(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s largest pension fund raised its dividend payouts for 2023 after reporting higher income due to the “resilience” of the global economy, which fared better than expected despite challenges last year. 

The Employees Provident Fund declared a dividend of 5.5% for conventional savings in 2023, up from 5.35% in 2022, with the total amounting to 50.33 billion ringgit ($10.6 billion). The payout for the fund’s Shariah accounts — investments made on Islamic principles — increased to 5.4% from 4.75% a year earlier. 

The fund reported total investment income of 66.99 billion ringgit last year, a 29% rise from the previous year, with equities playing a significant role in the improved overall performance, Chairman Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a statement on Sunday. 

“Despite the intensifying geopolitical tensions, elevated interest rates, inflation, regional conflicts, and China’s property sector woes, the global economy showcased resilience and fared better than expected.” Ahmad Badri said. “This allowed the EPF to actively manage its diversified portfolio and capture opportunities to enhance returns.”  

Read: Largest Malaysian Pension Fund Cuts Payout After Tough Year

Equities made up 58% of EPF’s income for the year, followed by fixed income instruments at 30%. Foreign assets contributed 53% of income, while domestic assets contributed 47%.

EPF’s total investment assets stood at 1.14 trillion ringgit as of December 2023, the fund said, of which 62% was invested domestically. 

Its total number of members increased to 16.07 million in December, with 8.52 million active members. Malaysia’s total workforce stood at 17.03 million. 

Ahmad Badri said that EPF is expecting a strong performance this year, although views “are still mixed on global growth outlook.” 

 

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