2021 dividend depends on market performance, vaccine rollout, immunity

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) dividend for 2021 will depend on market performance, COVID-19 vaccine rollout as well as global COVID-19 immunity, said Chief Executive Officer Alizakri Alias.

EPF yesterday declared a dividend of 5.2 per cent for conventional savings and 4.90 per cent for Syariah savings for 2020. The dividends are slightly lower than the 5.4 per cent for conventional savings and five per cent for Syariah accounts declared in 2019.

“It is too early to forecast the dividend for 2021 as it is only the beginning of the year. We need to see how it performs for the rest of the year.

“Market conditions are currently uncertain,” he said during a virtual question and answer session on EPF’s 2020 financial performance yesterday.

EPF chairman Ahmad Badri said the vaccine rollout in 2021 will have important bearings on the outlook for the year.

“We are also cognisant of new strains of COVID-19 that are easily transmitted. However, we believe that the situation is being well managed, with governments everywhere ensuring that the vaccines get to people as efficiently as possible while in Malaysia, the first batch of vaccines has arrived and will soon be administered to the population,” he said.

He said EPF, a 70-year-old institution and one of the oldest pension funds in the world, would remain focussed on its mandate to help members have enough savings for a sustainable retirement.

“We will also embark on a new withdrawal scheme to allow members to purchase insurance or Takaful products that was announced in Budget 2021, slated for an end of year rollout,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, Alizakri said in response to a question on the tiered dividend scheme, that “it has a complex structure as compared to the current scheme which offers the same dividend for all members”.

“EPF has to touch base with members on the idea of tiered dividend and they will have a say in the dividend policy going forward,” he assured.