PETALING JAYA: The Employees’ Provident Fund has declared a 6.35% dividend rate, amounting to the biggest payout ever of RM31.2bil.
EPF chairman Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman (pic) said the payout for the year 2013 increased by almost 14% from the previous year’s RM27.45bil.
The dividend rate, which is the highest since 2000, had also increased steadily from 5.65% in 2009 to 6.35% last year.
Samsuddin said the fund’s performance had been consistently stable, especially in the past five years, attributing this to robust but prudent investment strategies.
“Over the years, we have been diversifying our portfolio, thereby spreading out the scope of our assets to manage market risks and generate consistent returns,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
EPF’s investment in assets, said Samsuddin, had increased from RM342bil in 2008 to RM586.66bil at the end of last year.
“The investment performance has EPF achieving an annual investment return of 6.97%, a rise of 10 basis points from 2012. This is a manifestation of our sound investment principles and diversified portfolio across different markets and sectors,” he said.
EPF enjoyed its largest returns from investment in equities last year, generating an income of RM19.52bil, up 40.39% from RM13.9bil in 2012.
“The strong performance in the equity portfolio is due to new highs in the global indices following investors’ confidence in the stability and fundamental economic strength of the domestic market with the conclusion of the 13th General Election.
“Last year was a very good year for equity investments while the year before showed us faring better in fixed income portfolios.”
The fund also saw a 87.9% increase in returns from estate and infrastructure, and a 9.25% hike from money market instruments.
However, EPF’s revenue from loans and bonds had dropped from RM9.68bil in 2012 to RM7.52bil last year.
“The lower returns were also reflective of the prolonged low interest rates globally as maturing investments were re-invested at lower rates,” he said.
Since the 2008 global financial crisis, EPF had declared compounded dividends of over RM120bil for its over 13 million members.
EPF, said Samsuddin, would remain cautious next year in view of the volatility in interest rates that could affect returns.
“Additionally, we anticipate volatility in emerging markets as liquidity tightens globally,” he added.