Everything You Need To Know About Amanah Saham Bumiputera
Launched in 1990, Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) changed the landscape of investments for Bumiputera citizens in Malaysia. It is one of the best performing funds under Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB), a subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad’s (PNB).
What is ASB?
ASB is a unit trust fund with a fixed price of RM1 per unit. Each eligible investor is limited to a maximum investment of 200,000 units.
It provides an avenue for Bumiputera citizens to save and invest in a relatively low risk and long-term investment instrument, with a consistent and competitive return of investment. Even during the 2008 economic downturn where the KLSE crashed to a low of 876.75 points, ASNB was able to declare positive dividend returns for all its funds!
Why should you invest in ASB?
There are a few advantages to investing in ASB:
- No upfront fees. You’ll incur 0% upfront fees when investing in ASB. This means that more of your money goes to investing, instead of fees.
- Low management fees. The ASB fund only incurs an annual management fee of 0.35%. By contrast, other equity unit trust funds can incur around 1.5% in annual management fees.
- Consistent returns. ASB has delivered dividends of 5% to 14% a year since 1990.
- Quick withdrawal. ASB funds are liquid and easily accessible. You can withdraw up to RM500 a month online, or visit an ASNB counter or branch to withdraw larger amounts and receive your money immediately.
- Can be used to apply for overdraft facility. You can pledge your ASB funds as collateral to apply for an overdraft facility (a type of loan where the bank allows you to withdraw more money than what you have in your account.
What are ASB’s historical investment returns?
|Year||Distribution (sen)||Bonus (sen)||Total (sen)|
What does ASB invest in?
According to ASB’s annual report, here’s how its assets are allocated:
- Up to 90% of in equities
- Up to 50% in other asset classes
- Minimum 5% in cash or liquid assets
As of end 2020, 81.98% of its portfolio was allocated to equities, 7.74% to fixed income investments and 10.28% in other investments. Only 7% of its portfolio was invested internationally.
Here’s what ASB’s ten largest investments look like:
|Company||% of net asset value|
|1||Malayan Banking Berhad||22.22|
|2||Sime Darby Plantation Berhad||10.55|
|3||Sime Darby Berhad||4.39|
|4||Tenaga Nasional Berhad||3.83|
|5||Axiata Group Berhad||2.70|
|6||Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad||2.36|
|9||Telekom Malaysia Berhad||1.56|
|10||CIMB Group Holdings Berhad||1.37|
What’s the difference between ASB and ASB2?
While looking up ASB, you may have come across another similar-sounding unit trust: Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2). Launched in 2014, ASB2 is another unit trust fund managed by ASNB. Like ASB, it is a fixed price fund at RM1 per unit for Bumputera citizens. It also has zero upfront fees, and a 0.35% annual management fee.
However, ASB2 has a slightly different asset allocation. While ASB’s strategy is to “invest in a portfolio of various asset classes, primarily securities”, ASB2’s strategy is to invest in a mixed asset portfolio. Here’s how ASB2 has performed:
|Year||Distribution (sen)||Bonus (sen)||Total (sen)|
How do you invest in ASB?
|Akaun Dewasa||Akaun Remaja/Bijak|
|Age of investor||18 and above||Under 18|
|Documents needed||Identity card||Identity card of registered guardian and identity card or birth certificate of minor|
You just need a minimum of RM10 to start investing with ASB.
While you need to physically visit an ASNB branch or ASNB agent to register an account, you can make subsequent investments online. You can do this through:
- Your bank’s online banking app (Maybank2u, MAE, CIMB Clicks, AffinOnline, RHBnow or HLB Connect)
- The myASNB portal (requires registration and an existing ASB account)
What if you don’t have money to invest?
ASB also provides a few options for those who are keen to invest but have not saved up any money to kick-start their financial dreams.
1. EPF Members’ Investment Scheme
This scheme allows Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members to invest up to 30% of their excess savings in Account 1. You can invest online through the EPF i-Invest platform, or visit an ASNB branch or agent (except for Pos Malaysia and Maybank).
While you can’t use your EPF funds to invest in ASB, you can invest in ASB2 and other funds:
- Fixed price funds: ASB2, ASB3 Didik, ASM3, ASM2 Wawasan
- Variable price funds: ASN Equity 2, ASN Equity 3, ASN Imbang 1, ASN Imbang 2, ASN Sara 1
2. Salary Deduction Scheme
This scheme, in which you can automatically deduct a portion of your monthly salary to invest in ASB or ASB2, is applicable for unitholders in both public and private sectors.
To apply for the scheme, public sector employees will have to fill up the Authorisation Letter for Salary Deduction, get it verified by their employer and visit an ASNB branch. Private sector employees will have to fill up the authorisation letter and apply through their employer. You can find the authorisation letter here.
3. ASB Loan
Some local banks provide ASB loans for Bumiputera investors who are interested in investing in ASB but do not have the resources to do so. The terms of the loan depend on your bank, but it typically looks like this:
Interest rates: Base Rate + 1.25% (exact rates depend on bank)
Maximum loan amount: RM200,000
With an ASB loan, you can borrow up to RM200,000 to invest in ASB immediately. This means being able to use leverage to generate larger profits than just relying on your savings alone.
If you are confident that you will be able to consistently service your ASB loan, it’s quite an attractive way to get your foot in. The best part is that you may only need to service it for the first year (if your loan repayments are less than your annual returns). You could service the loan for the first year, then let the ASB returns from subsequent years pay off the loan while also bringing it some extra returns on top of that.
How to withdraw your ASB funds
There are two ways to withdraw your funds:
a) Withdraw funds in person
You’ll need to visit an ASNB office, ASNB agent or the bank with which you invested through. Unlike EPF, there are no requirements you need to meet to withdraw your savings.
b) Withdraw funds online
You can also withdraw your funds online through the myASNB portal. But you’ll be subject to a few limitations:
- Minimum RM100 for each transaction
- Maximum RM1,000 withdrawal amount (total amount from any ASNB unit trust account)
- Maximum three transactions a month
Can non-Bumiputera citizens invest in ASB?
Non-Bumiputera citizens can’t invest in the ASB, unless they happen to be a Malaysian citizen who is of Siamese/Thai or Portuguese/Eurasian descent, or if they are a non-Bumiputera Muslim convert.
If you don’t fall under these categories, you can still invest in Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM). This unit trust fund has a similar investing strategy to ASB, but it is open to all Malaysians. Like ASB, it’s considered a low risk investment with consistent returns.
However, ASM has historically delivered slightly lower dividends than ASB, and has a higher annual management fee of 1% compared to ASB’s 0.35%. ASM units are also notoriously hard to get, as there is a limited number of units available for investment. You may have to check with an ANSB agent or refresh the myASNB portal several times before you are able to secure units.
A low-risk investment worth considering
Although ASB delivered its lowest distribution ever last year, it’s still an investment vehicle to consider, as it’s relatively low-risk and produces consistent returns. It is undeniable that we need to invest our savings to protect it from being eroded by the ever-increasing inflation, and also to achieve our long-term financial goals.
If you are eligible, why not?
This article was first published in 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.