Kuala Lumpur-based Affin Hwang Asset Management and Hong Leong Asset Management are the latest firms to launch online investment platforms in Malaysia, in a move to provide investors easier access to mutual funds.
Affin Hwang AM this month rolled out its mobile application “Allocate Plus”, which enables users to subscribe and redeem the firm’s unit trust funds and private retirement scheme funds.
The platform includes retail funds that invest in both onshore and offshore markets, according to Chong Lee Choo, director of innovation lab at Affin Hwang AM.
The offshore funds include the Affin Hwang Global Balanced Fund, which is a fund-of-funds that was launched in partnership with Blackrock, and the Affin Hwang World Series Japan Growth Fund, which is externally managed by Nikko Asset Management, she added.
“In the future, we certainly plan to expand our offerings and also bring our wholesale funds into the app,” Chong said.
“Through the app, we hope to bring convenience to investors and expand our digital channels to reach a wider segment, especially to the newer generation of investors.”
Meanwhile, Hong Leong AM also launched a platform that enables investors to have access to the firm’s investment products.
The Hong Leong “iSmart Invest” app features 18 of the firm’s conventional and Islamic funds, which include equity, fixed income, mixed-asset and money market strategies, according to the firm’s website.
It also includes funds that invest in offshore markets, such as the Hong Leong Asia Pacific Equity Fund and the Hong Leong Hong Kong Equity Optimizer Fund, which are both locally managed by the firm.
The firm believes that the “new normal” called for new digital strategies and approaches even for the investment industry, which led to the development of iSmart Invest.
“The pandemic has resulted in rapid digital migration amongst consumers, businesses and investors to fulfil their needs and adapt not only to a new way of working, doing business or shopping, but also a new way of investing,” Hoo See Kheng, Hong Leong AM’s CEO, said in a statement.
“We believe that the introduction of the new HL iSmart Invest is very timely and will cater to an increasingly tech-savvy consumer generation which embodies a digital-and-mobile-first mindset and lifestyle,” he added.
Other managers in Malaysia also saw the need to adapt to the new environment, with a number of them launching online apps for investors.
Manulife Investment Management, for example, brought its “iFunds” online investment platform to Malaysian investors in October last year. Similarly, RHB Asset Management rolled out an online investment platform for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members to invest in the firm’s unit trusts.