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Malaysia is an attractive destination for expats who settle here not only to take advantage of career opportunities but also to enjoy the diversity the country has to offer in terms of culture, people and religion and the fabulous opportunities for travel throughout the Far East and beyond.
You might want to consider consulting an expat financial planner in Malaysia if you are planning to relocate or have already moved here. An experienced, professional financial planner can help you navigate the sometimes complicated waters of managing your finances as an expat. The big problem for many people is how do you choose one?
Picking a financial planner is always going to be something that demands careful consideration and that is particularly true when you are living overseas. In order to help we have made a list of seven must-haves to help you work out whether a particular expat financial planner in Malaysia is right for you:
One essential in a financial planner, wherever you are in the world, is that the individual is not tied to any product provider but is able to compare a range of products from a variety of providers to assess which one is right for you. Any financial planner tied to just one company will only ever be able to recommend their products and that is never in the best interests of a client. If a financial planner is not independent, walk away.
A good financial adviser will always put the needs of the client first and that requires putting in the time to really get to know you. Your unique financial goals will require personalised solutions and the ability to provide them is only gained through full and frank discussion. If you feel rushed or like the adviser is not really listening, they are probably not the person for you. You will be sharing extremely personal and private information with your financial planner so it is also essential that you trust them.
Do not pick a financial planner in Malaysia that is not regulated.
Regulation exists to protect you. The financial services industry in Malaysia is regulated by the Labuan Financial Services Authority. Any financial planner operating in Malaysia should be licenced by them and anyone who isn’t should be given a wide berth. It’s not just the adviser you need to be worried about though, any investments you make should also be made through a reputable company which is regulated in the applicable jurisdiction. You work hard for the money you invest, it makes no sense to use unregulated advisers.
Financial planners and investment managers are two very different beasts. The two roles require entirely different skillsets and the individuals carrying out those roles will have separate, although sometimes overlapping, fields of expertise.
To be absolutely clear on the difference, a financial planner will help you to determine your financial goals and an action plan to achieving them. They will also assess your tolerance to risk. They will not choose individual investments and your money should not pass through their hands.
Your investments should be managed by a reputable wealth manager who will be responsible for deciding exactly how your assets are allocated to achieve the results you want within the parameters of risk you can tolerate. The best financial planners will work alongside reputable and authorised investment management companies.
Any individual who says they have the knowledge to carry out both of these roles is to be viewed with suspicion.
The financial world is smartening up its act in the wake of several scandals in recent years. You are advised to select a financial planner in Malaysia that is embracing the changes imposed by regulators rather than whingeing about them. Financial planners who follow accepted good industry practice with regarding to fact finding and scientific risk assessment to discover your tolerance to risk are the ones to go with.
A well-established company with a good track record is obviously a safer bet than a one-man band who has been operating for a couple of months. The former will have access to a wider range of products, have more resources to draw upon and be less likely to disappear overnight.
Financial planning is not a job which can be carried out and then forgotten about. Your goals will be constantly changing as your personal circumstances change. If you get a salary increase or a large bonus to invest, your situation will require a rethink. Similarly, any big life event – births, marriages, deaths, divorces – will have an impact on your financial plan. It is essential to have regular reviews of your situation and your financial planner should offer this as standard. If they are not interested in providing ongoing support, they are best avoided.
So, if you are looking for an expat financial planner in Malaysia the above seven points should all be on your wish list.
Here at Infinity, we work very hard to fit the bill on all counts. We are totally independent and have a wide network of product providers that offering an enormous range of financial solutions. We do not believe in carbon copy solutions, every case should be independently tailored to the individual. We set out the standard our clients can expect in the Infinity Client Charter (reproduced below and downloadable here).
Our track record speaks for itself. Established in 2004, we have offices in six countries with satisfied clients of over 80 nationalities living in over 90 countries. Wherever you go, we are there to accompany you offering continuity of service and of course those regular reviews to ensure that your finances are on track.
If you are looking for an expat financial planner in Malaysia and would like to find out more about how we work and how we can help you get your finances in shape, please get in touch.
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