Hong Leong Bank survey finds only 12% of Malaysians consider themselves wealthy

Hong Leong Bank regional wealth management managing director Hor Kwok Wai says that financial institutions need to provide robust resources and support, to empower and educate investors in making informed and effective investment choices.

A WEALTH perception survey conducted by Hong Leong Bank Berhad (HLB), with more than 1000 Malaysian respondents aged 18 to 77 years old, revealed that only 12% of Malaysians consider themselves wealthy.

Despite this, 79% of Malaysians professed that they do not have an official or documented financial plan, largely due to the assumption that they do not have sufficient funds to start a formal wealth management plan.

Out of the 327 respondents who indicated that they invest, 57% reported that they invest in stocks, closely followed by 56% who allocate funds to Amanah Saham Bumiputera or Amanah Saham Malaysia schemes, and 54% who engage in gold investments.

Additionally, 44% of respondents favoured fixed deposits as their primary investment approach.

The survey findings also underscore the significant trend of self-directed investing among Malaysians, with a striking 83% of those who invest opting to manage their investments autonomously, without seeking the input or guidance of a professional financial advisor.

Notably, when devising a financial plan, 49% of Malaysians seek financial advice from social media, while an equal percentage rely on input from family members.

Hong Leong Bank regional wealth management managing director Hor Kwok Wai suggests that the high percentage of self-directed investors indicates a growing public preference for hands-on involvement in financial planning and investment strategies.

As such, there is a need for financial institutions to provide robust resources and support to empower and educate investors in making informed and effective investment choices.

"As a financial institution, we have a duty to assist all customers in achieving financial sustainability and prosperity by providing reliable and responsible financial products and services,” says Hor.

“We recognise wealth management is a pivotal aspect of our customers' financial path, and believe that empowering investors with the necessary tools and knowledge is imperative in today's ever-evolving financial environment.

“Our unwavering commitment lies in furnishing extensive resources and expert guidance, tailored to assist investors in confidently navigating their financial journey, making informed investment decisions that resonate with their unique goals, risk tolerance and life stages."

The survey also uncovered the driving forces behind investors' choice of investment strategies.

For Malaysian investors, family and community play a pivotal role in their motivation for wealth accumulation.

Moreover, the survey revealed that 78% of Malaysians have insurance coverage, with over half of them considering insurance as highly important in ensuring continued support for their families in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

Comparatively, the survey also delved into the Singaporean perspective with over 500 Singaporean respondents.

Notably, 87% of Singaporean respondents who invest currently manage their investments autonomously, often leveraging digital platforms, and emphasising factors such as favourable returns, low charges and their familiarity with the investment product.

Similar to Malaysian respondents, their Singaporean counterparts exhibit a penchant for investing in stocks, high-interest savings accounts, fixed deposits and Singapore Savings Bonds.

Furthermore, insurance has a significant importance for Singaporeans as well, with 97% of respondents indicating they are insured.

Similarly, family provision is a prevalent motivating factor, with 57% viewing insurance as a means of safeguarding their families in unforeseen circumstances.

Hor also noted the importance of dispelling the myths surrounding wealth management by fostering financial literacy and awareness, ensuring that individuals are equipped with the knowledge and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of wealth management with confidence and prudence.

“Having a secured financial future through proper wealth management should be accessible to all individuals, as well as the opportunity to access the necessary tools, resources and knowledge to effectively manage their wealth and work towards a secure financial future for themselves and their families,” adds Hor.

“As wealth managers, our role is to educate and guide our customers in making informed choices, with the help of insights and tools to curate a comprehensive, personalised wealth management approach that ensures our customers’ wealth grows securely and strategically.

“Whether customers are looking for aggressive growth, steady income or a balance of both, HLB has investment offerings that cater to various risk appetites.”

Customers can embark on their investment journeys with ease, starting with as little as RM50 through self-managed investments via HLB Connect online.

Additionally, they can seek assistance from professional wealth managers to plan for their children’s education, retirement and legacy needs.

The bank has a wide range of solutions that can help customers explore untapped potential and achieve sustainable growth by creating a dynamic investment portfolio across Malaysia, Singapore and other regions.

In conjunction with Chinese New Year celebrations, HLB is offering special promotions for customers planning to kick-start their wealth management journey, including a chance to win prizes over RM30,000 when they invest through HLB Connect online from now until May 31.

To find out more about HLB’s wealth management solutions, click here

For more information, go to https://www.hlb.com.my/cny.

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