Fund managers still optimistic on Malaysia

13 Apr 2016 / 05:38 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Fund managers are optimistic about their investments in Malaysia despite the economic and political headwinds in the country.
    Malaysia is still attractive from the valuation and currency perspectives, according to Franklin Templeton GSC Asset Management Sdn Bhd country head of Malaysia and CEO Sandeep Singh.
    “Our house view is that there is good growth in Malaysia. We’re keenly looking at Malaysia, both equity and fixed income,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2016.
    Asked if the asset management firm will reduce or increase its investment weightage in Malaysia, Sandeep said it doesn’t matter as a bottom-up strategy, focusing on individual companies or stocks, is adopted.
    He opined that retail investors’ participation of 14% to 15% in the local stock market is commendable despite there being a long way to catch up with more developed markets. “It is definitely better than many other Asian countries, I think with the pension products and more choices such as Islamic products, it will strengthen the retail investor base.”
    Maybank Kim Eng global investment strategist Sadiq Currimbhoy is of the view that Malaysia’s valuation is inexpensive, with a strong domestic investor base. Besides Malaysia, he sees investment opportunities in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
    The fund managers declined to comment on investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
    However, local asset management firm Corston-Smith Asset Management Sdn Bhd founder and principal fund manager Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen opined that the 1MDB issue won’t have a significant impact on the Malaysian economy.
    “People say 1MDB will destroy the economy, but it won’t because it is too small. The (issue of) confidence on 1MDB is a bit overstretched, it is (being made to be) much larger than it is. Our economy is huge and something needs to be improved. It will rebound,” she said.
    Shireen expects continued inflow of foreign funds into the country on improved economic conditions.

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