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Wealth Management in Malaysia: Change is coming

This August will be my 15-year anniversary in the wealth management industry. I started my career as a unit trust consultant - selling investment funds to retail clients. From there, I diversified my services to offer insurance and takaful products to my clients. As they get older, some begin to ask whether I could offer will writing and wasiat services.

Over the years, my clients needs have grown. As their families grow bigger and their careers advances, their financial needs also changed. New prospect clients are also higher educated, more discerning and demanding. At the same time, the wealth management industry is also undergoing a slow transformation - tighter regulations, big banks offering products beyond loans and savings, margin compression, and of course, the coming fintech revolution. Next year, something new will transform the investment landscape in Malaysia.

Sometime in 2007, I attended a launching in which Dato’ Seri Nazir Razak was the guest of honor. I remembered clearly what he said in his speech, which was “It’s not that hard doing business in Malaysia. We’re a few years behind the advanced countries of the world. Just look at one of their successful business model and copy it.” How are countries like the US, UK, Singapore, Australia doing it?

In my mind, to be a sustainable, growing and profitable wealth advisor, meant changing the current way of doing things. Changing from product pushing to providing the right solutions, from selling to advising clients, from earning purely on commissions to earning more on advisory fees. The right business model will allow the smart wealth advisor to navigate the current treacherous path, allow them to grow the business and provide their services to their clients and their families well into the future.

The change is coming. Is it today? Tomorrow? A few years from now?

You know what they say, early bird gets the worm.

IDHAM IDRIS is the chief marketing officer of Wealth Vantage Advisory, a financial firm licensed by Securities Commission (CMSL), Bank Negara Malaysia (FA), and Federation of Investment Managers Malaysia (CUTA & CPRA). Their vision is to be the firm of choice by clients and financial advisors, leading the change in the industry by focusing on the right way of doing things. Visit to find out more.

Interested in a career as a financial planner? Contact us at

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