The Employees Provident Fund discloses that the pension fund has missed an opportunity to bolster its investment activities following the combined RM145 billion of withdrawals by its members during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The RM145 billion was withdrawn by 8.1 million EPF members over four special withdrawal schemes namely the i-Lestari, i-Sinar, i-Citra and a special withdrawal programme.
EPF chief strategy officer Nurhisham Hussein said while the disbursement helped its members eased their financial burden, it had a significant impact on the investment portfolio of the retirement fund manager.
Nurhisham, nevertheless, said the performance of EPF investments and dividend payments was more influenced by the uncertainty in the global and domestic markets.
“We only lost the opportunity to invest because of the RM145 billion withdrawal. It does not affect our performance. Our investment performance is more affected by market developments,” he told Berita Harian.
However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last week said the government needed to consider future of contributors before allowing another withdrawal of their savings from the EPF.
According to Anwar, it would be better for the government to find other ways and methods that were more effective in helping the people were affected by the loss of jobs.
He stressed that the surveys found that the the savings by most EPF members was low and this could cause more problems for them in the future.
The EPF recorded total gross investment income of RM39.31 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2022, down 18 per cent or RM8.71 billion from the RM48.02 billion recorded in the same period in 2021.
Its total gross investment income for the third quarter (Q3) amounted to RM12.32 billion, down RM1.65 billion or 12 per cent compared to RM13.97 billion in 2021. Nevertheless, it represented an 11 per cent increase compared to the second quarter of 2022.
For 2021, the EPF announced a dividend rate of 6.10 per cent for conventional savings, with a total distribution of RM50.45 billion, and 5.65 per cent for Simpanan Shariah, with a total distribution of RM6.27 billion.
This pushed the cumulative distribution to RM56.72 billion in 2021.
Meanwhile, Nurhisham said the EPF would intensify its efforts this year to build savings and increase the coverage of those who contribute with the fund.
He said the effort was crucial to guarantee good savings after the members’ retirement.
“It is important to ensure that more people contribute to the EPF. Our strategy is to double nthe coverage. It is not only for investment reasons but to ensure that people have their retirement savings,” he said.
In order to achieve its protection target of over 60 per cent of the active workforce by 2025, the fund is intensifying its outreach programmes and proactively engaging with stakeholders, supported by digital technology that allows members to access more EPF services such as i-Akaun registration and activation, i-Saraan and Syariah Savings. – NST ONLINE/BH ONLINE