Wednesday, June 23, 2010

KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE ON EPF'S INVESTMENTS



More and more countries are coming out in the open about pension fund shortfalls, France being the latest. Back home, what's the prognosis on our retirement funds? Has the EPF been prudently growing our money, or has it been squandering it on foolish investments?

The current spate of news reports on GLCs (government-linked companies) losing hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money is enough to send shivers down my spine - Perwaja (RM10b), PKFZ (RM12.5b), Pos Malaysia (RM546m), Sime Darby (RM964m). These are the cases that have been exposed in the media. There are likely many more that will surface in the coming weeks. Our dirt-diggers have been working overtime.

EPF has been receiving a fair bit of news coverage of late, mostly statements to keep the public informed of changes in policies and updates on its investment portfolio. I append below EPF's top 30 equity investments as published in The Star recently. Notice No 23 is Sime Darby. For more on EPF’s total asset allocation as at 31 March 2010, click here.

According to EPF CEO Tan Sri Azlan Zainol, the aim of publishing the list of investments was to enhance EPF's transparency. However, in the same breath, he says, "not everything regarding EPF's investments could be revealed".

Is this his personal definition of 'transparency'? So much for keeping us informed. All the more reason we should keep a watchful eye on what the EPF is doing with our money. We don't want to wake up one fine day to discover all our retirement savings have been wiped out by incompetent fund managers. That would hasten us to our grave faster than we can say "CELAKA!"

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