NIK Amlizan Mohamed, the new chief executive of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), sits in her new office adorned by gifts from her ex-colleagues at Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) when she left her job to head for new responsibilities at LTAT.
Hanging on the wall behind her desk is a huge portrait of Arabic words that translate to “Almighty God, Give Me Ease”, which is among a sprinkling of objects placed throughout her office.
The meaning of the words carry significance to the task ahead for her. Nik Amlizan’s job is not easy and will require a complete overhaul in how the fund operates.
Change is inevitable, but for LTAT, it is a rarity. For the first time over the past 36 years, the RM10bil pension fund has changed its chief executive officer (CEO).
The former chief investment officer (CIO) of KWAP took over the helm of LTAT in October last year from Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, who had helmed the top post in LTAT since 1982.
Nik Amlizan, who started at LTAT in October last year, has over 20 years of experience in equity investment under her belt. She felt the job at LTAT was one that she could not pass up on, and appears energetic and driven in explaining her plans to transform LTAT to make the fund more sustainable in deriving its income.
For LTAT, the diversification of its investment portfolio would be a historical change, as it has long been known as an equities investor with much of its exposure in having controlling stakes in a handful of companies.
Shockingly, Nik Amlizan reveals that LTAT has very little exposure in the fixed-income market and that 60% of the fund’s investment is in the equity market.
“Almost 28% of our AUM (assets under management) is in the Boustead group alone, and yes, we are looking at ways to balance this portfolio,” she says, adding that the fund is looking to invest in more listed companies.
“We need to be agile enough to move in line with the market. I’m bullish on the market for the long term, so I need to get LTAT ready when the opportunity comes,” she adds.
At present, LTAT has invested in around 30 companies on Bursa Malaysia and aims to spread its resources to 50 companies.
For the sake of comparison, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which has RM814bil in AUM, has invested 50.53% of its money in fixed income and 41.6% in equities. Meanwhile, KWAP, a RM145bil fund, has invested 46% in fixed income and 40% in equities.
Nik Amlizan’s challenge is like trying to change tyres while the car is moving