Amanah Saham Bumiputera – Malaysian Unit Trust

Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) is a must have for all Bumiputras in Malaysia. I always recommend my Malay friends, and expatriates living in Malaysia who are married to Bumpiutera, to max out their ASB account ASAP. The reason? Units Trusts which are low risk, capital guaranteed, and only cost RM1 per unit are hard to come by. Especially those who return 7% p.a.

The Basics

Amanah saham is simply the Malay word for unit trust. The term is widely associated with unit trust schemes managed by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).

ASB was launched on May 1989 and may be the most popular unit trust scheme of PNB thanks to its open-ended structure and many benefits. Here more info on the ASB scheme and why it is so interesting:

  1. Low-Risk
  2. Capital guaranteed
  3. Price per unit is RM1.00
  4. Dividends are exempt of tax
  5. No sales or redemption charge
  6. Dividends are computed monthly, but are calculated annually
  7. Open to Malaysian Bumiputras aged 18 and above. A Trust can be set up for those aged between 12 and 18
  8. You can only invest up to RM200,000, but your balance can be higher thanks to compounding growth

All this sounds pretty solid by itself. But what really sets this fund apart is its Bumiputra specificity. Thanks to it, PNB will always strive meet Bumiputera’s interest by directing most of its profits to ASB.  This explains why ASB has consistently out-performed other PNB Schemes (ASN, ASN 2, ASW 2020, ASM etc.) and why the following performance are so good.

Fund Performance

2006 2007 2008
Net distribution per unit (sen) 7.30 8.00 7.00
Bonus per unit (sen) 1.25 1.00 1.75

As you can see, the returns are pretty juicy for such a safe scheme. ASB returns and flexibility offer a great venue for Malays to start investing and build up their equity. After all, such schemes were set up for just this purpose (A little history on Amanah Saham Nasional and PNB), and most Malays should take up this low hanging apple and have some ASB in their portfolio mix.

A few related articles:

Note No.1 – This article is not here to judge of the morality of the ASB schemes.

Note No.2 – There has been some discussion in the blogosphere about the Haram status of PNB’s scheme and ASB particularly. If such things are important to you, please do your background research and make sur ASB is following your investment principles.