M’sian capital market robust amid global uncertainties

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian capital market remained robust and orderly amid weaker global financial markets and uncertain geopolitical conflicts, said Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) corporate finance and investments executive director Datuk Zain Azhari Mazlan.

He said the SC is confident it will continue to play a significant role in financing economic growth and mobilising savings for productive investments.

Zain Azhari said global financial markets registered weaker performance last year with the continued tightening of global financial conditions.

“Further intensification of geopolitical conflicts significantly increased overall uncertainties in 2022, and this, along with other factors, will shape the outlook of the global market going forward.

“The resilience of our economy was evidenced by full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 8.7%, which was underpinned by favourable domestic demand momentum, steady expansion in the external sector, and continued improvement in labour market conditions,” he said in a keynote address at the 2023 Morningstar Fund Awards Malaysia here today.

Zain Azhari said as the capital market evolves, with technological innovation and increasingly complex products, investors tend to benefit from better access, choice, and information in relation to investments.

“Concurrently, this also presents increased risks and new challenges, especially for investors who are less adept and at greater risk of exploitation.

“The SC is cognisant of responding to these changes in upholding our mandate for investor protection. As such, the SC’s regulatory approach, moving forward, will place greater emphasis on the identification and assessment of vulnerable investors,” he said.

On the global outlook for 2023, Zain Azhari said this year is expected to be challenging and subject to various uncertainties, from the pace of the monetary policy normalisation to geopolitical fragmentation.

He said domestically, the Malaysian economy is expected to grow moderately, around 4.5%, based on projections by the Ministry of Finance.

He added the SC remained committed to progressive policymaking, aiming to be adaptive to changes and use novel means to achieve intended outcomes.

“The SC, together with private retirement schemes (PRS) providers, will be exploring how behavioural interventions can be leveraged to encourage greater retirement savings amongst Malaysians.

“This involves designing interventions to nudge Malaysians into making better decisions for retirement. For example, by automating regular PRS contributions and introducing spare-change saving features,” he said. – Bernama