KUALA LUMPUR – The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has sent an application for a sovereign status in the United States (U.S) that will enable it to penetrate more investment opportunity in the country, said Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.
He said that discussion on the matter had been going for a while and it was also raised during the government’s last trip to Washington in September last year.
“The Malaysian government has been talking quite closely with the US counterparts about our application for sovereign status, which will allow us to be more effective in investing in the US.
“And that will then allow us to do more in terms of any infrastructure or real estate investments, which are what we are looking at,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2018 here today.
Shahril Ridza was one of the speakers at a session titled Sustainability and Emerging Markets.
He said the government is currently waiting for the application to be resolved.
Earlier at the session, Shahril Ridza mentioned that EPF had always focused on efficient investor returns and aimed at inflation-adjusted assets which the US provides.
“Global assets accounts for about 30 per cent of our total assets under management and the US is obviously one of the biggest markets that we have.
“The US market is very deep, so we are ready to do a lot more in this market, especially in infrastructure projects, a major priority for the current US administration, and in the property space,” he said.
On the Battersea Power Station project, Shahril Ridza stressed that EPF’s investment in the project was not meant to be a short-term yield and the asset was ideal for a long-term fund by the EPF and Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
“We are in the best position to deploy capital through many cycles, whereas for developers, they are more focused on short-term development profit rather than long-term asset hold.
“So this is really nothing more than restructuring of the assets ownership. To put the right assets in the right home, or the right place where it should be,” he added.
He was responding to news reports that suggested the yield from the Battersea project might have reduced from what EPF had expected when launching the project.
Meanwhile, on the possible dividend rate for 2017, Shahril Ridza said it would likely be at a ‘pretty comfortable’ rate.
The announcement will be made next month.
EPF has declared a 5.7 per cent dividend for 2016, with a total payout of RM37.08 billion. – BERNAMA