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November 2020
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Malaysia pension fund KWAP may tap ex-CIO Nik Amlizan as new CEO, sources say

Ms. Nik Amlizan and Badrul Hisyam Abu Bakar, chief executive officer of Maybank Asset Management, are frontrunners for the top job at KWAP, sources say.
By Goh Thean Eu   
October 21, 2020

Malaysia’s second largest pension fund’s former Chief Investment Officer Nik Amlizan Mohamed is a frontrunner to be the new chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter.

She would succeed Syed Hamadah Syed Othman, whose term as CEO of Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), a pension fund for civil servants, is ending soon.

Ms. Nik Amlizan was until recently CEO of the Armed Forces Fund Board. She left earlier this month after her two-year term ended.

She and Badrul Hisyam Abu Bakar, CEO of Maybank Asset Management, are frontrunners for the top job at KWAP, according to three people familiar with the matter.

“Ms. Nik Amlizan is seen as the favourite to secure the role. She understands how KWAP works, and she is instrumental in shaping KWAP to what it is today,” one of these people tells Asia Asset Management (AAM).

She was CIO of KWAP for 11 years before she was appointed to head the Armed Forces Fund Board on October 1, 2018.

KWAP may announce its new CEO by the middle of November, according to one of the other people familiar with the matter.

Malaysia’s ongoing political uncertainties could mean KWAP may not name a new CEO so soon since “politics play a big role” in such key appointments, according to a portfolio manager at a Malaysian asset management firm.

“With the current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin having a very slim majority from his coalition, and at the same time, some politicians in his coalition party have hinted of switching sides, the decision on the appointment may not be top priority,” the Kuala Lumpur-based asset manager tells AAM, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Syed Hamadah, the current CEO, was appointed on November 1, 2018, a few months after an alliance of opposition parties made Malaysian history by taking power at general elections that year.

The alliance fell apart earlier this year when Mr. Muhyiddin’s predecessor Dr. Mahathir Mohamad resigned and his party pulled out of the coalition, which lost its majority in Parliament.

KWAP has 140.8 billion ringgit (US$34 billion) of assets under management, according to figures posted on its website. The fund had 182,094 active contributors as of end-June 2020.