Tuesday, 29 May 2012
The story appears on The Star 28th May 2012.
The online version is linked here:
But as long as you're here why not just read it here, below.
MAAKL Mutual to grow fund size
Company to leverage on agency network and other strategies
PETALING JAYA: Despite global economic uncertainties and volatilities in the market, MAAKL Mutual Bhd aims to expand its business and grow its total fund size to RM2.2bil by year-end.
As at April, its total fund size stood at RM1.9bil with 26 funds under its management. Besides increasing its product range, the company would leverage on its agency distribution channel, which is based on the adviser-centric model, and other strategies to grow its assets under management and fortify its foothold in the fund management business.
The various strategies embarked by the company had also lifted its ranking in the industry to the 8th spot from 16 previously. One of these strategies relate to its adviser-centric sales force different from other players which also have a bank as a distribution channel for funds.
Commenting on its adviser-centric business model, its CEO Wong Boon Choy told StarBiz that to be truly adviser-centric, it had terminated previous arrangements with banks to distribute its products, making MAAKL the only unit trust company in Malaysia to distribute products solely through unit trust advisers.
“We reward our unit trust advisers based on their total client funds. This clearly differentiates us from the industry norm of paying commission based mainly on transactions. By focusing on asset-based commission, we can make sure that the interests of the clients, the unit trust adviser and the company are all aligned, making it a win-win-win situation,” he added.
He said the company currently had almost 1,400 unit trust advisers, of which 73 were MGC (MAAKL Gems Club) members those who manage at least RM5mil total client funds and more.
This elite group of MGC members were currently managing a total of RM1bil client funds, he said, adding that it aimed to grow 500 MGC members at least in the next five years.
The multi-manager platform strategy adopted by MAAKL also allowed investors better control over their diversified investments with different fund managers and to benefit from the expertise and experience of the fund managers, Wong noted.
For example, the MAAKL Flexi Series, currently with one syariah-compliant and three conventional funds, has CIMB-Principal Asset Management, Hwang Investment Management and Manulife Asset Management as the fund managers.
He said the Flexi Series was the first of its kind in the unit trust industry and designed to be completely flexible in terms of asset allocation between equity, bond and money market instruments, noting that investors no longer needed to worry about switching funds to adjust to the ups and downs of the equity market.
In addition to the three fund managers of the Flexi Series, the company under its multi-manager platform also has Meridian Asset Management, Pioneer Investments and BNP Paribas Asset Management as the fund managers of its MAAKL Family of Funds.
The company had also developed MAAKL Home Office or MHO, an award-winning unit trust management and monitoring tool, for the use of its unit trust advisers and investors.
MHO's innovativeness earned it the Windows in Financial Services Developer Award in New York and made MAAKL, a relatively young company in 2008, the first company in Asia Pacific to win the prestigious award.
For its next phase of growth, Wong said the company would be opening more branches and agency offices to reach out to new unit trust advisers and investors.
It recently opened branches in Seremban and Klang, bringing the total number of branches and service centres to 10. Plans are under way to open new branches in Malacca and Sungai Petani.
On the unit trust industry's prospects this year, he said it was still on the growth mode and he did not expect it to contract despite the market corrections due to strong demand in the non-equity sectors.
Based on the company's internal research, Wong estimated RM347bil of untapped monies sitting in the financial system last year comprising individual fixed deposits, Islamic deposits and EPF monies eligible for unit trust investment.
“We reckon that the increasing competitive environment due to compressed sales margin, higher operating costs and stricter regulatory compliance will inevitably lead to consolidation among some players,” he added.