In PNB We Trust


In PNB We Trust

In Trust: A History of PNB is the first full-length study of Permodalan Nasional Berhad, marking the institution’s 40th anniversary. AWANI Review speaks to its author Professor Nicholas J. White on why he took on the challenge to document this illustrious institution, and what were the challenges he faced in doing so.

A giant government-linked corporation, PNB is the country's largest fund manager in the country, which now has RM290 billion assets under management, including investments owned by its 13.6 million unit holders.

It is therefore quite unique to see the institution - part investment company, part fund manager - attempt to document its roots and history through a book, highlighting its journey over four decades.

“I was in London a few years ago, when I met the former Chairman of PNB, Tun Ahmad Sarji,” recalls Liverpool John Moores University’s Imperial and Commonwealth History Professor Nicholas J. White.

“He told me that the time has come for the world to know what PNB is, what we stand for, and what we had to overcome to get to where we are today,” he adds.

PNB investments in Bursa Malaysia are worth RM200 billion - or more than 10 percent of Bursa Malaysia's total market capitalisation. 

Within the PNB group of subsidiaries and associated companies are some of the biggest corporations in Malaysia, most notably Maybank and Sime Darby.

“Trustworthiness and dependability have become hallmarks of the PNB brand,” White says.

“The purpose of any organisation is to ensure that they have the confidence of not just their investors and shareholders, but for organisations like PNB, they must command the trust of the Malaysian public as well,” he adds.

PNB's history dates back to 17 March 1978. It was set up as one of the instruments instrument of the New Economic Policy to promote share ownership in the corporate sector among Bumiputras.

Its first chairman was Tun Ismail Mohd Ali who served till 1996. He was succeeded by Tun Ahmad Sarji, PNB’s longest serving chairman from 1996 to 2016.

Tan Sri Wahid Omar was appointed chairman after but his tenure was short-lived. Former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz took over in June this year, following the Pakatan Harapan's win in the 14th General Elections.

Watch the full interview with Professor White below: