Selangor Journal
Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB) signage at Menara PNB in Kuala Lumpur, on December 23, 2020. — Picture by BERNAMA

PNB to remain steadfast in managing assets in 2023 amid global economic uncertainty

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will remain steadfast in managing and growing its assets under management next year despite the ongoing economic uncertainty globally and recessionary fears.

At the same time, the company will continue to explore new opportunities in providing sustainable returns to unitholders, said its president and chief executive Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn.

He said the year 2022 has been a difficult operating environment for all asset managers and 2023 looks to be equally challenging.

“We will continue to explore new opportunities in an ever-changing environment to provide sustainable returns to our unitholders and this includes our plan to diversify our assets portfolio into infrastructure.

“We also noticed that there are quite a lot of opportunities in fixed income,” he said during an editors’ briefing session held on December 21 in conjunction with the announcement of Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) dividend for 2022.

Ahmad Zulqarnain said there will be risks on the upside and on the downside. 

“The downside risks are the United States Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) ongoing battle to tame inflation, China’s zero Covid policy, and Russia-Ukraine geopolitical risk.

“But on the flip side, if the central bank (the Fed) is successful in fighting inflation, it will start easing off the interest rates and that will result in a market rally. China’s opening up its economy will also give a boost to the market,” he said. 

PNB’s wholly-owned unit trust management company, Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB), today announced a dividend of 3.35 sen and a bonus of 1.25 sen, totaling 4.60 sen a unit.

In addition, ASNB announced a “bonus tambahan” (additional bonus) of 0.50 sen a unit for the first 30,000 units held by a unit holder. The total income distribution for the financial year Dec 31, 2022, amounts to RM8.9 billion, benefitting 10.6 million ASB unit holders.

Ahmad Zulqarnain said the additional bonus was announced in response to the high cost of living pressure, and this payment will be given for the unitholders’ first 30,000 units. 

“Our dividend payout is linked to the market’s performance, so in a year when the market is not doing so well, the return will be slightly lower, but we continue to be positive,” he said, adding that over the years the fund has continued to receive 200,000 new accounts on average annually. 

During the 90-minute briefing session, Ahmad Zulqarnain said that as of November 2022, the fund’s global allocation had increased to 19 per cent from 17 per cent in 2021, while domestic allocation was down to 81 per cent from 83 per cent.  

He said domestic public equity made up 59.4 per cent of the allocation (2021: 61.5 per cent), private investments 4.4 per cent (2021: 4.0 per cent), real estate 5.9 per cent (2021: 5.2 per cent), fixed income 7.1 per cent (2021: 6.5 per cent), and cash 11 per cent (2021: 10.7 per cent), while international public equity was maintained at 11.8 per cent. 

“PNB’s assets under management continue to grow, surpassing RM340 billion. As of November this year, (the assets stood at) RM343.1 billion, (up) from RM336.7 billion in 2021.

“The number of accounts also grew to 15.2 million, with units in circulation reaching 283 billion units, reflecting continued trust in PNB,” he added. 

— Bernama

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