Unit trust consultants still relevant, says PMB CEO

By SULHI KHALID / Graphic By ANIS SHAMSUL

UNIT trust consultants (UTCs) are still relevant despite the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) recent move to allow its eligible members to invest directly in unit trust units through the introduction of i-Invest, Pelaburan Mara Bhd (PMB) acting CEO Tengku Ahmad Badli Shah Raja Hussin said.

According to him, UTCs’ services are still needed in order to increase the awareness on investing among Malaysians, adding that the society’s financial literacy is relatively low.

“Unit trusts are actually high-touch products and require the people’s awareness; hence, what we do is launch a few awareness campaigns to educate the investors,” he told reporters yesterday.

Last week, the pension fund introduced i-Invest, which allows members below the age of 55 to invest directly with the sales charges ranging from zero to 0.5% of the transaction amount.

Members may transfer up to 30% of the amount in excess of the basic savings from their EPF Account 1 to be invested in the qualified funds.

Commenting on PMB’s assets under management (AUM), Tengku Ahmad Badli Shah said the company currently has a total of RM1.5 billion AUM and it targets to get RM2 billion by the end of this year.

Separately, PMB Investment Bhd and takaful operator Zurich Takaful Malaysia Bhd announced a strategic partnership to co-market and cross-sell each other’s product portfolios.

PMB Investment CEO Najmi Mohamed said the collaboration with Zurich Takaful marks a significant milestone for the company as it will create market strengths to create better solutions for its customers.

Meanwhile, Zurich Takaful CEO Mukesh Dhawan said the partnership will create more value for the consumers and expand its market presence locally.

“Together, we can expand the Islamic financial education and literacy at a faster pace, and help Malaysians protect their loved ones and secure their future,” Mukesh added.

According to the Securities Commission Malaysia, there are 670 unit trust funds in the market with a total net asset value (NAV) of RM467.1 billion.

Out of this amount, 230 are Shariah-compliant funds with an NAV of RM96.2 billion.

PMB Investment has 1,000 UTCs and expects an increase of 50% by the end of this year.

Zurich Takaful has approximately 6,000 agents serving customers nationwide.

PMB Investment is an Islamic fund management company wholly owned by PMB. The company manages 15 unit trust funds, two wholesale funds and several portfolio mandates with investments in equity and sukuk asset classes.