Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM) are popular choices for Malaysian investors. Both are managed by Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).
An important difference between ASB and ASM is that ASB is for Malaysian bumiputera investors only. Since it was introduced in 1990, ASB has helped Malaysian bumiputeras to invest in relatively low-risk and long-term investment instruments.
ASM is open to all Malaysians, regardless of whether or not they are bumiputera. ASM was launched on April 20, 2000, to offer long-term investment opportunities for Malaysians to generate competitive and prolonged returns through diverse portfolios.
There are also differences in historical returns and investment holdings between the different funds. Individuals can choose to invest in one or more ASNB fund.
A significant advantage of investing in fixed price assets is that the investment’s net asset value remains fixed and they offer a healthy exposure to the equity markets.
For example, last year, PNB paid a dividend of 5.5%, the lowest recorded return in 50 years. However, at the time the inflation rate was 1.1% as at October last year. Therefore, comparatively, a 5.5% return on ASB investments is still a good thing.
As with any unit trust, the fund’s performance depends on the performance of the companies the fund invests in. If lower earnings are reported, it affects the fund’s performance and a lower dividend will be paid out.
Last March, for the financial year ending March 31, 2020, ASNB announced an income distribution per unit of 4.75 sen to 439,543 unit holders of ASB 2.
ASB also announced an income distribution of 4.25 sen per unit to 553,188 unit holders of Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM).
Economic analyst Dr Aimi Zulhazmi Abdul Rashid told The Malaysian Reserve that PNB’s dividend for its funds would likely be lower as the local equity market has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Dividends from shares or funds are mainly affected by gross domestic product, which grew only 3.6% due to falling crude palm oil prices, moderate oil prices and the ongoing trade war between the US and China,” said Aimi.
How to invest in ASNB
As mentioned before, there is a key difference between ASB and ASN.
- ASB is for Malaysian bumiputera investors only.
- ASM is open to all Malaysians, regardless of whether they are bumiputera or not.
With a minimum investment of RM10, any Malaysian citizen is eligible to apply to invest in ASNB.
ASNB’s website advises potential investors to read the latest prospectuses of the various funds, which can be acquired:
- Online from the ASNB website
- At any ASNB branch
- From any ASNB agent
Where to invest
In order to begin investing, an individual needs to open an ASNB account, which can be done at any ASNB branch, through an ASNB agent or online with Maybank2u, CIMBClicks, AffinOnline or RHBNow.
Supporting documentation must be filed with the application. More information on what is required can be found on myASNB.
Once the account is approved, the investor can select their funds (based on eligibility) to invest in at any ASNB branch or agent.
Transfer and switching
Introduced on July 15, 2018, this facility allows unit holders to transfer and switch units immediately without redemption and subscriptions transactions. This process can be done at any ASNB or agents’ branch or the myASNB portal.
Alternative ways to invest
- EPF Investment Scheme: This scheme is for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members to invest in ASNB’s unit trusts. This is subject to the EPF’s terms and conditions and for registered unit holders aged 18 years and over (Akaun Dewasa).
- Salary Deduction Scheme. The SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) Salary Deduction Scheme is to help ASNB unit holders increase their investments without having to visit an ASNB branch or agent.
- The available trust funds for SIP are ASB and other fixed price funds (ASB 2, ASB 3 Didik, ASM 2 Wawasan and ASM 3). Only unitholders who meet ASNB’s eligibility criteria can participate in the SIP scheme.
- Investment Through Financing. This investment facility is offered for two ASNB unit trust funds; ASB and ASB 2.
How to withdraw from ASNB
Withdrawal must be done over the counter at selected banks, fully operational ASNB offices and at any ASNB agent.
To make a withdrawal, an ASNB JB Form (Jualan Balik) must be submitted along with the investment book and MyKad.
Online withdrawal is available for selected unit trust funds through the myASNB portal and mobile app.
The money will be transferred from the ASNB unit trust account to the investor’s registered bank account starting from April 27 this year.
It is important for the investor to understand their investment portfolio before they decide to invest in any ASNB funds. Do consult a licensed financial planner for a better outlook on one’s current financial standing before investing.
Q: Is there a difference between investing or cashing out at ASNB branches versus through an agent?
A: Account registration, investments and withdrawals can be done at ASNB branches or agents with no difference in the fees or funds invested.
Q: Is ASB investments shariah-compliant?
A: It is permissible for Muslims.
Q: Can ASNB-related unit forms be obtained online?
A: Yes, they can be downloaded at myASNB.