Enhancing financial literacy

Not surprisingly, expectations will be high for this year’s MSD, says PNB president and group chief executive Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn.(pic)

MAKING sound financial decisions is never straightforward. It can be daunting and without proper guidance and expertise, could lead to disastrous outcomes.

This is why Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), one of the largest fund management companies in the country with assets under management exceeding RM300bil, has made it its mission to educate Malaysians in financial literacy for decades.

For 20 years, PNB has organised its annual Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM), an event that focuses on educating and enhancing the community’s understanding on the importance of investing and financial planning via interactive activities, as well as educational and entertainment programmes.

When the pandemic hit last year, PNB adapted its MSAM into a digital format, namely, the Minggu Saham Digital (MSD).

The event, which was a hit, returns for a second run this year.

Not surprisingly, expectations will be high for this year’s MSD, says PNB president and group chief executive Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn.

“The first MSD last year garnered 7.5 million unique reach via its official Facebook page, 2.2 million cumulated views on its official Facebook page and YouTube channel, while the website recorded 11.5 million impressions.

“This year, we intend to do better,” he tells StarBizWeek.

Ahmad Zulqarnain says the aim of the MSD will once again be about enhancing financial literacy.

“This will be the second year that we’re doing it digitally.

“The event itself is a seven-day livestream and there’s going to be a lot of educational, interactive entertainment, as well as engaging content with the aim of educating and empowering Malaysians about financial literacy.”

Ahmad Zulqarnain explains that the concept of financial literacy is something that requires “constant reinforcement”.

“It’s not a difficult topic to understand. We just need reminders to invest for the longer term.

“Covid has definitely highlighted the importance of having a nest egg, so it’s a constant reinforcement and reminder.”

The MSD will be broadcast live daily between 12.30pm and 10.30pm, from Nov 17 to 23, 2021 through Facebook and YouTube.

Through the MSD, Ahmad Zulqarnain says PNB will make tools, resources and education on subjects such as unit trust investment, risks and returns and financial planning.

He adds that the event will feature various performances, edutainment programmes and intriguing conversations in a series of webinars by top personalities, celebrities and industry experts.

Ahmad Zulqarnain says the MSD is targeted at “all age groups and all demographics”.

“Because we serve all segments of society, we want to reach out to as many people as possible.

“Of course, there will be programmes that will be suited for everyone, from children to the mass market, to professionals wanting much more sophisticated content.”

Ahmad Zulqarnain says the programmes will be tailor-made to suit the different target groups.

“For instance, for the children, we will be having a drawing competition and for the first time, we will be working with the creators of Upin and Ipin (a Malaysian animated television series) to deliver episodes relating to finance, financial planning and investments.”

The MSD will host a total of 70 edutainment programmes throughout the week with more than RM500,000 prizes to be won.

Those that wish to participate in the MSD can still do so by registering on www.minggusahamdigital.com.my.

Ahmad Zulqarnain says the success of both the MSAM and the virtual MSD is testament to the public’s trust in the PNB brand.

“Having it virtual last year was an eye opener as it was a huge success. I do believe as we move into a more endemic phase, we do need to connect with Malaysians through physical events as well.

“However, I don’t foresee us going back to the way that we used to do it, so there will likely be a hybrid approach to our future events.”

Ahmad Zulqarnain says PNB will also be investing significantly in new digital initiatives.

“We recently launched a new myASNB app with a fresher user interface and experience. For the first time, any Malaysian can open an account with us just through the app. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to interact with us and invest.

“Also, we’ve collaborated with a partner and introduced a micro investing app, called Raiz. It allows you to save at micro levels and we are giving people exposure to investments both locally and internationally.”

Additionally, Ahmad Zulqarnain says PNB is redesigning its branches to embrace paperless transactions.

“We have over 30 branches, but you can transact at over 2,700 branches through our partners,” he says.

Separately, Ahmad Zulqarnain says he is excited about PNB’s newly launched Wakaf ASNB service, which enables ASNB unit holders to continuously donate their unit trusts for the benefit of the community.

“This is the first time anyone has done it on this scale. We have now given our unit holders the ability to wakaf (endow) their units.

“So what happens after you wakaf or endow your units is that it is transferred from your units to a wakaf fund and that will remain there in perpetuity.”

PNB also officially launched its ASN Equity Global fund this week, which Ahmad Zulqarnain says is catered towards investors with a high risk appetite.

“This is our first fund that’s focused entirely on global equities. It is catered towards investors with a high risk tolerance, with up to 99% of the asset allocation being in global public equities.”

He adds that the fund will be managed by PNB’s team of fund managers in Kuala Lumpur and London.

“The fund will capitalise on opportunities in more than 50 major stock markets, so it’s truly a global fund. To date, more than RM700mil has been subscribed since we had a limited opening on Sept 1.”

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