This question, “where do I invest?” is always on the lips of many Ghanaians (and in the ears of investment professionals).
The inquiry has been prolific, especially on the back of the recent financial sector crises, and the eventual loss of confidence in the industry. The current adversities in Ghana’s economy also necessitate this concern.
The week, 21st to 27th March 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of Global Money Week (GMW). This aims to promote efforts that improve financial literacy, especially among young people. As part of GMW2022, I bring you this article on clever investing, first published on ghanatalksbusiness.com. I hope you will find it useful.
“Where do I invest my money in Ghana?” Some one-time very adored investment brands have tanked, leaving people in despair. The next most probable response you may hear is to ‘keep your money under your bed’.
The Bad Option
Keeping money under your bed is only a good option if the currency of your money is gold. Not even the Great British Pound (£) can hold its mettle against that investment choice. The purchasing power of the money, that is, the actual strength of the money measured in what it can purchase whittles down with time.
The Inflation Effect
Inflation as it happens (outside of your room) would be rendering the money less valuable. Ghana’s annual inflation rate has spiralled for the ninth consecutive month to 15.7% in February of 2022, from 13.9% in January. This is the highest rate since October of 2016. A point that goes to buttress the fact that keeping your money under your bed even for the shortest possible time is a BAD OPTION.
Only keep it in a vault if it is gold. If not, then the investor needs to look for another option. But first, look at these considerations.
Your Investment Objective
The individual’s objective for the investment is what directs where the money should end up. The investment objective could be the quest to grow your capital (or simply money), in which case the rate of return is a major consideration. Is the objective to save for some obligation later or just to preserve and somehow grow the capital? Another question is how long the investor is ready to leave the money for. Is the investor thinking of accumulating wealth through regular deposits or just doing one bullet placement? There may still be other questions not mentioned here because of the generality of this piece.
The Risk Question
However, one very important point is the level of risk the investor is ready to take. How to assess your own risk is how much of the money you can afford to lose while nursing the hope of getting more (tough eh?). This is one question people haven’t answered well before placing their money into investments. However, the recent winds have forced people to answer the risk question anyhow. Gradually Ghanaians are learning that risk must be considered, and the rate of return is not everything.
The Investment Options
The individual may not get clean-cut answers to all these questions, but this is where an advisor (paid or unpaid) could be of help. At least the investor could be a little bit more informed before leaping. There are several accomplished investment managers with a proven track record in Ghana’s financial services space. Conduct thorough research and seek advice from a licensed investment manager. You would agree that the time for just jumping into the market without any kind of advice is over.
Where to Invest your money: Government Instruments
Government instruments have begun to gain popularity following the uncertainties that have characterized the financial system, and increased government borrowing. Individuals are looking for safer investments more than just high return investments. Not just are they safer but in terms of returns, they seem to be competing well with the higher risk investments like banks’ fixed deposit and mutual funds from the investment houses.
These observations have made the government’s shorter-term treasury bills and longer-term treasury notes and bonds more popular. Previously individuals were satisfied with 91-day or 182-day T-Bills. Potential investors are now showing interest in longer-term bonds.
A development that has aroused investor interest in longer-dated bonds is the fact that investors are now being rewarded for holding their funds longer. For a long time into 2015 thereabout, investors were getting lower returns for longer-dated government investments. The government had not also embarked on an intentional strategy to correct this trend. Fast forward to 2022, the story is different and longer-term bonds are attracting higher returns than short term notes. (See graphs 1 & 2 showing the yield curve*)
Yield Curves for Primary & Secondary markets as at end of February 2022
* A yield curve is a line that plots yields (interest rates) of bonds having equal credit quality but differing maturity dates.
Where to invest your money: Eurobond
Eurobond is a bond issued by the government for US Dollar holding investors. The current economic situation has created the opportunity to invest in Eurobonds. There seems to be a discount on such bonds, which is making it more profitable to purchase currently. However, speak to an investment manager prior to making an investment in the Eurobond market.
Where to Invest your money: Property
Property has over time proven to be a good choice due to the ever upward appreciation of the value of landed properties in Ghana. However, one must guard against land-related vigilantism and administrative fraud which rob people of their investment. An indirect investment into property would be to invest in the real estate investment trusts (REITS).
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
These are funds collected from a group of investors. Professional investment managers could invest in the various aspects of real estate businesses. Profits are then shared among the ‘contributors’ or investors. The risk here is that if the economy tightens and there is no money in circulation the sector suffers and that can affect returns.
In Ghana’s case where the property market is primarily driven by the US Dollar, the Cedi’s depreciation affects the performance of the investments. As has been the case in recent months, the Cedi’s worrisome decline could impact the performance of such investments.
This article seeks to educate the individual investor or a potential investor to a certain extent. The emphasis here is for one to seek professional advice when one intends to invest. For instance, investing in a 5-year bond may come with certain terms and conditions an advisor could help interpret. We are now in an era where such services have become critical.