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What you should know about Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM)

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Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) is a popular unit trust fund for Malaysian Bumiputeras while Amanah Saham Malaysia is a conservative long-term investment opportunity open to all Malaysians. In this article, we elaborate on how to invest, ASB/ASM investment strategies, ASB/ ASM dividend rates, and all about ASB financing.

myasnb
© Getty Images

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What is Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB)?

ASB was launched by Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad or ASNB on 2 January, 1990 for all Malaysian Bumiputeras, with an objective to provide an alternative savings vehicle to a bulk of the population. ASNB is the wholly-owned unit trust management company of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

This unit trust fund aims to generate long term, consistent and competitive returns for its investors. As such, ASB was designed as a fixed price equity income fund where the price per unit of the fund is fixed at RM1.00 with no sales charges and no fees for the redemption of units.

ASB has a maximum input limit of up to RM200,000 and investors can only increase their investment amounts until this limit. However, the fund has no upper limit on the value of the account. Hence, capital gains that are retained in the ASB account may exceed RM200,000. Investors are free to decide the amount to invest at any time and can top-up or subscribe to additional units via the relevant ASB agents.

NOTE: In Budget 2023, it was announced that the individual investment limit for both Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2) will be increased to RM300,000.

The ASB dividend is distributed on an annual basis but is computed monthly based on the minimum amount of the month.

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How do I buy into the ASB fund in Malaysia?

There are two types of authorized agents from which you can buy into ASB – banks and non-banks. The agent banks for the ASB fund are:

  1. Maybank
  2. RHB
  3. CIMB
  4. Affin Bank
  5. Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad
  6. Hong Leong Bank Berhad
  7. Hong Leong Islamic Bank Berhad
  8. Bank Simpanan Nasional
  9. Alliance Bank
  10. AmBank

Currently, most agent banks extend internet banking services for ASB investors to top up or subscribe more units for their ASB investment. Investors are also allowed to make an investment on behalf of a third party ASB account via online banking.

The only non-bank agent is Pos Malaysia. Pos Malaysia has partnerships with several banks to offer Shared Banking Service (SBS) in most PosNiaga’s outlets. Hence, investors may check their ASB fund application approval status through the kiosks service within PosNiaga’s outlets in Malaysia.

What is Amanah Saham Berhad’s dividend history?

amanah-saham-berhad-amanah-saham-malaysia
© Getty Images

Now on to the good stuff. Let’s take a look at the historical data of ASB dividend for the past 10 years. You might notice that the figure has been on a downtrend and in 2020 dividend payout was actually the lowest it has ever been.

The fact that ASB can still give a dividend payout of 5 sen a unit or 5% despite the market downturn and a global pandemic is quite an achievement in itself.

YearDistribution per unit (Sen)Bonus per unit (sen)Special Bonus per unit (sen) Total ASB Dividend per unit (sen)
20117.65 1.15 8.80
20127.75 1.158.90
20137.70 1.00 8.70
20147.50 1.00 8.50
20157.25 0.507.75
20166.75 0.507.25
20177.00 0.251.008.25
20186.500.507.00
20195.000.505.50
20203.500.750.755.00
20214.250.755.00
20224.600.505.10
20233.351.250.505.10

How is ASNB investing the ASB funds?

According to ASB 2020 Annual Report, the top 3 sectors that ASNB heavily invests in are the Monetary Sector (27.15%), Consumer Goods (13.78.25%), Industrial Products & Services (9.35%) and Communication Services (8.59%).

They also listed the companies that they invested in, with the top 3 being Maybank (22.22%), Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (10.55%), Sime Darby Berhad (4.39%), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (3.83%) and Axiata Group Berhad (2.70%).

ASB investment
© ASNB

Hence, the returns of your ASB investment will be heavily influenced by the performance of these companies.

Is it still a good idea to invest in ASB?

First of all, as long as the returns on ASB beats the inflation rate, it is still a good investment. The inflation rate in Malaysia was 3.4% as of June 2020, so to have a 5% return on your ASB investment is still a decent achievement.

There are those who wish to buy into ASB but do not have money to buy a significant amount, especially with the current economic downturn in 2020-2021. Well, there is some good news – certain banks in Malaysia provide ASB loans for investors to finance their investments into ASB.

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What is ASB financing or ASB loans?

Similar to the ASB fund, ASB loans are only open to Bumiputeras. After submitting all income documents to the lending bank such as Maybank or CIMB, the customer will have to open an ASB account with the bank. Once the loan application is approved, the lending bank will credit the loan amount directly into the customer’s ASB account.

Every month, the investor (borrower) has an obligation to repay the loan in the form of monthly instalments. Additionally, some banks might charge management and documentation fees for the processing of ASB loan applications.

ASB loans are basic term loans, and interest charged on ASB loans is calculated using the reducing balance method – similar to those used by Housing Loans and Fixed Deposits. Most ASB loans today use floating interest rates, so interest rates will change according to the BLR.

Much like mortgage insurances, customers can choose to cover their ASB loans with conventional or takaful insurance that is financed by the banks. These insurances will cover the remaining loan amount in the event of death or total permanent disability (TPD).

Early settlements

There are no penalties on any early settlement by a borrower as long as it is not within the lock-in period. The borrower is only required to settle off the remaining loan balance. But an exit penalty is imposed if the loan is settled within the lock-in period. However, since ASB loans are basic term loans, any extra payments in monthly instalments do not lower the interest payable.

Where to apply for an ASB Loan?

banks-malaysia-home-loan.
© Didier Marti | Getty Images

In Malaysia, some of the banks that are agents for ASB funds also provide ASB loans. Currently, these banks offer ASB loans:

Maybank

Ambank

 Bank Simpnan Nasional

 Affin Bank

 CIMB

 RHB

Are ASB loans better than ASB savings?

Let’s assume Mr Johan can save RM10k a year to invest in ASB. At the same time, based on his credit profile, his borrowing ability is up to RM200k. The table below is a comparison between using his own savings to buy ASB units without a loan, versus taking an ASB loan for 20 years.

YearASB SavingsASB Loans (5.5% p.a., 20 yrs)
ASB UnitAnual PaymentDividend

(5.5%)

Cash GainASB Unit Annual Payment with interest rate(4.5%)Dividend (5.5%)Cash Gain
110,000(RM10,000)RM0(RM10,000)200,000(RM15,119)RM0(RM15,119)
220,000(RM10,000)RM550(RM9,450)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
330,000(RM10,000)RM1,100(RM8,900)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
440,000(RM10,000)RM1,650(RM8,350)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
550,000(RM10,000)RM2,200(RM7,800)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
660,000(RM10,000)RM2,750(RM7,250)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
770,000(RM10,000)RM3,300(RM6,700)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
880,000(RM10,000)RM3,850(RM6,150)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
990,000(RM10,000)RM4,400(RM5,600)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
10100,000(RM10,000)RM4,950(RM5,050)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
11110,000(RM10,000)RM5,500(RM4,500)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
12120,000(RM10,000)RM6,050(RM3,950)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
13130,000(RM10,000)RM6,600(RM3,400)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
14140,000(RM10,000)RM7,150(RM2,850)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
15150,000(RM10,000)RM7,700(RM2,300)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
16160,000(RM10,000)RM8,250(RM1,750)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
17170,000(RM10,000)RM8,800(RM1,200)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
18180,000(RM10,000)RM9,350(RM650)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
19190,000(RM10,000)RM9,900(RM100)200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
20200,000(RM10,000)RM10,450RM450200,000(RM15,119)RM11,000(RM4,119)
21200,000RM0RM11,000RM11,000200,000RM0RM11,000RM11,000
(RM200,000)RM115,500(RM84,500)(RM302,378)RM220,000(RM82,378)
Total EquityRM200,000 Total EquityRM200,000
Total ProfitsRM115,500Total ProfitsRM117,622

If you look at the table above, ASB loans are more profitable than ASB savings because the first dividend given depends on the amount you borrow and you get RM200,000 worth of ASB units as early as the first year. Meanwhile, for ASB savings, dividends are given according to the lowest amount in that year.

Then we have to look at the amount of cash gained after you have made the payment for 20 years. If you follow the schedule above, Johan’s ASB savings will get as much as RM115,500 but his ASB loan will provide him with RM117,622. The difference is RM2,122 even though the total equity is the same at RM200,000. Long story short, as long as your dividend rate is higher than the loan interest rate, you still make a little profit.

Do take note that the ASB dividend rate distributed every year can fluctuate. So, if you feel like the ASB loan is not profitable that year, you can try other investment instruments such as a fixed deposit loan.

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How to withdraw your ASNB monies online using myASNB

You can now perform an online withdrawal of ASNB units via the myASNB portal and myASNB mobile app (available on Google Play and App Store).

STEP 1: Make sure that your phone number with ASNB has been updated to register as an ASNB portal user. To do this, you can visit any ASNB Branches or Agents (Maybank, Maybank Islamic, CIMB Bank, RHB Bank, Pos Malaysia, Affin Bank, Bank Simpanan Nasional, Alliance Bank, AmBank and AmBank Islamic). This is to ensure the details are valid and accurate.

You cannot perform this online because the officer will need to verify your IC (MyKad) before any data can be updated.

STEP 2: You can now register as an ASNB portal user. Check out this short tutorial vid by ASNB below.

STEP 3: Once your details are completed, you can make an online withdrawal. Click the “Portfolio” button followed by the “Transaction” button, on the desired unit trust and select “Redemption”.

STEP 4: Make sure your bank information is correct and click “Next”. Check the declaration box and click “Next”.

STEP 5: Enter the amount of money, check the declaration box and click “Next”. Review your bank details in the notification and click “Continue”.
Click ‘TAC Request’, fill it out and click “Next”.

Terms and conditions for ASB withdrawal

  • The maximum withdrawal limit is RM500 a month (ASNB want to encourage unitholders to maintain the investment longer to reap the benefits of investment and only withdraw when necessary).
  • The minimum amount of withdrawal is RM100 per transaction.
  • The number of transactions allowed is 3 times per month.
  • You can only withdraw (redeem) from your unit trust account.
  • Any ASNB’s unit trusts are allowed for online withdrawal EXCEPT for ASN Equity 5 and ASN Sara 2.
  • No additional charges (for now).
  • The amount would be transferred to the unit holder’s bank account registered with myASNB on the following working day.
  • The operating hours are as per existing operating hours of the myASNB portal and myASNB mobile application:

– Fixed Price Unit Trust Funds: Monday to Sunday, 7.00 am – 6.00 pm, local time
– Variable Price Unit Trust Funds: Monday to Sunday, 7.00 am – 4.00 pm, local time

FIND OUT: Income Classification in Malaysia: What is B40, M40, and T20

Can non-Bumiputera Malaysians invest in ASB?

Unfortunately, you cannot invest in ASB if you are a non-Bumiputera citizen unless you are a Malaysian citizen who is of  Siamese/Thai/ Portuguese /Eurasian descent, or if you are a non-Bumiputera Muslim convert.

buyer-bank-agent-invest
© Dinis Tolipov/ 123RF

However, non-Bumiputera can invest in Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM), a unit trust fund that has a similar investment strategy to ASB. It is also considered a low-risk investment with consistent returns. The investment policy of ASM is to invest in a portfolio of various asset classes, primarily securities listed on the Bursa Malaysia, unlisted securities, fixed income and money market instruments.

ASM has a higher annual management fee of 1% compared to ASB’s 0.35%. It should be noted that securing ASM units can be a challenge, as there is a limited number of units available for investment. You can apply for an Amanah Saham Malaysia account either through an ANSB agent or through the myASNB portal.

How are Amanah Saham Malaysia funds invested?

ASNB has stated that ASM monies are invested in the following top 10 companies – these include Maybank (9.07%), TNB Malaysia (5.34%) and Public Bank (4.82%).

Amanah Saham Malaysia investment
© ASNB

Amanah Saham Malaysia dividend history

YearDistribution per unit (Sen)Bonus per unit (sen)Total ASB Dividend per unit (sen)
2011 6.38 6.38
2012 6.506.50
2013 6.500.30 6.80
2014 6.60 6.60
2015 6.606.60
20166.30 6.30
20176.006.00
2018 6.256.25
2019 5.50 5.50
20204.254.25
20214.004.00
20224.004.00
20234.504.50

The ASM dividend, even at its lowest of 4.25% is a good performer when compared with other low-risk, long term investment options available in Malaysia.

So, whether or not you’re a Bumiputera, it is advisable that you make your extra monies work for you by placing them in promising funds and unit trusts that grow over time. Do remember to conduct the necessary due diligence before investing monies into something that you are not familiar with.

If you enjoyed this guide, read this next: Property stocks in Malaysia: What investors should know in 2021.

This article was originally published as What is Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB)? and Why is ASB Loan Better Than ASB Saving? on Loanstreet.com.my.

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. iProperty.com Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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Frequently Asked Questions About ASB and ASM in Malaysia

The minimum investment amount for ASB and ASM varies and can change over time. It's advisable to check with ASNB for the current minimum investment requirements.
No, ASB and ASM are not capital-guaranteed. Investing in these funds carry risks, and the value of your investment can go up or down based on market conditions.
Yes, both ASB and ASM offer tax incentives to investors. The income generated from these funds is tax-exempt, which can be advantageous for long-term investors.