PMB Investment to introduce 2 unit trust funds

By 4Q20, a Shariah-compliant domestic fund encompassing wealth creation, wealth protection and wealth distribution will be launched

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

PMB Investment Bhd, a wholly owned member of Pelaburan Mara Bhd, plans to launch two new unit trust funds to realise its goal of having RM2 billion in assets under management (AUM) by end-2020.

The Islamic fund management firm’s AUM are currently at RM1.4 billion, its CEO Najmi Mohamed said.

By the fourth quarter of 2020 (4Q20), a Shariah-compliant domestic fund encompassing wealth creation, wealth protection and wealth distribution will be launched upon obtaining approval from the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC).

“This will be a milestone for us because it is the first fund of its kind to be established in the country. The framework has been submitted to the SC and is pending approval,” Najmi told a press conference after announcing PMB Investment’s top-five best fund performances in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

As of its financial year ended June 30, 2020 (FY20), the company registered returns of between 3% and 30% across its 16 funds, with the top five funds’ lowest returns being 9%.

In 2019, PMB Investment set a target to achieve RM2 billion of AUM, supported by strong growth in its retail and corporate segments, which in combination hold almost 100,000 investment accounts.

By 1Q21, the firm aims to introduce a global exchange-traded fund (ETF) as part of its plan to offer a variety of products on top of its existing portfolios.

Its chief investment officer Isnami A Mokhtar said the proposal is still being discussed with PMB Investment’s counterpart in the US.

“The partner specialises in ETFs. They could advise us on what products would be viable. It could be an ETF for equity or mixed with fixed income. We have yet to finalise this,” he said.

The plan will also depend on whether Malaysia’s six-month loan moratorium, which was introduced as a Covid-19 pandemic relief measure, will be extended.

The moratorium is slated to end in September, but various quarters have called for an extension as many are still struggling amid the economic downturn.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said last month that it’s up to the banks to decide on whether to prolong the moratorium. The administration is also in talks with lenders over the issue.

If an extension materialises, this may lead to people putting cash into other avenues including investment platforms, Najmi said.

From March to June 2020, PMB Investment’s investor account base increased by 15% to 98,000 accounts, believed to be derived from good cash liquidation patterns in the market.

The rise was also partly helped by the government’s move to allow citizens to withdraw up to RM500 monthly from their Employees Provident Fund Account 2, Najmi added.

“We are seeing progressive increases in our sales month-to-month now, attributed to the low-interest regime which allows people to invest more,” he said.

About 60% of the firm’s present base is retail investors, while the remaining 40% is corporate investors.

Najmi foresees local equities to be overbought in the second half of 2020 (2H20), with equities to move into consolidation mode in 3Q20.

He said PMB Investment will consider investing in healthcare and some selective technology counters like e-commerce, with the latter being the top investors’ top choice amid the Covid-19 crisis.

“We also forecast that investors will accumulate in 4Q21, in the hopes that the market will perform better in 2021,” he added.