Making the best out of the pandemic especially when financial planning is needed now more than ever.

By Bernie Yeo

For many of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most significant, and perhaps the most traumatic, experience of our lives. Affecting virtually every element of life, it has undoubtedly changed the way we live and work.

From Zooming clients to creating multiple work Whatsapp groups, the past few months have seen the rapid adoption of technology, with digital platforms becoming the only way for many of us to work and be educated while staying in touch with colleagues.

However, physical limitations do not get in the way of continuous learning, and more than ever, the show, as they say, must go on. If anything, 2020 has taught us all to adapt, and to improvise.

Adapt and improvise they did, as the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) had demonstrated during its Annual Signature Financial Planning Symposium 2020, which was held recently.

What was significant - and unique - about this year's set-up was the fact that the symposium was conducted in two modes: on ground and via livestream.

"The theme for this year is 'Live Your Today, Plan Your Tomorrow'. This theme is aligned with the World Financial Planning Day, which is also a part of World Investor Week taking place from 5th to 11th October 2020 and is sponsored by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)," FPAM President Ismitz Matthew De Alwis (pic) shared with the audience during his welcome address.

"This symposium aims to make the best out of the current pandemic, and how we manage and plan finances for our clients and ourselves."

Nurturing the Financial Planning Landscape in Malaysia

FPAM celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and suffice to say, the association has come a long way since it was established in 1999.

From the success of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC)-recognised CFP certification programme which has produced 17 pioneering members of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) to the launch of the Smart Finance website, FPAM's success stories are aplenty.

"To commemorate this milestone, FPAM has launched the FPAM Financial Literacy Year 2020, or FPAMFLY 2020 in short. Despite the ongoing pandemic, FPAMFLY 2020 has succeeded in accomplishing many activities online, most significantly the Financial Clinic for Malaysians, which is a strategic collaboration with BFM," De Alwis revealed.

According to the S&P Global, only 33% of adults worldwide are financially literate, with women and young people falling in the vulnerable category. As such, World Financial Planning Day aims to reverse this trend with the offering of resources to consumers who are ready to take control of their financial future.

"With that, it further strengthens our confidence that these initiatives will help fellow Malaysians in  their personal finances especially during challenging times," De Alwis said.

The FPAM President further congratulated all fellow CFP Professionals and IFP holders for their perseverance and professionalism in helping their clients manage their wealth and life goals.

"I believe today's agenda will further enhance your knowledge in managing clients and their expectations. We would like to encourage more people to take up the certification programme so they can eventually become licensed financial planners. 

"This is because the need for financial planners is higher than ever in the market, and hence, the highest ethical standards are required to maintain the confidence and the financial health of your clients," he added.

This year's line-up saw FPAM focusing on matter that impact important aspects of a person's life, such as the effects of Covid-19 on the economy, strategic asset allocation, wealth management and many more.