Urgent need for more holistic approach to wealth management

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 7, 2018.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is an urgent need for more holistic planning solutions in Malaysia’s wealth management industry, said wealth management firm Harveston Financial Group executive director Phang Kar Yew.

According to Phang, the term wealth management in Malaysia is often perceived as investment advisory services.

However, wealth management is more than just investment, encompassing retirement planning, life and health insurance, education funding, tax planning, estate planning and succession planning.

“This misconception happens among most Malaysians because the majority of the wealth management practitioners in Malaysia — agents, consultants and private bankers — only focus on investment products. In fact, more than 90% of the practitioners are not offering a holistic approach to wealth management and not addressing the total needs of the clients,” said Phang at the 2018 Harveston Wealth Management Conference media briefing last Friday.

Harveston Financial Group chief executive officer Derick Tan said having a total wealth advisory solution ensures proper planning for clients to face their life beyond retirement, compared to only focusing on short-term wealth accumulation, which is what most of the practitioners in Malaysia offer.

He added that when clients only focus on investment products and returns, they will not have the lifestyle that they want due to insufficient resources. However, if they plan ahead, they will have more choices and enjoy their desired lifestyle in their silver years.

To help Malaysians understand comprehensive wealth management, its issues and developing opportunities, Harveston Financial Group will be holding the country’s first integrated holistic wealth management conference on June 9 at the Berjaya Times Square here.

“This is the first time in Malaysian history that an independent financial advisory firm is organising a conference that covers the entire spectrum of a person’s pre-retirement and post-retirement wealth management stages. We hope that this initiative will spark more productive sessions in the future,” said Tan.

The inaugural conference will cover topics like investment strategies, insurance, estate planning, business succession planning and healthcare. It will include presentations, case studies, and panel discussions designed to address some of the challenging questions Malaysians face in wealth management.

Established in 2009, Harveston Financial Group has 50 advisers, serving 5,000 clients comprising mass affluent individuals and business owners.