When it comes to investing, you can either do it yourself (DIY) or you can rely on a professional.
The DIY approach requires you to take the time to study each investment asset and search for a brokerage firm or platform that will allow you to build your own portfolio.
However, the DIY approach can be very time-consuming. It also comes with increased responsibilities and worries. On your own, you will be more sensitive to shifts in the market and you may feel pressured into buying or selling the wrong asset at the wrong time, which can lead to heavy investment losses.
Additionally, certain investment products may be out of your reach. You may also be required to put up more capital than you are comfortable with.
The second option, relying on a professional, offers a safer investment experience. For investing in Unit Trusts, this means engaging the services of a Unit Trust Consultant, or a professional fund manager at a Unit Trust Management Company (UTMC) or at a funds distributor, such as at an Institutional Unit Trust Adviser (IUTA) or Corporate Unit Trust Adviser (CUTA).
What Can A Consultant Do For You?
Generally, Unit Trust Consultants are there to assist investor/client in establishing his/her investment objectives and to propose Unit Trusts products that are suitable to the investor/client based on his/her risk appetite. Additionally, Consultants are expected to provide prompt, efficient and continuous service to their investors/clients.
In short, Consultants have the necessary skills, relevant experience and dedicated resources to help you with your Unit Trust investments. They can help guide you towards your financial goals by helping you choose the right funds that suit your needs.
In addition, they can introduce investors to Unit Trusts that invests in assets/options that would otherwise not be accessible to an average DIY investor, vastly increasing your investment opportunities.
If you feel any hesitation about placing your trust – and your money – in the hands of another person, you can rest assured that legitimate Consultants are bound by FIMM’s Code of Ethics.
A good Consultant should have the following characteristics: honesty and integrity, professionalism, acting in the best interest of investors, deal with investors in good faith, comply with all requirements, avoid any conflicts of interest, provide accurate, timely and adequate information, and maintain investor confidentiality.
All these are meant to ensure that the Consultants’ ultimate duty is to help you reach your financial goals in the best way possible. Similar requirements are also applicable to the Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) Consultants.
The Benefits Of Choosing A Consultant
First-time investors, or those who have a particular financial goal in mind, would especially benefit from the advice that a Consultant can provide. The Consultant’s job is to educate you and help guide you along your investment journey.
A Consultant can also deliver a more personal touch, especially for investors that are new to or less familiar with Unit Trusts and Private Retirement Scheme (PRS).
Investors can engage a Consultant via the UTMC, IUTA, CUTA or even search for one themselves on the internet or through social media.
However, it is important to keep in mind that all Unit Trust and PRS Consultants are required to be registered with FIMM prior to them being able to market and distribute Unit Trusts and PRS. And it is easy to find out if your Consultant is legitimate.
By visiting FIMM’s website, anyone can check if a Consultant is authorised by FIMM or not. All he/she has to do is search the Consultant’s name or registration number. Additionally, anyone can reach out to FIMM – just send an email to email@example.com to make enquiries or to firstname.lastname@example.org to lodge a complaint.
This allows you to have a safety net while you embark on your investment journey. It also assures you that all your interests are safeguarded.
Bring Confidence To investors
There are various channels to buy Unit Trusts, and investors who feel that they do not need advice may choose the DIY option without having to pay a sales charge or advisory fee.
One of the most common reasons for people not wanting to engage a Consultant has to do with the increasing amount of freely-available investment information over the internet.
Nonetheless, Consultants can provide a wealth of resources that investors doing DIY may lack. As investors become more aware of personal wealth management, continuous efforts in upskilling Consultants in advisory (goal-based investing) and client servicing (after-sales service) will add value and bring confidence to investors.
Regarding the issue of costs, in the form of consultant fees, it should be noted that all fees are clearly disclosed in the funds’ offering documents (i.e. prospectus), which is lodged with the Securities Commission Malaysia. Consultants cannot simply charge any fee that is not disclosed in the offering documents.
Furthermore, ongoing after-sales services from Consultants can also help investors achieve their financial goals by monitoring and keeping the investor informed of their progress, and reviewing the investment portfolio regularly and recommending changes where necessary.
The Final Word
Ultimately, the decision on how you wish to proceed with your investment is in your hands. Nonetheless, you must understand your investment objective and equip yourself with basic investment knowledge before you start investing.
Visit www.fimm.com.my for more information on Unit Trusts and Unit Trust Consultants.