Are You Getting Investment Advice From A Licensed Advisor?
The importance of investing for passive income cannot be emphasised enough. For Malaysians, this has become more of a reality; with the younger generation now understanding how financial systems can make their money work for them.
There has been a 30% increase in new local stock trading accounts opening in May this year compared to the same period last year. Retail investors activity during the period also showed a 607% increase year on year.
The growing interest in investment among Malaysians is great news but it comes with greater risks of scams too. A recent survey had also placed Malaysia among the top 20 nations affected by scam calls. In the first half of 2020, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) had already issued several warnings on an increase in clone firms and unlicensed investment schemes.
This year, the SC’s InvestSmart® Fest is paying special attention to increasing awareness among investors so they can avoid falling prey to these scams and illegal investment schemes.
We have all come across these self-styled ‘investment gurus’ on the internet who get their victims to send money in exchange for advice and investment tips without properly checking first. So, it’s important to know who you can ask and to learn how you can avoid falling prey to scams.
Who is allowed to give investment advice?
By law, not everyone is allowed to give investment advice. In Malaysia, it’s a highly regulated profession under the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA). Basically, those that want to give investment advice (that is providing reports, advice or analysis on securities) must first be registered and licensed with the SC.
Whether your advisor provides formal analyst reports or shares investment tips on Facebook, all forms of investment advice are covered under Malaysian law outlined in the CMSA and are overseen by the SC.
All the following types of financial advice require a license:
- Dealing in securities
- Dealing in derivatives
- Fund management
- Dealing in Private Retirement Scheme
- Advising on corporate finance
- Investment advice
- Financial planning
Source: Securities Commission Malaysia
Avoiding the jargon, this simply means that you need a license if you want to make money by telling people about how markets are performing and what to invest in.
Check if your investment advisor has a license
Unlicensed investment advisors potentially face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to RM10 million, or both. To help the public, the SC has publicly listed the names and information of unlicensed investment advisors in Malaysia.
Just this one simple step to do a background check can save you the heartache of losing your money to scammers. Most types of investment schemes in Malaysia need a license or proper registration with a government body.
Keep in mind the following before making an investment:
- Check if your investment advisors or companies are licensed or registered
- Ask for information/documents and check with SC, BNM, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, CyberSecurity Malaysia or Companies Commission of Malaysia
- Don’t rush into making an investment
- Be extra careful with investment opportunities on social media platforms
- Keep your personal information safe (MyKad, bank details, home address)
Source: Securities Commission Malaysia
And most important to remember – don’t hand over cash or transfer any monies into personal bank accounts of any individuals for investment purposes.
If you do come across any unlicensed investment advisors, or those operating illegal investment schemes or platforms, contact the SC’s Consumer and Investor Office at +603-6204 8999 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The number of online scams is increasing, so investors must avoid being deceived in their search for yield in this low interest rate environment.
How do you find a licensed investment advisor?
The InvestSmart® Fest is the best place for you to get started. This annual event aims to educate Malaysians to become informed investors – find out about the various investment opportunities in the capital market and understand how to protect yourself against investment scams and illegal investment schemes.
This year, the three-day event will take place from October 23 to 25, with the theme “Silap Labur Duit Lebur”. For the first time, the entire event will be held online; due to social distancing requirements set in place by the Conditional Movement Control Order in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
At the virtual InvestSmart® Fest 2020, you will be able to find information about getting started with investing, how to spot financial scams, and even a showcase of products and services offered in Malaysia. These services include stocks, bonds, unit trusts, private retirement schemes (PRS), exchange-traded funds (ETF), equity crowdfunding (ECF), peer-to-peer financing (P2P), digital investment management (DIM) and digital asset exchanges (DAX).
Over the past months, digital investment managers have attracted many first-time investors with close to 90,000 new accounts opened this year. Get insights from the experts on how this digital tool can add value and diversify your investment portfolio.
Attendees also stand a chance to win online vouchers via lucky draw giveaways and pop quizzes held throughout the event.
At this event, you can also get free financial management counselling under #FinPlan4u. These sessions will be held online from October 19 to 25, 2020; with registration already open.
What you can get at #FinPlan4u:
- Complimentary 45-minute 1-to-1 session with a financial planner licensed by the SC
- First-hand experience on what a financial planner does and how to benefit from working with one
- Counselling sessions in financial management or on specific issues related to personal finances
Going online makes this instalment of the InvestSmart® Fest more accessible than ever before. All you need to do is sign up and take part in the event from the comfort of your own home. Learn what you need to know about investing in Malaysia to avoid falling victim to the growing number of scammers looking to prey on the inexperienced.