By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) has recorded a 10.83% year-on-year (YoY) increase in members contributions to RM19.24 billion for the first three months of 2018 (1Q18) compared to RM17.36 billion reported in the previous year’s corresponding period, in line with the increase in its newly registered members.
The number of employers registered with EPF rose 11.9% YoY or 18,180 to 498,097 as at end-March 2018.
“EPF’s total members were recorded at 13.91 million, of whom 7.18 million were active contributors and 148,212 were newly registered members,” the EPF noted in a statement yesterday.
Total accumulated members’ contributions stood at RM774.48 billion as at March 2018.
Total approved applications for all withdrawals for the quarter rose 9.52% YoY to 644,715 while total withdrawn amount was recorded at RM13.42 billion.
“The number of members who prefer to make flexible withdrawals has increased compared to those who withdraw their savings in a lump sum,” the statement added.
In 1Q18, the total approved applications for Age 55 Flexible Withdrawal scheme offered by EPF rose 21.77% to 68,101 from 55,925 last year.
The amount withdrawn under the same scheme was recorded at RM3.06 billion against RM2.21 billion in the corresponding quarter last year.
Deputy CEO (operations) Datuk Mohd Naim Daruwish (picture) said the rise in applications for flexible withdrawal was due to awareness in withdrawal strategy that allows members to stretch their savings.
“The increase in the number of applications was attributed to the heightened awareness among members to stagger the withdrawal of their savings, so the remaining balance in their account could continue to earn dividends,” he said.
Mohd Naim added that EPF’s members are encouraged to seek advice from the EPF’s Retirement Advisory Service officers at its 28 branches in the country on their options prior to withdrawing the savings.
In addition, the usage of EPF’s flagship electronic service, i-Akaun, jumped 80.58% YoY in 1Q18 to 11.12 million from 6.16 million last year.
EPF stated as at March 2018, 5.06 million or 36.38% of its members, registered with i-Akaun, while its mobile application version had recorded 2.36 million downloads since introduced in 2014.
Mohd Naim said EPF has introduced several enhancements to i-Akaun since its introduction in order for members to receive realtime updates on EPF products and services as well as other key announcements.
“We have been focusing on the i-Akaun facility as it is a primary gateway for members and employers to monitor their account and access other online services such as e-Pengeluaran and e-Caruman,” he said.
He added that the service has helped employers in submitting employees’ monthly contribution details, making online payments and minimising errors in remitting the monthly contribution payments.
EPF investment income grew 9.2% to RM12.88 billion in 1Q18, against RM11.79 billion recorded in the previous year due to the positive growth in the domestic and Asean markets.
Its equity investments contributed RM7.93 billion, or 61.58% of the total investment income for the quarter, while equities made up 41.59% of EPF’s total investment assets.
A total of 50.53% of its investment assets were in fixed-income instruments, which was recorded at RM4.76 billion in 1Q18, equivalent to 36.99% of the quarterly investment income.