A Guide To The Private Retirement Scheme (PRS)

A financially-secure retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes a whole lot of planning and commitment and, obviously, money.

Regardless of your age, planning for retirement is a significant part of your financial journey.

True enough, for most of us, retirement is the main reason why we start saving in the first place because when you retire, you’ll be spending your nest egg instead of building it.

And this doesn’t include other variables such as factoring in the rising cost of living, stagnant wage growth, unhealthy levels of debt per household, and unemployment issues that continue to affect Malaysians on a daily basis.

The topic makes even more sense now than ever as the number of people aged 65 years and above in Malaysia has increased steadily since the 1970s. According to the World Bank, more than 7% of the national population was 65 and above in 2020, meeting the conventional international definition of an “aging society.”

  • By 2044, 14% of the population is expected to be above 65 years of age making Malaysia an “aged society.”
  • Come 2056, Malaysia will be a “super-aged society,” with over 20% of its population above the age of 65.


The topic of retirement isn’t a matter to take lightly. Whether you plan to retire three years or 20 years from now, you should understand the importance of having a well-planned retirement fund for you to have a happy and financially secure future.

In Malaysia, only 60.8% of the Malaysian labor force contributes to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which is low when compared to high-income countries. On top of that, almost 75% of EPF members have account balances below RM250,000 at age 54, which translates to a monthly income of less than RM1,050, according to the World Bank.

Related: How To Withdraw EPF Account Savings For Personal Use?

To address the lack of retirement savings among Malaysians, the Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) was introduced in 2012 to encourage people to build a retirement fund besides EPF.

If you are curious about PRS, we are here to tell you everything there is to know about the PRS.

What is a Private Retirement Scheme?

what is private retirement fund
The earlier your start saving for your retirement fund, the faster you can build up your retirement fund.

You may have heard the term “PRS” being thrown around among investors … and your parents, but what is it exactly and why does it matter for your retirement?

The Private Retirement Schemes or PRS is a voluntary long-term savings and investment scheme designed to help you save more for your retirement.

Established under the Capital Markets and Services Act (CMSA) 2007, PRS is regulated and supervised by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to ensure robust regulation and supervision of the PRS industry whilst promoting trust and confidence in the PRS.

Fast facts about the Private Retirement Scheme (PRS)

  • A voluntary scheme for all individuals who are 18 years old and above
  • A way to boost your total retirement savings—regardless of whether you are an EPF member
  • Complements your EPF savings
  • Enjoy PRS personal tax relief of RM3,000 per year
  • Members aged 55 or above can make a retirement withdrawal anytime, in part or in full
  • Money in the PRS scheme is protected from creditors according to Section 139ZA of the Capital Markets and Services Act (CMSA)

So PRS provides all Malaysians—whether employed or self-employed to accessorise their retirement savings under a well-structured, and most importantly, regulated environment.

Seeing double? The differences between EPF and PRS

So PRS provides all Malaysians—whether employed or self-employed to accessorise their retirement savings under a well-structured, and most importantly, regulated environment.

There are some fairly obvious similarities between the PRS and EPF. First, both plans are essentially retirement schemes.

Secondly, all contributions made to both schemes are split and maintained in a 70:30 ratio into two sub-accounts: Sub-Account A and B.

Sub-account A (70% contribution)Amount in Sub-account A can be withdrawn upon retirement age; upon death and permanent departure from Malaysia
Sub-account B (30% contribution)Amount in Sub-account B can only be withdrawn once a year

Can your contributions be withdrawn from PRS? Yes, withdrawals from PRS or from any funds under PRS can be done partially or in full and under the following circumstances:

  • After the day the member reaches retirement age, which is currently 55
  • Following the death of a member
  • Permanent departure of a member from Malaysia
  • For pre-retirement withdrawals


While pre-retirement withdrawal may be made for any reason, a tax penalty of 8% on the withdrawal amount will be applied by the PRS providers before the balance is credited to the member’s account.

Some key differences between EPF and PRS is that the latter is a voluntary contribution scheme—so you can contribute as little or as much as you want. On top of that, PRS is privately run by financial institutions with no guaranteed returns.

This is in contrast to the government-owned EPF which gives you a guaranteed minimum dividend rate of 2.5% a year.

Related: How Much Should You Have In Savings by The Age of 30?

How does the Private Retirement Scheme work?

prs contributors
The Private Pension Administrator (PPA) Malaysia is the central administrator for Private Retirement Schemes in the country. (Image Source: Private Pension Administrator)

First—choose which PRS provider and its corresponding fund you want to contribute to. Feel free to choose more than one fund because you are allowed to spread out your contributions between more than one fund.

Additionally, you can contribute your funds under the (a) default option or (b) non-default option as follows:

1. Default option
Your contributions will automatically be allocated to the core fund that corresponds to the age group.

2. Non-default option
You can actively select one or more funds from the core funds or the non-core funds regardless of your age.

Regardless of the option chosen, your contributions will be maintained in two separate sub-accounts A and B as explained above.

You can choose a fund based on your risk appetite, as it will have certain levels of risk and corresponding returns.

Alternatively, you can also choose from a default option based on your age group—this is a special feature of the PRS, and aims to make investing your savings for retirement easy.

The PRS default option for core funds offers a packaged mix of underlying asset classes that provides growth, moderate and conservative risk and returns based on evolving life stages towards retirement.

Also, if you have one, you could seek advice from a financial advisor on which fund suits your situation and risk appetite the most. Either way, just make sure you do a bit of market research before making your selection.


The three core funds include the growth fund, moderate fund, and conservative fund. (Image Source: Private Pension Administrator)

Each PRS provider must offer three core funds as a default option in their PRS. Refer below to check the core funds based on your age grouping:

Core FundsAgePrinciple
Growth FundBelow 45 Years

Focus is on growing the portfolio.

Aim:

  • Focuses on growing the portfolio steadily;
  • Invest mainly in growth-seeking assets;
  • Take risk as deemed appropriate to generate returns;
  • Seeking returns that outpace inflation (after covering all fees and expenses of the fund); and
  • Tolerates high degree of volatility in investments.
Moderate Fund45 – 54 years old

Focus is on growing the portfolio whilst seeking income.

Aim:

  • Continue to grow the portfolio in real terms;
  • A balanced investment approach between risk and returns;
  • Take risk only when deemed appropriate without taking high levels of market risk; and
  • Tolerates moderate volatility in investments.
Conservative Fund55 years old and above

Focus is on generating income consistent with getting the portfolio ready for utilisation.

Aim:

  • Focuses on conserving capital;
  • Invest mainly in income-generating assets;
  • Take risk that would not jeopardise the value of investments generated; and
  • Accept minimum volatility.

Source: Private Pension Administrator

Each fund provided under the PRS is intended to enhance long-term returns for members within a regulated framework.

Nominate loved ones to ensure proper heritance

Why nominate loved ones? Simply to make it easy for them to receive your gift (contributions) in the event of your passing on.

Without your nomination, your loved ones may experience difficulties when making a withdrawal from your PRS account, and this may be a lengthy process.

PRS investors are automatically enrolled as a lifetime member of the Private Pension Administrator (PPA), and are entitled to make a nomination for the purpose of easy disbursement of their PRS balance in the event of their demise.

Each member may nominate up to six persons and allocate a specified percentage of the PRS balance to be paid to the nominee(s).

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Will Writing in Malaysia

List of PRS providers in Malaysia

affin hwang capital

Affin Hwang Asset Management Berhad

Tel: 603 – 2116 6000
Hotline: 1800 88 7080
Fax:  603 – 2116 6100
Email: customercare@affinhwangam.com
Web: www.affinhwangam.com

aia

AIA Pension and Asset Management Sdn. Bhd.

Hotline: 1300 22 7771
Fax:   603-2056 1091
Email: my.apam_helpdesk@aia.com
Web: www.aia-prs.com.my

aminvest

AmFunds Management Berhad

Tel: 603 – 2032 2888
Fax: 03–2031 5210
Email: aminvestprs@aminvest.com
Web: www.aminvest.com

kenanga investors

Kenanga Investors Berhad

Tel: 1-300-88-1PRS (1777)
Fax: 603-2172 3133
Email: OnePRS@kenanga.com.my
Web: www.kenangainvestors.com.my

manulife

Manulife Investment Management (M) Berhad

Tel: 603 – 2719 9271
Hotline: 1300 – 13 – 2323
Fax: 603 – 2093 7377
Email: PRSinfo_MY@manulife.com
Web: www.manulifeinvestment.com.my

principal cimb endorsement

Principal Asset Management Berhad(formerly known as CIMB-Principal Asset Management Berhad)

Tel: 603 – 2084 8888
Hotline: 603 – 7718 3000
Email: service@principal.com.my
Web: www.principal.com.my/prs

public mutual

Public Mutual Berhad

Telefon: 603 – 2022 6800
Hotline: 603 – 2022 5000
Fax: 603 – 2022 6900
Emel: customer@publicmutual.com.my
Web: www.publicmutual.com.my

rhb

RHB Asset Management Sdn. Bhd.

Tel: 603 – 9205 8000
Hotline: 1-800-88-3175
Fax: 603 – 9205 8100
Email: rhbam@rhbgroup.com
Web: www.rhbgroup.com/s/prs

PRS fund performance

As part of your retirement planning, it’s good to cultivate a habit of keeping track of your investments and to ensure their performance is at its optimal level.

Don’t be affected if markets seem volatile in the short‐term, because saving for your retirement is a long-term endeavour. And always remember that past performance is no guarantee of future returns, so use indicators only as a guide for your own planning purposes.

Refer to the table below for a snapshot of the PRS fund performances in the year-to-date as well as over a five-year period; it’s updated on a monthly basis.

Quick View: Five-Year (5) and Year-to-Date (YTD) Performance

PRS-Fund-performance_All-Mar_2021
For a complete view of all PRS funds performance, please click here. The daily fund prices are provided by Morningstar. (Image Source: Private Pension Administrator)

Important note: The past performance of the funds are not an indication of its future performance.

How to apply for the Private Retirement Scheme?

Like what you hear? You can start saving more for your retirement by following these four simple steps:

  1. Select your PRS provider
  2. Choose a suitable fund
  3. Open your PRS account
  4. Top up your funds regularly via PRS online

Or visit their website for more information.

*Disclaimer: all our views here are meant to be educational – not a professional recommendation from CompareHero.my.