Officiating Remarks at the Invest Smart Fest 2022

Speaker: Dato’ Seri Dr. Awang Adek Hussin, Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia
Location:  Invest Smart Fest 2022, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Delivered: 14 October 2022

Note: This is the speech as drafted and may differ from the delivered version


Changing investor landscape:

  • The SC has supported the creation of many new digital service providers in response to changing investor behaviour and demand for more investment options.
  • These digital services have given firms more financing options while supplementing existing investment channels to provide underserved investors with greater access to the capital market.

Unlicensed activities and scams:

  • As of September 2022, the SC has already received more than 1,800 complaints and enquiries related to investment scams and unlicensed activities.
  • The significant increase in reported scams and retail investor losses highlights continued investor vulnerability.
  • The SC has increased collaborative efforts with various stakeholders to combat scams.
  • This year, the SC has added 194 names to the Investor Alert List and blocked 143 websites and 26 Facebook pages.

Empowering investors
  • The SC will prioritise year-long investor education and outreach programmes, to help investors grow their wealth and avoid scams.

Moving forward:

  • The SC will soon announce a host of policy initiatives, some of which are digital-centric, to develop the capital market.

Tetamu-tetamu kehormat,

Rakan-rakan Media,

Tuan-tuan, puan-puan dan para hadirin sekalian,

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh dan salam sejahtera.

  1. Selamat datang ke InvestSmart Fest 2022 [dua ribu dua puluh]. Alhamdullilah, InvestSmart Fest tahun ini kembali sebagai acara fizikal selepas dilaksanakan dalam talian selama dua tahun yang lalu. Adalah penting bagi pihak kami untuk terus mengadakan program bersama pelabur untuk menyebar maklumat terkini mengenai pasaran modal di Malaysia.

  2. InvestSmart 2022 - dengan tema, ‘Silap Labur Duit Lebur’, diadakan bagi menyokong Bulan Literasi Kewangan, satu inisiatif dari Jaringan Pendidikan Kewangan (FEN) dan Minggu Pelabur Sedunia IOSCO, di mana kedua-duanya berlangsung pada bulan Oktober. IOSCO adalah Badan Pengawalan Antarabangsa Suruhanjaya Sekuriti.

Changing Investor Landscape

Ladies and gentlemen.

  1. Over the years, there has been a marked shift in retail investing behaviour globally and Malaysia is no exception. The pandemic, rise of social media and rapid technological developments have all led to more retail participation in the capital market. New technology has also reshaped investors’ behaviour, with more people preferring to manage their own investments and embracing the digitisation of products and services.

  2. The SC has been responsive to this changing investor behaviour. We have pushed for greater adoption of digital innovation in the capital market to better serve the needs of investors while at the same time, safeguarding their trust and confidence. For example, in response to demand for more investment options and product innovation, the SC facilitated the establishment of many new digital service providers, such as online equities broker, digital investment management and digital asset exchanges.

  3. More recently, the SC also registered 2 initial exchange offering operators (IEOs) that will provide an alternative avenue for eligible companies to raise funds through the issuance of digital tokens in Malaysia.

  4. This service will supplement existing market-based financing platforms that have provided Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with an alternative source of capital. Such services not only give more options to firms to raise financing, but also complement existing investment channels for investors.

  5. All in all, these new digital services have widened access to the capital market for underserved investors at a lower cost. Indeed, the availability of these platforms dispels the myth that investing requires a lot of money. In fact, there are even online providers that make it possible to invest with little amounts of money or spare change, some from as low as 5 ringgit. Bak kata peribahasa melayu: sikit sikit, lama lama jadi bukit.

Unlicensed activities and scams

Ladies and gentlemen

  1. Unfortunately, the rise and popularity of the Internet and social media has also provided a fertile ground for fraud and scam activities by entities that are illegal or do not comply with our securities laws. The significant increase in scams and retail investor losses reported highlight continued investor vulnerability.

  2. Malaysia has seen a significant rise in online scams over the last two years, with almost 72,000 scams and RM5.2 billion in losses. Investment scams accounted for close to 12,000 of the overall number of scams.

  3. As of September this year, the SC has already received more than 1,800 complaints and enquiries related to investment scams and unlicensed activities alone.

  4. Scammers are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to target investors, who range from the vulnerable at one end to those who invest primarily by the desire – or hope - to gain lots of money irrespective of the risks involved. Some would call this the “gambling instinct”.

  5. Most scams are spread through messaging apps and platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. And we have recently noticed that they have started using Telegram as well. Many of these scams also claimed to be “syariah compliant”.

  6. I would like to point out that under Malaysian law, any company or individual who wants to provide capital market products and services to Malaysian investors, such as unit trusts, stocks, digital investments, bonds, must be licensed or registered with the SC. This also applies to those who are or claim to be licensed overseas.

  7. This is important because entities licensed or registered with the SC, must fulfil stringent regulatory requirements that are designed to protect investors. Investors who choose to trade on unlicensed platforms risk not being protected in the event of any dispute arising. In short, we cannot protect you if you choose to invest with unlicensed people.

  8. I also want to draw your attention to the increasing use of “celebrities or influencers” to promote retail investment offerings on social media. This includes –
  • Using celebrities to endorse and provide investment advice to investors; or
  • Using celebrities to talk about or promote successful investments.
  1. The public should also be wary of self-proclaimed investment gurus who offer questionable advice or use social media to spread false or misleading information.

  2. To address this growing problem, the SC has increased collaborative efforts with various stakeholders to do more in fighting scams. Our multi-pronged approach includes –
  • alerting the public via our Investor Alert List,
  • blocking websites, and
  • geo-blocking offending social media pages.
  1. We also take enforcement actions as needed.

  2. Last year, we added 275 names to our Investor Alert List, blocked 143 websites and geo-restricted 35 social media pages. This year, we have added 194 names to our Alert List, and 143 websites and 26 Facebook pages were blocked1.

  3. The SC’s Investor Alert List is constantly updated to warn investors of suspicious companies or individuals that carry out unlicensed investment activities or scams. The list can be easily found on our website. In fact, you can also find a list of all licensed firms and individuals on our website.

Investor Empowerment

Ladies and gentlemen

  1. An informed investor is a protected investor. We need to cultivate a culture of enthusiastic, yet informed investor participation. One where the public is educated on the numerous investment options available, as well as their rights and responsibilities as investors. They can invest confidently, make well-informed decisions and exercise vigilance against potential risks.

  2. Armed with the right knowledge, investors are better positioned to safeguard their interests, and they can also become the SC’s “eyes and ears” in detecting potential fraud or misconduct.

  3. This is why the SC has made it a priority to conduct year-long investor education and outreach programmes. This is done through InvestSmart.

  4. InvestSmart encompasses a wide range of initiatives that use novel approaches to educate the public. Mobile applications, social media and other digital platforms supplement traditional investor outreach channels such as exhibitions, seminars and roadshows.

  5. This year, rural communities across the country will be the focal point of our Agen Bijak Labur Desa (ABJAD) programme. Through the use of a computer-assisted e-learning platform, ABJAD will expose secondary school students in rural areas to financial literacy courses.

  6. InvestSmart will also connect with the urban B40 population through MDEC’s #SayaDigital programme to promote digital inclusion, basic financial literacy, banking and investing.


Ladies and gentlemen

  1. Before I close, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our event partners, namely Bursa Malaysia, FIMM, FPAM and MFPC, esteemed speakers and over 40 exhibitors for participating in InvestSmart® Fest 2022.

  2. And lastly, to the investors today, please take this opportunity to participate in the many sessions we have lined-up for you and engage with the financial planners and exhibitors during your visit.

  3. If I could leave you with one piece of advice before I close, it would be this: Before making any investment decisions, please get the right information and advice from reliable sources. When it comes to investing, always remember this –
  • Never deposit your money into someone else’s bank account; and
  • Deal only with licensed persons.
  1. Armed with the right tools and knowledge, I believe investors will be able to capitalise on opportunities offered by our capital market.

  2. In terms of new investment options, I would like to share with you that the SC will be introducing soon a host of new policy initiatives to further develop our capital market. Some of these initiatives are digital-centric. We plan to make a formal announcement on these initiatives by the end of this month.

  3. On that note, it gives me great pleasure to officiate the 9th InvestSmart Fest 2022.

Terima kasih.

Wabillahi taufiq walhidayah, wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

1As of August 2022

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