19 Mar - 3 min read
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) said that there has been a 70% spike in investor complaints and enquiries that are related to scams in 2020, compared to the previous year.
Revealed in its 2020 Annual Report, the SC also noted that 37% of all the complaints made last year involved illegal investment schemes. “The SC observed that the modus operandi of scammers have evolved over the years. Scams are now perpetrated predominantly through social media channels and messaging tools. To lure investors into the scheme, scammers have resorted to cloning legitimate firms, using the licensed firm’s name and logo,” it said.
In a bid to fight these scams, the SC initiated various efforts to promote investment literacy and anti-scam awareness among the Malaysian public through its investor empowerment platform, InvestSmart. It primarily used tools such as digital and social media to reach out to the public as there were restriction imposed on physical events during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“In 2020, InvestSmart rolled out investor education initiatives through television and radio channels as well as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube,” it said. This is on top of hosting its annual investor education event, the InvestSmart Fest 2020, virtually last year.
The SC also frequently updated its Investor Alert List to warn the public against dealing with or investing with companies that are involved in unlicenced activities or cloned-firm scams. In 2020, 134 new entries were made to the list.
The regulator further issued press releases and cease-and-desist directives to warn investors against investment scams, cloned firms, and investing through unauthorised digital asset exchanges. Moreover, it established an internal task force to investigate and take action against perpetrators of such investment scams.
The SC’s annual report further shared that it had blocked 78 websites found to be carrying unlicenced regulated activities and scams, as well as misusing the SC’s name and logo. This exercise was carried out in collaboration with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Another partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia saw the SC making public service announcements (PSAs) in the form of anti-scam awareness videos on all television channels and public transportation operated by Prasarana. The PSAs were also made via television news crawlers and announcements on radio stations.
Aside from sharing details regarding its effort to combat scams, the SC’s annual report further noted that retail investors were the biggest investors on Bursa Malaysia last year. The net buying by this group amounted to a total of RM14.3 billion, as compared to that made by local institutional investors at RM10.3 billion. With this, the participation rate of retail investors rose significantly, with an average of 32.4% in terms of value traded – which is much higher than 20.8% in 2019 and the five-year average of 21.4%.
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