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The Guardian’s Special Report Most Integrity-Driven Trustees Companies in Nigeria

By Guardian Nigeria
01 July 2022   |   3:12 pm
United Capital Trustees is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Capital PLC - a foremost financial services company with businesses spanning across Investment Banking, Asset Management, Stockbroking, Consumer Finance and of course, Trusteeship. 

United Capital Trustees Buky Ikeotuonye

“UC Trustees’ strong investment in human capital underscores people as backbone of business” – Ikeotuonye

United Capital Trustees is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Capital PLC – a foremost financial services company with businesses spanning across Investment Banking, Asset Management, Stockbroking, Consumer Finance and of course, Trusteeship. 

Earlier this year, United Capital PLC was recognized as one of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies by Financial Times. Just recently, our Group CEO, Mr. Peter Ashade, was named Africa CEO of the year at the African Business Leadership Awards (ABLA). Noteworthy mentions are the awards of ‘Most Profitable Company (Financial Services: Other Financial Institutions), and Shareholder Capital Allocation Company of the year (Dividends Payment) presented to United Capital Plc at the 2021 Nigerian Investors Value Awards (NIVA). These are only a few of many awards received by our organization

UC Trustees’ Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director is Buky Ikeotuonye –  an experienced Senior Management personnel with a demonstrated history of working in the investment banking industry. Particularly skilled in Asset Management & Wealth Advisory, Trusteeship, Treasury, Fund & Portfolio Management, Retirement Benefit Administration and Personal Finance Advisory. Strong finance professional with an Executive Masters focused in Business Administration from Metropolitan School of Business and Management, UK and Disruptive strategy diploma from the Harvard Business School, Boston Massachussets, USA. 

She spoke to The Guardian on UC Trustees’ non compromise when it comes to integrity and stakeholders, as the company consistently delivers on its promise to conduct business deploying the highest ethical standards, amongst other issues. Excerpts …

As a major stakeholder in the Financial Sector, what are your major challenges?

Despite being the foremost Trustee firm in Nigeria and an industry leader, we cannot dispute the fact that we encounter some difficulties in carrying out our business operations. The challenges range from the rapidly changing global operating environment to unstable monetary and fiscal policies, not excluding various socio-political and economic factors in the sovereign business climate. However, United Capital Trustees are a world-class organization with a robust corporate governance structure and solid pedigree. These values are enablers in forging our way ahead regardless and consistently being worthy ambassadors of the Nigerian Financial Services sector within African continent and indeed the world at large.  

What strategies are you putting in place to build the trust of clients in your organization?

At United Capital Plc and by extension, United Capital Trustees, our core values are Enterprise, Excellence and Execution. Our strategies revolve around these three core values as we take up ownership of client’s transactions, and ensure we act based on the specific wishes of our clients. We exhibit total transparency and integrity in all our dealings, and this helps our clients continually repose faith in our business operations, even after almost six decades of existence. We also guarantee our clients unfettered access to their assets with us upon maturity or at any time during the transaction. In addition, we have professionals who are readily available to provide support in the event of conflict resolution, should the need arise.

How has governmental regulation improved or hampered your operational growth?

Government regulations are put in place to ensure the smooth running of any business and facilitate the equitable treatment of clients thereof. At United Capital Trustees, we are professional in our operations and recognize the importance of effective regulatory policies. This is the reason we appreciate the efficiency of the Capital Market Regulators as well as the Government in maintaining the standards that are currently available in our industry. Our operational growth has been vastly improved by these regulations and we continue to apply good governance and the highest ethical standards in our operations.   

Can you elucidate further on your products offerings and how they meet the expectation of your clients?

Our product offerings range across Private, Corporate and Public Trust. In the Private Trust space, we offer varieties of products from Private Investment Trust, Education Trust, Target Savings Trust, Estate Planning, among others. These products help individuals build a legacy by planning for future, retirement or even their family’s well-being. We help protect the time value for their money by taking into consideration and hedging against inflation. 

With Trust mandates at almost N6.0 trillion, our experience in the industry, expertise, and professionalism are unparalleled. In the Public Trust space, we act as Trustees on Bond Issuances and Collective Investment Schemes for government and corporate organizations wherein we secure and protect the interest of the Bondholders and monitor Issuers/Fund Managers’ activities to ensure compliance with Regulatory stipulations.

What strategies have you adopted that has continued to sustain your business all these years?

We invest strongly in human capital because we believe people are the backbone of every business. We also do a lot of marketing and relationship management with stakeholders of our mandates. Over the years, United Capital Plc has expanded its business to various geo-political zones with presence in over 10 states in Nigeria. We are also present in parts of Africa thereby creating more visibility and awareness as well as increasing opportunities for business growth. With our diverse financial services product offerings, we leverage heavily on digital and technological solutions whilst maintaining a streak of excellence.

PAC Trustees Yemisi Arowolo

Why PAC Trustees’ customer-focused, seeks stakeholders’ long-term relationships, by Arowolo 

PAC Trustees Limited is a member of PanAfrica Capital Holdings – a proprietary investment company with special focus on key sectors across emerging and frontier markets in Africa including financial services, hospitality and entertainment, real estate and infrastructure, agro-allied and FMCG, healthcare and ICT and media. 

The company was incorporated in April 2006 with focus on providing specialized trustee services for its clients ensuring that their expectations and needs take a centre point in corporate activities. It is a company with an overall objective to exceed client’s service expectations.

PAC Trustees’ services cut across diverse business sectors and various clients including Institutions, Family and Trust funds, Estate Planning, Tertiary Institutions, Charity Organisations, Religious Organisations, Company cooperatives and staff schemes, Insurance Companies, Money Deposit Institutions, Investment companies, Local, State and Federal Government. 

In this brief interview with The Guardian, PAC Trustees Ltd’s Senior Vice President, Oluwayemisi Arowolo spoke on the role of trustees in financial economy, target market, PAC Trustees’partnership with customers on investment plans to life, and the cpompany’s world class service. Excerpts …

Can you tell us briefly about PAC Trustees Ltd? 

PAC Trustees Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of  PanAfrican Capital Holding Limited and a customer-focused business that seeks to foster long-term relationships with our stakeholders whilst ensuring our customer’s objectives are foremost in our mind. The combination of our strength, intellectual capital and character continue to set us apart as a major player in the industry. 

What are the role of Trustees in the financial economy?: 

Trustees play a fiduciary role and give the much needed confidence to all stakeholders. They are the stabilizing factor in private, corporate and public transactions. The role of Trustees in the financial economy depends on the structure of the transaction.

In Private Trust, Trustees hold and manage assets on behalf of the person creating the Trust (Settlor) for the benefits of the Beneficiariesfor sucession planning. Under Corporate Trust, Trustees provide legal protection for investments. As Security Trustees, we act as an intermediary between Lenders and Borrowers. We also conduct due diligence to ensure the sufficiency of the securities pledged as collateral while coordinating and monitoring transactions. Trustees protect the interest of Bondholders in Bond transactions and ensure adherence to terms in transactions.

What are your products and the target market?

At PAC Trustees, we act as Trustees to Debenture/ Security transactions,  Bonds/Debt Issuance,  Mutual Funds/ Collective Investment Schemes and Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOP). We draft Private Wealth documents and implement trust that meets clients’ Private wealth protection, preservation and transfer goals.

We also have specialized trust products such as the PAC Celebrity Trust targeted at Nigerian Celebrities who want to maintain their status and lifestyle during and post their career; and the PAC Diapora Trust targeted at Nigerians living abroad  who seek to invest in the Nigerian economy with the aim of generating and sustaining value for themselves and their loved ones.

How do Trustees protect investors and ensure transparency of transactions? 

This is done by ensuring strict adherence to the terms of the transaction as provided in the Trust Agreement. We do not co-mingle (mix)  clients’ funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees  our activities and ensures transparency.

Which sector amongst the several sectors does PAC Trustees concentrate its efforts on? 

AT PAC Trustees, we offer Private, Corporate and Public Trust services and this cuts across all sectors. But most importantly, we create value and deliver exceptional services.

What would you say are the qualities an organisation should look out for while choosing a Trust company?

The Trustee must be  rooted in integrity, professionalism, accountability while providing   quality service, and transparent  processes, amongst others.

In a digital world where there’s an influx of apps, can your products and services be accessed digitally by potential clients?

Yes. We have a functional website where our products can be accessed and we are working on a digital app that would be launched soon.

What are the challenges affecting the Trust industry in Nigeria? 

One major challenge  with the Trust industry in Nigeria is that many people don’t know what Trust businessis about or the value that it can provide to individuals in the Nigerian society.  This is actually one of the major areas that can be used to drive the Nigerian economy. People need to know more about the benefits of Trust.

What are the benefits of appointing a Corporate Trustee?

With the appointment of a Corporate Trustee such as PAC Trustees Ltd, a client enjoys the benefits of quality and timely service delivery, accountability, confidentiality, excellent and well-trained personnel with relevant experience, robust risk management and controls systems. These and more are some of the benefits you stand to gain when you partner with us at PAC Trustees.