EPF’s annual contributions up 6.4% to RM65.5b

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / TMR file pix

THE Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has reported a RM65.52 billion, or 6.38%, increase in its annual contribution as at April this year, against total withdrawal of RM49.4 billion in 2017, which resulted in a net in ow of RM16.12 billion.

A statement by the EPF following the release of its 2017 annual report said the pension fund’s total investment also rose 8.26% to RM791.48 billion from the RM731.11 billion that was recorded in 2016.

Its total members’ contribution was registered at RM768.51 billion, while the total payout expanded 29.8% to RM48.13 billion in 2017.

The EPF had declared a dividend rate of 6.9% for conventional savings, with a payout amounting to RM44.15 billion, and 6.4% for Shariah savings, with a payout amounting to RM3.98 billion.

CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said in the statement that the fund has also achieved a “notable milestone” as it declared the first investment results and dividend rate for Simpanan Shariah.

“It was a good year with a number of ‘firsts’ for the EPF as we ended the year with the highest ever gross investment income since 1951 at RM53.14 billion with a gross return on investment of 7.3%, which was 18 basis points higher than in 2016,” he said.

Shahril Ridza added that investment in enhancing the fund’s online channel has been benefitting both employers and employees to ease the payment process.

“We are also very close to achieving a 100% take-up rate for our e-Caruman portal by employers, which has proven to be an essential online facility to submit employee contribution details and make payments on time,” he said.

On the financial outlook for the year, Shahril Ridza said the fund anticipates a continued market volatility and political uncertainty in the domestic and global front.

“We are pleased to be able to record good dividends and a good performance this year.

“Nonetheless, we look upon this as an opportunity to maintain our financial performance and enhance the investment returns over the long run,” he said.

According to the statement, the total number of withdrawal applications increased 3.84% to 2.45 million, out of which 2.32 million were approved applications.

The pension fund attributed the gaining across the asset classes within its portfolio to the investments in global equities that had benefitted from improved market conditions.

“The equities portfolio, which makes up 42% of the EPF’s total investment assets, generated RM31.47 billion in 2017.

“Out of the RM53.14 billion gross investment income generated for the year, more than 40% of the income were contributed by the EPF’s investments in global assets, despite constituting only 28% of the investment portfolio,” the statement read.