Keynote Speech at the Malaysia Financial Planning Day (MFPD) hosted by MFPC
Speaker: Datin Azalina Adham, Managing Director, Securities Commission Malaysia
Location: Securities Commission Malaysia
Delivered: 21 October 2023

Full Speech:
Mr Andy Ng, Prsident of the Malaysian Financial Planning Council

Mr Alvin Tan, President of Financial Planning Association of Malaysia

Mr John Chan, President of te Association of Financial Advisers

Mr Sean Lim, President of the Malaysian Finnacial Planner & Advisers Association

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all.

  1. Welcome to the Securities Commission Malaysia. First and foremost, I would like to thank all four financial planning associations, namely the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC), the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM), Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Malaysian Financial Planners and Advisers Association (MFPAA) for their joint effort in making today's large-scale event possible and for inviting me to speak this morning.
  2. I would like to commend the collaboration between these four esteemed associations. It serves as a testament to the commitment and dedication of their pursuit towards promoting financial literacy and elevating the standards of professionalism within the industry.
  3. A career fair like this is not just an event; it’s an opportunity to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, potential employees and employers.
  4. In fact, talent development is a priority agenda for the SC because one of the biggest challenges we are facing in the industry is the talent deficit. Based on industry surveys, we found that nearly 50% of capital market professionals are over 50 years old. Some are even in the 70–80 age bracket.
  5. The proportion of younger talents, those aged 30 and below, has decreased over the years to around 8%. One of the reasons the industry has struggled to recruit younger professionals in recent years is because the younger generation are not as familiar with the capital market industry as they are with other industries, such as banking or insurance.
  6. In fact, the talent deficit phenomenon is not unique to Malaysia or the capital market. A Korn Ferry Research published in 2019 projected that by 2030, there will be a global talent deficit of over 85 million workers across economies, with the financial and business sectors having a skilled talent shortage of 10.7 million workers.
  7. This global talent deficit could result in over $8 trillion in unrealised annual revenue by 2030.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Another challenge that we are facing in the capital market is a talent mismatch issue. An ICMR Survey conducted in 2021 among CEOs showed that younger professionals needed to be more exposed to the practical aspects of the capital market. This is reflected in the survey responses where 81% of CEOs felt “industry knowledge transfer” programmes were the most viable solution for improving the quality of new talents.
  2. The capital market is a services-based industry where talent is a crucial lever for growth and development. Based on the same survey, CEOs felt that a talent shortage could significantly affect the capital market industry, ranking it higher than competition from new players.
  3. Hence, it is very crucial to address the talent challenges by having a sustainable and skilled talent pipeline. Having such a talent pool is important to ensuring the industry’s sustainable development, improving the capital market’s competitiveness and supporting Malaysia’s long-term growth.
  4. Arising from these observations, the Securities Commission Malaysia developed investED, a collaborative capital market graduate talent programme that is supported by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), as well as capital market players such as investment banks, stockbrokers and fund managers.
  5. InvestED is the first-ever collaboration between the SC, MOF, MOHE, capital market industries and universities. Given the breadth of services in the capital market industry and its inter-connectedness, we believe that consistent collaboration is key to bringing about impactful change. The capital market industry needs to address these challenges through collaborative efforts.
  6. The investED programme consists of three components. The first component is a series of awareness programmes in the form of career talks and career fairs to provide graduates with exposure to capital market knowledge and job opportunities. These programmes also provides opportunities for university students to meet iconic industry leaders as well as practitioners.
  7. The second component is the Foundation Programme which provides introductory knowledge and baseline certification on the capital market through a structured certification programme offered by SIDC.
  8. And finally, the third component is the investED Leadership Programme, which aims to groom young and aspiring capital market leaders. Students in this programme will go through a one-month in-person classroom training at the Asia School of Business (ASB).
  9. Upon completion of the one-month training at ASB, the partner capital market firms will then provide the investED Leadership Programme trainees with experience and exposure through a 6-month job placement, with a potential permanent employment opportunity if they perform well.
  10. Over the next 3-years, the three goals of investED is (i) to reach out to 9,000 university students through nationwide career talks and fairs; (ii) to enable 2400 university students and graduates to take capital market introductory Foundation Programmes; and (ii) to groom and better prepare 600 young graduates through the Leadership programme which includes a 6-month job placements in the industry.
  11. The response so far has been very encouraging. Thus far, (i) we have reached out to over 1400 university students through 5 career talks, (ii) we have received about 1,000 eligible applications for the Foundation Programmes; and (iii) the first cohort of the investED Leadership Programme comprising 171 students have completed their one-month training and are now going through the 6-month job placement which is scheduled to end in Feb 2024.
  12. We are planning to open application for the 2nd Cohort of the investED Leadership programme soon, so please visit the investED website to get more information and also to register.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. The growth of the financial planning industry in recent years reflects the growing demand for professional guidance and advice on managing personal finances. As Malaysians become more aware of the benefits of financial planning, they are seeking out qualified professionals to help them navigate complex financial decisions and achieve their long-term goals.
  2. The world we live in today is more dynamic, interconnected, and fast-paced than ever before. We find ourselves navigating through a sea of financial choices and challenges, whether it be buying a house, saving for our children's education, or planning for a comfortable retirement. It is in these complexities that the role of financial planning becomes paramount.
  3. Therefore, it is important for financial planning firms to cultivate a pipeline of quality talent for the future in order to support the changing needs of investors.
  4. Today's generation is showing more interest in investing with a conscience. Investors are now more conscious of supporting companies that prioritise sustainability, social responsibility, and good governance practices.
  5. Technology is also transforming the way financial planning is conducted. Robo-advisors, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are some of the new technologies that are revolutionising the industry.
  6. These advancements have made financial planning more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective. Yet, these tools are only as effective as the individuals who use them. Financial planning firms must cultivate professionals who are tech-savvy and able to harness these technologies to benefit their clients while maintaining a human touch that ensures personalised, empathic guidance.

To all the young graduates here today,

  1. Now, you might ask why financial planning is so crucial. The financial planning industry is a key component of any vibrant and thriving economy.
  2. Effective financial planning contributes to economic stability. In the face of life's uncertainties, it acts as a safety net to reduce financial vulnerabilities. At the same time, it is also a tool for wealth creation, ensuring that people can retire comfortably and enjoy their golden years with peace of mind.
  3. Furthermore, in a world where the financial landscape is continuously evolving and people are faced with a myriad of investment opportunities, saving options, and retirement planning strategies, the expertise and guidance of financial planners are essential to help people navigate these choices, ensuring they make informed decisions.
  4. Therefore, given the critical role that financial planning plays, a career in the financial planning industry promises to be fulfilling. It is a chance for you to make a difference in the lives of countless people, especially the vulnerable.
  5. The role of a financial planner is not merely that of a financial advisor. It is also a position of trust, responsibility, and influence. Therefore, financial planners must act with the highest level of integrity in providing holistic and quality advice. Each client's needs are different; hence, this approach is necessary.
  6. So, as you embark on this exciting career, it is essential to recognise that with great responsibility comes the need for the right talent. The financial planning industry is only as strong as the professionals who drive it forward.
  7. In the world of finance, trust is paramount. Clients trust you with their financial well-being, and that trust is built on knowledge, integrity, and a commitment to their best interests. The path to becoming a successful financial planner is not always easy, but it is immensely rewarding.
  8. Therefore, I want to congratulate each and every one of you for taking the first step towards a career in financial planning. It is a noble profession that allows you to make a positive impact on people's lives every day.
  9. To the young graduates, I wish you an exciting and fruitful day ahead as you embark on this discover journey, and we look forward to building a sustainable pipeline of the next generation of financial planning professionals.

Thank you.
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