Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund mulls closing London office

Mr Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, Khazanah Nasional Bhd's managing director, said the decision is "less to do with Brexit but more to do with our plans in the near future". PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, is considering closing its London office to cut operating costs as uncertainty over the UK's exit from the European Union looms.

High-cost base operations "may not go well with our plans for the near future, so we are looking at closing London", Mr Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, Khazanah's managing director, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (March 19).

The decision is "less to do with Brexit but more to do with our plans in the near future", he said.

The Malaysian fund is seeking to cut non-performing assets in the wake of a slump in the net worth of its portfolio amid an uncertain global economy.

The Brexit drama adds more gloom as the prospect of a clean break with the EU on the March 29 exit deadline unnerves Asian companies.

Khazanah will also scale down its operations in Turkey because "we have started to exit the investments we have there" and as such, Khazanah doesn't require such a big presence, Mr Shahril said, without being more specific.

Both the US and China remain very important to Khazanah because "we have a very big interest in technology and so those offices remain relevant", he said.

Mr Shahril told Bloomberg Television earlier that while Khazanah will focus on growing Malaysia's assets base for the long term, it has no plans to pull back on its overseas investments as it seeks to optimise risk-adjusted returns over a 10-year period.

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