Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of STL Trustees Ltd, Funmi Ekundayo, in this interview talks on the company’s journey so far and a wide range of industry issues among others. Excerpts.
HOW do corporate trustees contribute to the nation’s economic development?
Trustees play critical roles in business transactions. What every investor requires is peace of mind. Anyone that is parting with value – whether you are a bank that wants to lend to a corporate entity for any reason whatsoever – wants to be sure that the money will be repaid with interest and as agreed. So, I would say that we are the gate watchers. We protect investors. We create comfort to all parties on a commercial transaction.
Within two decades of operation, STL Trustees has grown to be a leader in the Nigerian Corporate Trust industry. What factors do you think set you apart from others?
At STL Trustees our core values are integrity, professionalism, commitment and innovation and these values ensure that in dealing with clients, whether individual or corporate, we strive to always deliver trust solutions that are guaranteed to meet their needs on a continuously satisfactory basis.
Also, because we operate in an industry that is extremely dynamic, we train and retrain ourselves towards ensuring that we continuously deliver quality and innovative services with the required speed to excite our clients. STL Trustees is a Delegate Trustee to the first Sukuk Issuance in Nigeria, the State of Osun Sukuk Al-Ijara which was issued by the government of the State of Osun to finance the construction of modern elementary, middle and High schools in the State.
We are also a Delegate Trustee to the first sovereign Sukuk issued in Nigeria, the N100B FGN Road Sukuk 1 which was issued by the Federal Government to fund the construction and rehabilitation of some roads across the six geo-political zones in the country. Essentially, our ability to anticipate, meet and surpass the needs of our clients are some of the factors that set us apart from others.
STL Trustees got double awards as ‘The Trustees’ firm of the year, while you the CEO won ‘The Trustees’ CEO of the year 2018 during the recent 4th Nigeria Finance Innovation Awards, NFIA. What does this mean to STL Trustees?
Well, according to the organiser, the awards recognize leading finance organizations, finance executives and teams whose outstanding leadership practices have raised the standards of accountability within the profession and supported the nation’s economic growth. So, we believe the recognition is a testament of our commitment and ability to help our clients achieve their plans and ambitions. The awards are dedicated to them; our clients, partners and other stakeholders.
We couldn’t have done it without them. Don’t forget that STL Trustees also emerged last year as the ‘Non-Interest Trustees’ of the Year 2017 during the 3rd African International Conference on Islamic Finance organized by The Metropolitan Skills Limited in conjunction with the Islamic Finance Council and the Islamic Finance Institute of Southern Africa. However for us at STL Trustees, our main award is our client’s trust in us.
What are some of the products on offer at STL Trustees?
In order to simplify the concept of trusteeship for our customers and make same readily available no matter an individual’s income level, we have a bouquet of customized retail products tailored to meet the needs of individuals across a broader spectrum. These products are: Controlling you Retirement Voluntarily (STL CRV).
STL CRV is a savings product which has been designed for income earners who are mindful of preparing ahead for post-retirement from paid employment, in addition to the mandatory Pension Contributions under the Law as well as self-employed individuals who want to secure their future, when they would be less active and earn lower income. The product is targeted at the middle to lower income group and ensures that they are able to maintain a lifestyle akin to what they enjoyed while active.
It is pertinent to also add that this product has an insurance benefit and the contributor gets a specified amount on the happening of certain events. The insurance premium is separate from the funds contributed and the income generated from the management of the funds and the premium for the insurance is paid by STL Trustees.
There is also STL Target which is specifically designed for persons who would wish to set aside some funds to meet a particular need at some determinate time in the future. The advantage of this product is that it simplifies savings for events by the client and ensures that the funds are available for the required purpose.
We also have an educational product tagged STL CET. STL is a CET Child Education Trust designed to enable you set up a Trust Fund for the education of your child or children. STL Trustees will hold such funds under a trust instrument as trustees to the named beneficiaries and preserve the funds, including all accumulated income thereon in trust for your named beneficiaries.