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Malaysia’s EPF reports 3.3% gain for third quarter

Shahril Ridza Ridzuan
Shahril Ridza Ridzuan

Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund announced Monday that its investment portfolio ended the third quarter at 712.5 billion ringgit ($172.8 billion), up 3.3% from three months earlier and up 6.7% from the year before.

An EPF news release said the fund netted quarterly investment income of 12.32 billion ringgit, up 46% from the prior quarter and up 29% from the year earlier quarter.

CEO Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said in the release the roughly 25% of fund assets invested overseas “continued to enhance our return during the quarter,” while valuation losses of 349.59 million ringgit were down sharply from 1.02 billion ringgit the year before.

Mr. Shahril likewise cited equity market rallies in North Asia and developed market countries for providing opportunities to lock in gains the fund needs for its annual dividend pay out to EPF participants.

As of Sept. 30, the fund reported allocations of 49.8% to fixed income, 41.2% to equities, 5.2% for money market instruments and 3.8% to infrastructure and real estate.

With the ringgit's value dropping 5% vs. the dollar since Donald Trump's Nov. 8 victory in the U.S. presidential election, Mr. Shahril said his investment team remains cautious amid heightened uncertainties facing regional and global markets. The ringgit's decline will provide foreign exchange-related gains on the EPF's overseas holdings but it will raise the cost of further investments abroad, he noted.

Against that backdrop, he warned it will be a challenge for the EPF to match its investment returns of recent years.