AMID a global economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) announced a healthy dividend rate for its contributors.
In a statement today, the pensions fund announced a dividend of 5.2% for its conventional savings, while its Shariah savings would receive a 4.9% dividend.
The dividends declared are slightly lower than in 2019, where the conventional savings received 5.45% and the Shariah savings received 5%.
However, many analysts earlier have pointed out that EPF dividends in the future may be affected following massive withdrawals by cash-strapped citizens due to the pandemic, via the i-Lestari and i-Sinar schemes.
Cumulatively, the total dividend payout for last year is RM47.64 bil.
EPF chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said that the pensions fund managed to protect its contributors’ savings to some extent while fulfilling their immediate financial needs to mitigate the effects of the unprecedented challenges.
“It was not easy as we had to balance between helping our contributors survive these tough times while safeguarding their future needs.
“However, we were proactive in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, helping us to ride through the challenges. Our focus on digitalisation enabled us to help contributors efficiently.
“Our speed of adaptability in investment strategy and processes ensured that we were able to deliver optimum performance, leveraging on the strength of our approximately 250-strong investment professionals,” he stated
Tough situation but EPF is resilient
Badri also noted that EPF recorded its highest-ever gross investment income of RM60.98 bil, with RM6.15 bil allocated to Simpanan Shariah.
He attributed the strong performance to prudent approach, guided by the fund’s overall strategic asset allocation.
“It has kept the EPF going despite the crisis. By asset class, fixed income instruments made up 46% of investments, while equities comprised 42%.
“Real estate and infrastructure, as well as money market instruments made up 5% and 7%, respectively,”
Touching on this year’s forecast, Badri said it partly depends on the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, taking into account the mutated strains detected across the world.
“However, I believe that the situation is being well managed, with Governments across the globe working to ensure everyone gets vaccinated. Malaysia has already received its first batch on the vaccines which will be administered to the public soon.
“In addition, we will also announce on a new withdrawal scheme to allow members to purchase insurance or Takaful products, which was announced in Budget 2021,” he remarked. Feb 27, 2021