By M Krishnamoorthy
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is expected to declare an interest slightly higher than six percent, and it could range from 6.1 to 6.3 for last year.
The official announcement by the EPF will be made this week. The pension fund made the decision at a recent board meeting.
Last year, EPF declared a dividend rate of 6 percent – the highest in the last 10 years – for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2011.
This year, with a general election expected in weeks, the rate is expected to be slightly higher.
In its 2011 dividend declaration of six percent, the EPF said an increase of 20 basis points over the 5.80 percent paid out in 2010, translates to a total of RM24.47 billion being distributed to its members.
“The year 2011 marks another commendable achievement for the EPF,” the fund said in its press statement last year.
If the dividend for 2012 is higher than six percent, it would be highest payout in 12 years. The last time EPF paid a dividend higher than six percent was in 1999 – the year following the Asian financial crisis.
In the go-go years of 1980s and 1990s, the average EPF dividend was between seven and eight percent.
MTUC seeks higher dividend
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has called on EPF to declare a higher dividend because of its increased investment income.
The EPF recently announced that its income soared to RM7.02 billion in the third quarter of last year ending Sept 30.
MTUC vice-president A Balasubramaniam said that in view of this, it was only appropriate for the fund to declare a higher dividend.
Balasubramaniam said the majority of the 10 million private sector workers were looking forward to a better dividend as it was the only source of savings for them.
In its unaudited results for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2012, the provident fund saw its investment income rise 3.24 percent to RM7.02 billion from RM6.8 billion a year ago.
In a statement announcing third quarter results in December 2012, EPF CEO Azlan Zainol said loans and bonds outperformed other portfolios in the same period and generated exceptional one-off returns due to “a number of tactical capital market transactions”.