SC plans to allow wholesale funds gain exposure to alternative assets

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,SC chairman Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin

KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission (SC) plans to allow the wholesale fund market gain exposure to alternative assets such as digital assets, investment accounts, and investment notes.

This followed the liberalisation of measures for the exchange-traded funds and private retirement schemes (PRS) last month, allowing retail funds to have exposure to invest in digital assets, and investment accounts, SC chairman Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin said.

“Being one of our oldest and largest market segments, the unit trust industry must, first and foremost, adapt to changing demands.

“The search for returns has seen investor preferences shift, from conventional products towards alternative assets and sustainable and responsible investments (SRI).

“Going forward, this trend is likely to continue, alongside further product innovation and a higher interest rate environment,’’ he said at the Federation of Investment Managers Malaysia (FIMM) Annual Convention and Industry Education Series.

Awang Adek also announced that its training and development arm, the Securities Industry Development Corp, will introduce SRI Certification for Market Professionals in 2023.

The certificate will enhance industry capabilities, particularly those involved in fund distribution, such as unit trust and PRS consultants, Bernama reported.

“Better-equipped intermediaries will raise investor confidence and participation in the SRI asset class.

“Post-pandemic, retirement adequacy has emerged as a pressing national concern. It also presents an opportunity to enhance PRS offerings, through better understandings of investor behaviours, and reduce the retirement savings gap,’’ he said.

Amid the growing demand, he reminded market intermediaries to continue to act in the best interest of their investors.

“The SC will not hesitate to pursue enforcement actions for misconduct by consultants. In fact, we have issued penalties of more than RM4mil from 2020 to 2022.

“In terms of conduct, the SC has acted against consultants for failure to explain the unit trust fund marketed, for providing performance guarantees, unauthorised transactions on client accounts, and issuing false or misleading information,’’ he noted.

He said FIMM, as a self-regulatory organisation, must also continue to hold “bad actors” accountable.