KUALA LUMPUR: Gen Y and Gen Z are found to be highly accepting of Internet-based investing and eager adopters of the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) newly launched i-Invest platform, which makes the EPF the first retirement fund in the world to link members’ funds to online investment services.
Since the soft launch last month, 2,500 EPF members have registered for i-Invest, with a total transaction value of RM32mil to date.
From this figure, 70% of i-Invest users are 40 years and below.
This is likely due to the lower sales charges implemented and convenience offered, as well as empowerment through informed investment decision-making.
During a panel discussion held in conjunction with the official launch of i-Invest yesterday, CEOs from the top-five fund management institutions (FMIs) noted that i-Invest was not a threat to FMIs.
In fact, i-Invest has helped some of these funds attract new investors.
“Whether the digital age will disrupt agents or not, it depends.
“I think the digital age should be seen as a catalyst for consultants to move up the value chain to become financial planners or financial advisers.
“If you are an adviser that just pushes products, it means that you are not adding value to the investor, ” said Principal Asset Management Bhd CEO Munirah Khairuddin.
i-Invest is a self-service online platform that is accessible within the ‘members’ section of i-Akaun, where eligible members can directly invest a portion of their Account 1 savings into the 389 unit trust funds offered by the EPF-approved FMIs.
The sales charges of investments made via i-Invest are as low as 0.5%, with many FMIs zerorising the sales charge.
EPF members will have the flexibility and freedom to choose their preferred unit trust funds, and are able to access, analyse and compare information on i-Invest’s InfoHub.
Speaking after the official launch yesterday, EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said the response to i-Invest has been encouraging.
“We have no targets set (in terms of number of users or transaction value) for i-Invest, as this is a service we provide to our members to facilitate investment activities from the EPF account into FMIs at a low cost.
“However, I would like to remind all EPF members to ensure that you know what you are doing, learn how to make the right investments and understand what the investment risk is, ” he said.
The EPF Members Investment Scheme (MIS) was first introduced in 1996, providing an option for members to diversify their retirement portfolio and enhance retirement savings.
The current asset under management of the MIS stands at an estimated RM53bil, due to the redemption and release control.
On a monthly basis, it is estimated that RM700mil to RM800mil is transferred to FMIs.
Meanwhile, on expectations for the upcoming Budget 2020, Tunku Alizakri hopes for a budget that will focus on making the lives of Malaysians better, possibly in the areas of employment, social security and social spending.
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