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Khazanah result adds to questions about Shahril’s future

Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund had a grim 2020, not helped by a far-too-heavy concentration on domestic assets. Does this justify the speculation that its chief executive won’t have his contract renewed?

It seems to be a time of change in the world’s sovereign wealth funds.

Monday brought news that Zafer Sonmez, head of the Turkey Wealth Fund, is to leave in a reshuffle. Temasek has finally confirmed Dilhan Pillay as successor to chief Ho Ching. And in Kuala Lumpur, rumours are swirling that the contract of Shahril Ridza Ridzuan as head of Khazanah Nasional may not be renewed.

Shahril Ridza Ridzuan_400x300.jpg
Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, Khazanah

The speculation around Shahril has been building for a while, but the fund’s annual report released on Thursday added to the clamour.

Khazanah reported profits from operations of RM2.9 billion ($715 million) in 2020, a 61% year-on-year drop. Its total realizable asset value across its two underlying funds, commercial and strategic, dropped to RM123.2 billion; the reporting metric on the commercial fund changed during the year, but on the strategic fund side that represented a 15% year-on-year decrease.

That being said, Shahril would be within his rights to say: did anyone notice that global pandemic that wiped out most of the year? Anyone?

Khazanah was at least still profitable.

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