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More Robo-advisors to Enter Malaysia in 2020

Malaysia is expected to house two more robo-advisors in the country’s emerging financial technology (fintech) market next year after an Australian-based firm and a Thai firm obtained the Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) approval for operation.

The SC Executive Chairman stated that the companies which were granted approval-in-principle would join the three fully operational robo- advisors in the country. The approval would further facilitate the growth of local fintech landscape.

It was noted that Malaysia now has three new licensed and fully operational robo-advisors. The region continues to see strong interest in this space and will pursue to facilitate its growth.

Robo-advisors are a class of financial advisor that provides financial advice or investment management, based on mathematical rules or algorithms via online with moderate to minimal human intervention.

One of the newly approved firms is Singaporean-based firm arrived with its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled investing platform in Malaysia in late 2018, after receiving the inaugural approval by the SC.

The platform is able to cut man-hours, which also involves high fees in investment planning. Instead, the firm leaves the brunt of this work to data-driven AI, which allows them to offer these services for relatively lower costs to the general public.

Robo-advisors emerged in the market following the introduction of the SC framework on Digital Investment Management in 2017.

The latest allocation under Budget 2020 could further chart the growth of alternative market-based financing platforms.

In the budget, the Finance Ministry has allocated RM50 million to the Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to help finance start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by co-investing on a one-to-four basis in campaigns listed on equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platforms.

It is expected that this injection will further spur the growth of Malaysia’s ECF and P2P financing industry, which in turn could catalyse growth in Malaysian SMEs by providing access to alternative sources of financing.

A total of 21 Malaysian ECF and P2P platforms registered with the SC have raised RM587 million for some 1,600 micros, small and medium-sized enterprises since 2016.

It is important to note that these platforms deploy financing to a diverse range of sectors, including high-tech, education, retail, food and beverage, and consumer products.

The inclusion of the ECF and P2P platforms in the Malaysian capital market has attracted new investors, particularly those aged 35 and below.

SC has also introduced guidelines for property crowdfunding that provides an alternative financing avenue for the first time home-buyers with the registration of the platform have already been made last month.

SC expects the platform to commence its operation soon. This year’s SCxSC Fintech Conference 2019 will include Islamic fintech. Leaders believe this remains a largely untapped segment in Malaysia’s current ecosystem and they look forward to discussion on (whether) Malaysia’s potential may be unlocked in this area.

According to another article, Malaysia’s local fintech landscape is growing a tremendous pace as it continues to serve the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as the new generation of investors.

The Chairman of the Securities Commissions (SC) chairman stated that currently there are 21 equity crowdfunding (ECF) and Peer-to-Peer financing (P2P) platforms registered with SC which has collectively raised RM587 million for more than 1,600 MSMEs.

These platforms will continue to serve a number of MSME sector including high tech, education, retail, food and beverages, and young investors below 35.

Moreover, the increasing interest surrounding fintech, players need to eye the Islamic capital market, not only in terms of Sukuk and equities but also fund management. From the digital forefront, it is important to harness the full potential of technology in promoting the capital market, as it could act as a key enabler for economic growth and transformation.

Looking ahead to 2020, the government will continue to advance the national digital agenda by building on the foundations Malaysia has laid over the last few years.

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