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Friday, October 30, 2009

MRCB's Shahril set for EPF job

Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, currently group managing director of property group Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, is poised to join the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) as its new chief investment officer (CIO).

That position is now vacant after the EPF moved Johari Muid, its previous CIO, to be in charge of the pension fund's strategic planning unit early this year.

"Shahril will probably join at the end of this year or early next year," said a source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Shahril declined to comment when contacted.

Currently, EPF chief executive officer Tan Sri Azlan Zainol is in charge of investments while the pension fund scouts for a new CIO.
Shahril will help manage some RM354 billion at the EPF, one of the world's biggest pension funds. Last year, the fund paid out its lowest dividend in six years after the stock market fell 40 per cent as investors braced for a global recession.

Things are looking up again for the EPF this year as the stock market has fully recovered the losses of 2008. The benchmark index is up 42 per cent so far this year.

Shahril will join the EPF at a time when the fund is facing lower returns from its government bond investments, which make up about two-thirds of its portfolio. The Malaysian economy is also still weak and this could hamper dividend payouts.

The economy is officially forecast to shrink 3 per cent this year and to grow 2-3 per cent next year.

MRCB is the developer of Kuala Lumpur Sentral, a massive property project that comprises mainly office buildings, and the group is 30.97 per cent held by the EPF.

Shahril's property background could be valuable for the EPF. The fund has expressed interest to buy a large piece of prime land in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, from the government to boost its property portfolio. It also wants to buy more commercial properties in Kuala Lumpur.

By Business Times

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