Malaysia is expected to name Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, group Chief Executive Officer of the country’s largest asset manager Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), as the head of its biggest state pension fund, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting three people familiar with the matter.

The appointment will fill the role left vacant after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in December named Amir Hamzah Azizan, the previous CEO of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), as second finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle, according to Reuters.

Ahmad Zulqarnain’s appointment is expected to be announced as early as at the end of January, two of the sources said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak with the media, according to the exclusive report.

In an emailed response to a Reuters‘ query on Thursday, a spokesperson at the EPF said the pension fund is “unable to offer any comments at this time on leadership changes.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s office and PNB did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ahmad Zulqarnain was appointed in July 2020 to head PNB, which managed 343.1 billion ringgit ($72.55 billion) of assets as at Nov. 30, 2022, according to its website.

Prior to joining PNB, Ahmad Zulqarnain was previously Deputy Managing Director at Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

According to Reuters, the appointment comes as the EPF, the world’s 12th largest pension fund, looks to rebuild its reserves following record withdrawal of subscriber funds during the COVID pandemic.

Established in 1951, EPF is the 12th largest pension fund in the world with 15.72 million members and total assets of about 1 trillion ringgit, according to its 2022 annual report.

EPF’s investments in the Malaysian public equities market include the country’s largest bank Malayan Banking, and electricity utility Tenaga Nasional, according to LSEG data.

EPF also invests in the private markets including real estate and private equity.

According to its website, EPF invests in a number of approved financial instruments which include Malaysian Government Securities and Equivalent; equities; loans and bonds; money market instruments; and real estate and infrastructure.

It is worth noting that in September last year, venture capital firm 500 Global announced the successful close of $143 million across its largest Southeast Asian early-stage fund to date, 500 Southeast Asia III, L.P. (500 SEA III), and its growth investment vehicle for Southeast Asia.

Limited partners (LPs) across its early-stage and growth investment vehicles include Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, public and private pension funds like Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) [KWAP], and EPF.

Together with PNB and KWAP, EPF also co-invested in high-tech industrial asset Kulim II for $420 million, according to earlier report.

500 Global closes $143M across early-stage & growth vehicles for Southeast Asia; ropes in Khazanah, KWAP & EPF as LPs