SC: Financial Education & Planning More Important Than Ever For Financial Security
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(Image: New Straits Times)

Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin has stressed the increasing importance of financial education and better financial planning, especially in helping Malaysians to safeguard their financial future. This is amidst current challenges faced by global economies, including geopolitical conflicts, sanctions, and rising inflationary pressures. 

Among other concerns, Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek pointed out that retirement security has long been a pressing issue in Malaysia – even well before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has exacerbated the problem. The permitted special withdrawals from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings to smooth over the members’ cash flow needs have left more people with inadequate retirement savings,” Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek further said, referring to previous Covid-19-related withdrawal facilities, namely i-Lestari, i-Sinar, i-Citra, and the latest special withdrawal facility

(Image: The Star/Faihan Ghani)

Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek also remarked that while many Malaysians may seem to enjoy financial security at present, it is crucial that they also prepare themselves against future financial challenges. Combined with the fact that investors may face difficulties in selecting the right financial plan for themselves due to the multitude of instruments currently available, Malaysia needs to grow and attract more talent to the financial planning industry to provide quality services for the people. 

“Making a choice [from the various financial instruments] may increase the risks as it does opportunity. It should come as no surprise that investors are increasingly seeking expert advice to help them meet their financial needs,” Datuk Seri Dr Awang added. 

Additionally, Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek noted the encouraging profitability of the financial planning industry, including corporate unit trust advisory services. This is evident from the high distribution of unit trust funds in the country, which has recorded a three-year average total sales of RM1.1 billion.

(Image: Bernama)

“This has undoubtedly improved the financial situation of many Malaysians. However, I believe that this growth is also being propelled by the increasing complexity of financial products, and the public’s desire for assistance in dealing with this complexity,” Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek further said, adding that the number of financial planning firms in the country has risen by 42% to 44 firms since 2015. The number of licensed financial representatives has also increased by 145%, from 567 individuals in 2015 to almost 1,400 individuals today. 

Finally, Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek shared that the SC will be joining hands with industry players to carry out various initiatives to bring quality financial planning services to more Malaysians. These include an ongoing industry apprenticeship programme that provides participants with practical experience in financial planning, as well as career fairs that seek to promote financial planning as a professional career. 

(Sources: The Edge Markets, Securities Commission Malaysia)

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