Malaysian state funds seek to increase overseas investments

The Petronas Towers peek through palm trees. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF), sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) are seeking to invest more in overseas markets to diversify their investments. 

“This is really good timing for us to get together as a group, all of the funds, together with all the relevant regulators, to come up with a long term plan on how do we actually manage and balance between the needs of domestic [market] as well as global exposure,” EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said during a forum at Invest Malaysia 2020 on Tuesday.

Our SAA [strategic asset allocation team] keeps on saying that we need to be overseas,” he said, adding that the fund has always played catch up in terms of overseas investment allocation.

He said regulators have been “accommodative” in their engagement with state funds.

Khazanah managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the sovereign wealth fund has been focusing on its global exposure, especially in areas such as technology.

“Khazanah’s job is to diversify sources of income for the country. We’re much more focused on non-domestic [investments],” he said.

KWAP, which manages 140.8 billion ringgit of assets, will need to match its ringgit liabilities and focus on domestic investments, even as it looks to invest in international assets, CEO Hamadah Syed Othman said at the same forum.

KWAP’s international exposure is less than 20 per cent of total assets.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that EPF, the country’s largest pension fund, is looking to invest more overseas as it seeks higher gains to beat the 4-5 per cent return it has been providing.

The pension fund, which manages 974.75 billion in assets, has been expanding its global portfolio to maintain high dividends as it faces limited opportunities in the country. About 30 per cent of its investments are overseas.

Earlier in his keynote address, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said Malaysia’s economic growth for 2020 is projected to be within the range of -3.8 per cent to 0.5 per cent, as more than 150 out of 195 countries in the world are expected to post negative growth in 2020.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.