AIF Report Confirms Financial Services Industry Must ‘Innovate or Wither’


A new study launched today by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) reveals that the overwhelming majority (90%) of leaders in the Malaysian financial services industry (FSI) agree that innovation is important for the sustainability of their organisations, while around half (48%) said their companies were quick to innovate to gain first-mover advantage.

The study showed that process and product/service innovations were the top two areas of focus for the FSI in Malaysia.

Malaysia is ranked 37 on a list of 127 countries in the latest Global Innovation Index rankings reported in 2017. However, much remains to be done to achieve the long-term objective of becoming one of the top 20 nations in terms of economic development, social advancement and innovation.

AIF’s study, entitled Fostering Innovation: A Perspective from the Financial Services Industry & FinTech in Malaysia, aims to provide better clarity on the current state of play regarding innovation in the FSI; how ready are financial institutions (FIs) to innovate; how fintech companies fit into the equation and what the future looks like for the FSI for the next three years.

Over 50 senior managers including C-suite executives and 247 junior to middle-level employees in the Malaysian FSI took part in the online survey. The study also includes interviews and focus group discussions with FSI leaders and fintech companies.

The report suggests that in the coming three years, the majority of Malaysian FIs will invest in digitalising their businesses, with a focus on mobile devices as the key channel for consumers.

It also reveals that opportunities for FIs and fintech start-ups to collaborate remain largely untapped, with strong interest shown by both parties to work together to create game-changing innovation across financial services.

Reiterating the report’s conclusions, Amran Hassan, Maybank’s Head of Innovation said,

“The escalating battle in driving Innovation is shifting from acquiring technology to acquiring and up skilling talent. We sometimes forget that behind all the shiny new technology are the people who make it happen.”

Dr Raymond Madden, CEO of the Asian Institute of Finance added, “As Malaysian FIs continue to launch an ever-increasing number of technology-based solutions, this research provides a balanced perspective on the impact of innovation within the financial services industry as a whole.”

To purchase a copy of the report, visit


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