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Malaysia and global market summary for November 2023.

World Updates


  • The largest economies in the world delivered better than the expected growth. The US GDP rose by 4.9% in the third quarter 2023

  • The Israel and Palestinian Hamas military conflict increased market volatility and surge in commodities.

  • Chinese property market continued slump overhanging China's economic outlook

  • Investment and consumption demand is expected to weaken on lag monetary policy effects, high uncertainty, and US recession spillovers.


Malaysia Economy Updates


  • Bank Negara Malaysia has maintained its overnight policy rate (OPR) at 3%, given the stable domestic inflation and growth outlook. 

  • Ringgit was traded almost flat at the opening against the US dollar on lack of fresh buying interest amid low volatility.

  • Malaysia GDP expanded 3.3% from a year earlier in the July-September period with pick up in consumption and government spending

  • Headline inflation continue to slow to 1.8% in Oct with the index points recorded at 130.9, compared with 128.6 last year


US Updates

  • US markets rallied on a downward inflation trend, still strong domestic economy & labour market and the Fed’s dovish tone followed by the European equities.

  • US Senate passed spending bill to fund through early February 2024.

  • Moody's downgraded the US government's credit outlook due to political polarization, fiscal deficits & declining debt affordability.

  • Mixed guidance from retail bellwethers clouded consumption outlook in Q4.


China Update

  • China continues to focus on reviving economic growth although the property market sector remains weak with worsening home prices & downbeat capex by property developer 

  • China new yuan loan slumped to RMB 738 billion, growing at the slowest pace of 10.9% yoy since April 2022 

  • China's policy easing continues to be supportive for both China H&A shares, adding to the reasons why this market is still relevant.

  • Further stimulus is expected to step up while the recent gradual rollout of measures is taking time to revive economic growth including new housing stimulus, issuance of sovereign bonds and increasing budget deficit.


2023 November Market Outlook Update


Sticky inflation remains a concern for the global markets. However, inflation is likely to have peaked due to the tightening stance of global central banks alongside the lag effects of monetary policy on the economy. Inflation numbers are likely to continue trending downwards, albeit remaining at higher-than-average levels. Short-term volatility is likely to prevail and a diversified approach to investing while having exposure to segments within the global economy including US and Japan equities, commodities, and local bonds.


To be a better financial planner, there several skills you ought to polish up to better serve your clients. Learn more about the necessary skills needed.  

In an era where fiscal health is synonymous with overall well-being, financial planners have become the unsung heroes of our times. These professionals do more than simply chart out investment strategies; they do the roles of mentors, guides, and strategists. By seamlessly combining technical acumen with soft skills, they guide clients toward financial success.

This article delves into the symbiotic relationship between the hard and soft skills required of financial advisers and how these skills work in tandem to provide comprehensive and effective financial guidance.

#1. Enhancing Technical Skills

At the heart of a financial adviser’s expertise lie their technical skills, which act as the backbone of their advice. Research, a foundational pillar, allows advisers to provide insightful, data-driven advice. By evaluating a client’s economic history, they gain a comprehensive understanding of past financial decisions and behaviors, which then guides future recommendations.

Beyond understanding a client’s past, advisers also need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the financial world. This means staying updated on market products, shifts in economic policies, and global events that might affect investments.

#2. Wealth Management Skills

Wealth management is another crucial technical skill. It’s not just about advising clients on where to invest but understanding the intricacies of each investment.

Which stocks are likely to yield high returns? What’s the potential of real estate investments in the current market? What are the tax implications of various investment strategies? An adept adviser understands the nuances of these questions, guiding clients through the maze of investment options.

#3. Utilising Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking, another cornerstone skill, allows advisers to adapt strategies based on changing financial landscapes.

If a client expresses a desire to achieve a particular financial goal, but their resources are limited, it’s up to the adviser to devise a strategy that is both realistic and effective. This requires a deep dive into the client’s finances, an understanding of market trends, and the ability to anticipate future financial shifts.

#4. Risk Assessment Skills

Lastly, on the technical front, is risk assessment. Every financial decision carries an inherent risk. It’s the adviser’s job to anticipate these risks, understand their potential impact, and formulate strategies to mitigate them. This could be as straightforward as diversifying an investment portfolio or as complex as hedging against potential market downturns.

#5. People’s Skills

While the technical skills mentioned above are undeniably essential, an adviser’s soft skills breathe life into their technical expertise.

Interpersonal communication stands out as one of the most crucial soft skills. Financial concepts can be complex, abstract, and often intimidating to the average person. An effective adviser has the ability to break down these concepts into digestible, understandable pieces. This isn’t just about using layman’s terms but tailoring the communication style based on the client. This involves verbal communication, non-verbal cues, and, most importantly, active listening. Clients need to feel heard, understood, and valued. By paraphrasing client inputs and offering affirmations, advisers can foster a sense of trust and partnership.

#6. Detail-oriented

Being careful with the details would ensure that no stone is left unturned. In the world of finance, a missed detail can mean a missed opportunity or, worse, a misguided investment.

By being habitual in meticulously examining every aspect of a client’s financial life and the broader market, advisers ensure that their recommendations are consistently both accurate and comprehensive.

#7. Empathy Goes a Long Way

Empathy, often overlooked in the world of numbers and data, is another vital soft skill. Clients often come with financial burdens, anxieties, and aspirations. By connecting with clients on a human level, advisers can offer solutions that are not just financially sound but also emotionally supportive.

#8. Business Development Skills

On the front of expanding horizons, advisers must cultivate strong business development skills. By setting clear performance objectives and consistently tracking sales figures, they can ensure growth and sustainability. Collaborating with product suppliers, estate agents, and other stakeholders allows advisers to provide a more comprehensive suite of services to their clients. Moreover, by honing their presentation and negotiation skills, advisers can ensure that they remain at the forefront of their industry, delivering value to both their clients and their organizations.


The role of a financial planner is both complex and multifaceted. While technical skills provide the foundation for sound financial advice, it’s the soft skills that transform this advice into a trusted partnership. As the financial landscape continues to evolve, advisers who can seamlessly integrate both sets of skills will undoubtedly stand out, ensuring not only their success but the financial well-being of their clients.


What are the most important skills a financial planner must have?

The Malaysian 2024 Budget, which covers a wide range of sectors and segments in the economy, was recently announced. This article shares the views of one licensed financial planner.

By Rafiq Hidayat Mohd Ramli

As the world continues to navigate through economic challenges and uncertainties, the unveiling of a national budget holds immense significance. In Malaysia, the budget for the year 2024 was highly anticipated, as it lays the foundation for the country’s financial trajectory for the coming year. With its far-reaching impact on individuals, businesses, and the nation as a whole, the Malaysia Budget 2024 has been a subject of great interest and debate.

This article delves into the key aspects of the Malaysia Budget 2024, shedding light on the government’s priorities, policy changes, and their potential implications. From subsidies and financial support to taxation and deductions, we’ll explore the most critical elements of this budget, offering insights and analysis from a financial planner that will help you better understand its significance in your financial and economic landscape.

#1. Subsidies and Financial Support

Main Highlights

  • Targeted Subsidies: The government plans to implement a targeted subsidy program in stages, commencing in 2024.

  • Rahmah Cash Aid: The allocation for Rahmah Cash Aid is expected to increase from RM8 billion to RM10 billion.

  • Price Controls: Price controls on chicken and eggs will be lifted to allow the local market to function freely in ensuring a guaranteed supply.

  • Electricity Bill Rebate: A rebate on electricity bills, up to RM40 per month, for hardcore poor households is to continue with an allocation of RM55 million.

  • PTPTN Loan Repayment Discounts: Discounts for PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional) loan repayments will be provided from October 14, 2023, until March 31, 2024.

  • Payung Rahmah Initiatives: An allocation of RM200 million is provided to continue the implementation of Payung Rahmah initiatives.

Personal View on Subsidies and Financial Support

The move from blanket subsidies to targeted subsidies, set to begin in 2024, marks a significant shift in government policy. The decision to extend PTPTN Loan Repayment Discounts until March 31, 2024, is a commendable move for those who can take advantage of this opportunity before it potentially disappears in the future.

#2. Taxation

Main Highlights

  • Capital Gains Tax: A capital gains tax of 10% for unlisted shares is set to take effect from March 1, 2024.

  • Service Tax Increase: The service tax rate will be increased from 6% to 8%. This increase will not apply to services such as food & beverages and telecommunications.

  • Luxury Goods Tax: A new Luxury Goods Tax at rates ranging from 5% to 10% will be introduced, primarily applying to high-value goods like jewelry and watches.

  • Excise Duty on Sugary Beverages: Excise duty on sugar-sweetened beverages is proposed to increase from RM0.40 per liter to RM0.50 per liter starting January 1, 2024.

  • Excise Duty on Chewing Tobacco: Excise duty will be levied on chewing tobacco at a rate of 5% + RM27/kg, effective January 1, 2024.

  • Stamp Duty on Property Ownership: A flat rate of 4% stamp duty will be imposed on the transfer of property ownership executed by non-citizen individuals and foreign-owned companies, excluding Malaysian permanent residents, from January 1, 2024. However, the instrument for transfer of property ownership by renunciation of rights from an eligible beneficiary to another eligible beneficiary in accordance with a will/faraid or the Distribution Act 1958 which is executed from 1 January 2024 will be subject to a nominal stamp duty of RM10.

Personal View on Taxation

The introduction of a capital gains tax for unlisted shares and the increase in service tax are notable changes. However, a more comprehensive Goods and Services Tax (GST) might be a preferable approach, as it can help close loopholes present in the current SST system. The increase in excise duties on sugary drinks and chewing tobacco is expected to impact consumers, although it may not entirely deter their consumption. The removal of stamp duty for transfers between beneficiaries in accordance with a will or the Distribution Act 1958 is a positive step toward expediting estate distribution.

#3. Taxation and Deductions for Individuals

Main Highlights

  • Tax Deductions for Medical Expenses: The scope for medical treatment expenses and care expenses for parents will be extended in YA 2024.

  • Tax Deductions for Lifestyle Expenses: The scope for lifestyle expenses will be expanded in YA 2024, covering self-skills enhancement courses, while the purchase of sports equipment and gym membership fees will be moved to a separate relief category.

  • Tax Deductions for Sports Equipment and Activities: A new category for sports equipment and activities will be introduced in YA 2024, covering expenses related to sports equipment, sports facilities, sports competitions, gym memberships, and sports training fees.

  • Tax Deductions for Up-Skilling Courses: Deductions for up-skilling and self-enhancement course fees are extended for three years from YA 2024 to 2026.

  • Tax Deductions for EV Charging Facilities: Deductions for expenses related to electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities will be extended for four years from YA 2024 to YA 2027.

  • Childcare Allowance Tax Exemption: Tax exemption on childcare allowances received by employees or paid directly by employers to childcare centers will increase from RM2,400 to RM3,000 in YA 2024.

Personal View on Taxation and Deductions for Individuals

The absence of an increase in personal tax rates for Budget 2024 is a positive aspect. The extension of tax deductions for medical expenses, coupled with the rising cost of healthcare, is a welcomed move. The revision of lifestyle expenses to include skill enhancement courses is also a positive step. The reintroduction of tax deductions for sports equipment and activities is an added benefit to encourage more to take up sports. However, the benefits of tax deductions for electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities might not be realized to the fullest extent in 2024.


In conclusion, Budget 2024 brings significant changes to subsidies, taxation, and deductions for individuals. The shift from blanket subsidies to targeted subsidies, the introduction of new taxes, and the revision of tax deductions provide a mixed bag of financial implications. Each individual’s response to these changes will depend on their unique financial situation and priorities.

What do you think about the latest Budget 2024 announcement? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

About the Author

Rafiq Hidayat is the Managing Director of Wealth Vantage Advisory Sdn. Bhd. (WVA). He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He holds a Capital Markets Services Representative Licence (CMSRL) from the Securities Commission of Malaysia and a Financial Advisor Representative License (FAR) from Bank Negara Malaysia. With a background in engineering and human resources, he then ventured into the financial services industry in 2014. Rafiq provides fee-based financial planning and advisory services, with a focus on prospects committed to improving their financial situations and achieving their life goals.

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