Over the last decade, the Bangladesh capital market has grown rapidly in size and volume through the efforts of regulators, local exchanges, brokerages, merchant banks and other institutions. Yet the nature and composition of this growth has given rise to some structural problems, such as excessive volatility, speculation based investing, and unusual churn. The Mutual Fund sector offers a long-term solution to some of these structural issues and can play a key role to elevating the Bangladeshi capital market to the next level of growth. Firstly, mutual funds by virtue of being managed by professionals with the right expertise, usually invest on the basis of fundamental research and protect such investments from catastrophic loss through proper risk-management. Thus, mutual funds “invest” rather than “speculate” and can play a vital role in institutionalizing the market and act as a counterweight to excessive market volatility and manipulation. Secondly, mutual funds pool investment capital from thousands of retail investors and institutions that are not market specialists; by doing so mutual funds can help institutionalize the Bangladeshi stock market. With these benefits in mind, the regulatory authorities of our country are encouraging the growth of mutual funds. Realizing the vital role that mutual funds can play in improving the capital market efficiency, Trust Bank Limited, has come forward and sponsored the single largest close-end mutual fund in Bangladesh: Trust Bank 1st Mutual Fund. Having successfully launched merchant banking operations in May 2008 and already servicing a large client base, Trust Bank has significant connectivity with the capital markets. The Bank strongly believes that the Bangladeshi stock market is entering a new growth phase, with healthy dynamics in both the demand and supply sides, and that mutual fund sponsorship offers the bank a responsible and profitable way of participating in this growth; the Trust Bank 1st Mutual Fund is the result. In this endeavor, Trust Bank has chosen two trusted partners with successful track record in the Bangladeshi mutual fund industry:Bangladesh RACE Management PCL as the Fund Manager and the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) as the Trustee and Custodian of the Fund.
Since 2006, a number of factors have increased the popularity of stock market investing among Bangladeshiretail investors, including: rising income, low interest rates in traditional bank savings accounts, large stock investment gains, and increased media coverage. This exponential increase in demand is reflected in the 5xgrowth in average daily trading volume in the stock market during the last 2 years – from Tk. 200 crores in 2006-07 to its current Tk. 700 crores. Despite this significant growth in investor participation in the Bangladeshi stock market, and the demand for professionally managed investment vehicles, the domestic mutual fund industry has not responded with adequate supply. With only 20 individual funds to choose from over the last twenty years, with about Tk. 2,000 crores in assets, the mutual fund industry has been slow to respond to current capital market realities and
comprises only a small percentage of the total stock market investments. As a result, existing mutual funds in the market are trading at significant premium to their NAVs while most of the recent launches have been significantly oversubscribed. To fulfill this large unsatisfied demand for mutual fund investments in Bangladesh, Trust Bank is floating the Trust Bank 1st Mutual Fund. In this endeavor, Trust Bank has appointed Bangladesh RACE Management PCL to be the Fund Manager; RACE has a successful track record in the Bangladesh stock market having launched the first ever commercial bank sponsored mutual fund, EBL First Mutual Fund.
Generally investment in mutual funds enjoys some additional advantages compared to investments made directly in other securities of the capital market. Investors of this mutual fund should be able to enjoy the following advantages.
1) The Fund will maintain a diversified portfolio which will lower the investment risk for investors.
2) The diversified portfolio will allow investors gain a broad exposure to the overall stock market which may not be possible at the individual level.
3) This Fund provides access to extensive local research and investment experience. The Fund Manager, Bangladesh RACE Management PCL has developed deep insight into the dynamics of the local capital markets. RACE’s research department consistently produces insightful research products on the Bangladeshi stock market which have been highly commended by both local stock market participants and foreign investors.
4) As the management of the investments in the Fund is outsourced to a professional Asset Management Company, investors will be relieved from any emotional stress associated with day-to-day management of individual investment portfolio. In fact, investment management usually requires a significant amount of time-consuming research and analyses to identify the highest-quality securities which may not be doable for the general investor and is, therefore, best left to professional investment managers.
5) The investors will be able to save in transaction cost as he/she has access to a larger number of securities by purchasing a single unit of Trust Bank 1st Mutual Fund.
6) Income will be tax free up to certain level, which is permitted as per Finance Act.
7) Investment in the Fund would qualify for investment tax credit under section 44(2) of the Income Tax Ordinance 1984.
8) Management and operation of Mutual Funds are subject to strict regulations from Bangladesh Bank, SEC and the Trustee. SEC regularly monitors the performance of such funds. The laws governing mutual funds require exhaustive disclosures to the regulator and general public and, as such mutual funds are one of the most transparent investment vehicles in Bangladesh.
9) In Bangladesh, the mutual funds enjoy a 10% (ten percent) reserved quota in all Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). Given the lack of supply of high-quality scripts in the Bangladeshi stock market, IPOs have historically outperformed the general Bangladeshi market index significantly and, therefore, have been a major source of out performance for the mutual fund industry in Bangladesh.
Trust Bank 1st Mutual Fund has been constituted through a Trust Deed entered into between Trust Bank Limited and Investment Corporation of Bangladesh on September 2, 2009 under the Trust Act, 1882 and Registration Act, 1908. The Fund was registered by the SEC on September 7, 2009 under the সিকিউরিটিজ ও এক্সচেঞ্জ কমিশন (মিউচ্যুয়াল ফান্ড) বিধিমালা, ২০০১।
The Fund is a closed-end mutual fund of 10 (Ten) years tenure. As per BSEC’s Directive No BSEC/CMRRCD/2006-157/210/Admin/83, dated October 02, 2018, the tenure of the fund may be increased up to another 10 years. established with a view to broaden the base of investment and develop the capital market. The Trust Deed also provides the flexibility to the unit-holders to extend the tenure of the fund beyond the initial 10 years.