2022, the group’s total assets declined marginally by one per cent to $25.1 billion from $25.4 billion in 2021.
“Notwithstanding the challenges, our enduring success has been rooted in the alignment of sound investment strategies, robust risk management and operational prudence. As such, the corporation is proud to have maintained distributions to unitholders while weathering tough times,” she said.
In 2022 UTC recorded positive net sales of over $600 million. The financial institution has a membership of over 543,600 unitholders – across nine mutual funds– and a market share of 38.6 per cent.
Executive director Nigel Edwards said in 2022 the markets reacted with varying degrees of volatility, which impacted the performances of investments both globally and locally. Despite these challenges, UTC generated net income after taxation of $52.2 million.
“These strong results were bolstered by our fifth consecutive year of high ratings from the Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Ltd (CariCRIS). Additionally, UTC also achieved a CariAA issuer/corporate credit ratings for foreign and local currency on the regional rating scale and ttAA on the TT national scale,” he added.
As part of UTC’s regional expansion, Edwards said the corporation signed a joint venture agreement in May 2022 with GK Capital Management Ltd (GK Capital), a GraceKenndey (GK) subsidiary, to offer additional investment options to the Jamaican market.
“In March 2023, three new mutual fund products were launched in Jamaica, namely: GK US-dollar income fund; GK Jamaican-dollar money market fund and GK Jamaican-dollar growth and income fund,” he added.
And more recently, last week, the corporation launched its first fund offerings in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), under the umbrella of the UTC Global Balanced Fund Ltd in St. Lucia.
Edwards said this is the first retail collective investment scheme available to investors across the entire ECCU, providing access to international capital markets to people from all walks of life.
According to the annual report 2022, the corporation’s investment securities increased by 2 per cent or $0.4 million when compared to 2021. This was attributed to the corporation’s increased portfolio holdings based on the investment strategy of the respective funds.
Edwards said the corporation has undertaken a massive online onboarding initiative. As part of the transition more than 800,000 customer accounts will be transferred to the new system.
“However, I am aware of the difficulties customers are experiencing with card-related transactions...your experience with the new cards has fallen well short of our commitment to you, and I give you the assurance that our team is working with all our partners to get you 100 per cent transaction success and satisfaction,” he said.