The group chairman of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that the fund management group has not seen any disruptive withdrawals from its unitholders despite challenges brought on by Covid-19.
“Currently, we are seeing that it (withdrawal) has remained fairly stable and we are not seeing any disruptive withdrawals. From time to time, yes, we see some withdrawals but this has remained stable for us,” said Tan Sri Dr Zeti.
PNB president and group chief executive officer, Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn also chimed in on the matter to say that the fund management group is pleased that there is little change in how individuals invest despite the current challenging situation. “That is a testament to how we do business and how people perceive us. PNB funds are really for long-term savings and long-term investing, and we don’t see any different in the trend this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the topic of PNB’s upcoming dividend payment, Tan Sri Dr Zeti said that it will reflect the performance of its funds amidst the current challenging year. “We will strive to invest in the best interest to yield the best and most competitive return, but we recognise that this is a very uncertain and challenging year. However, we are a long-term investor and we want to maintain a sustainable and realistic return for our shareholders,” she said.
Last year, PNB’s wholly owned unit trust firm, Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd, had declared a distribution payout of 5.5 sen per unit for its leading fund, Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) – comprising of an earning of 5 sen a unit and a bonus of 0.5 sen. It was the lowest dividend paid since 1999, caused by factors such as the US-China trade war and geopolitical tensions. Aside from that, PNB had also disbursed a total of RM13.2 billion in income distribution and bonus to its unitholders across all its 14 funds in 2019.
Tan Sri Dr Zeti further said that PNB will continue to increase its international portfolio as this remains the fund management group’s core intention. However, the expansion will be a gradual and careful process as the market is still volatile and unpredictable. “We look at the fundamental trend, the outlook of the investments concern, the outlook of the overall industry and sectors of that investment in the economy of any respective country… so that is how we will proceed,” she explained.
At present, PNB’s foreign investments are primarily contained in the US and Europe, focusing on real estate, real estate funds, and private equity. The group said earlier this year that it intends to expand its overseas investments from the existing 8.5% to 30% by 2022 – by diversifying its portfolio into real estate funds and private equities in emerging markets.
At present, PNB’s assets under management exceeds RM300 billion worth of units in circulation. As of 31 December 2019, it has 14.28 million subscribers.