Malaysia has championed and led the way in the development of Islamic Finance ecosystems over the last four decades, successfully establishing itself as one of the most advanced countries in the global Islamic Finance scene today, writes Noorsuriani Muhamed, Vice President, Product & Market Development, Islamic Capital Market, Bursa Malaysia.
As the nation’s stock exchange and a leading ASEAN marketplace, Bursa Malaysia Berhad (“Bursa Malaysia” or “the Exchange”) has consistently complemented this development with pioneering initiatives in Islamic or Shariah-compliant investment products and services, including introducing the world’s first Shariah-compliant commodity trading platform, the Bursa Suq Al-Sila’, and Bursa Malaysia-i, the world’s first end-to-end Shariah-compliant investing platform.
Diverse Shariah-compliant products including Islamic Stocks, Islamic Indices, Islamic ETFs and Islamic REITs continue to augment Malaysia’s Islamic Capital Market, which stands at RM2.0 trillion as at August 2018, representing 60.5% of the country’s total capital market size.
Against this backdrop and spurred along by Bursa Malaysia’s continuous effort to promote financial literacy among Malaysians, the Shariah Investing Fair was introduced in 2017 to create awareness and increase comprehension of Shariah-compliant investing, and encourage retail participation in the Islamic Capital Market, particularly Shariah-compliant stock market investment.
The Shariah Investing Fair 2017 was held as a carnival-like event aimed at making investing, in particular Shariah-compliant investing, more accessible to the public. The inaugural event was immensely successful, drawing 10,000 visitors to the international exhibition centre located at the fringes of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic PETRONAS Twin Towers. The event was designed to cater to everyday Malaysians, who are culturally communal and remain heavily peer and family-influenced.
The Shariah Investing Fair created an atmosphere which attracted visits by entire families. The two-day event featured investment talks and a wide range of exhibitors ranging from financial institutions to brokers and popular government agencies which brought their services directly to the public. The event also included activities for children intended to pique their interest in financial literacy, and encourage an early start to financial planning and wealth management.
Leveraging on its strong network of influencers, Bursa Malaysia invited popular industry speakers to speak at the Shariah Investing Fair. Co-promoting the event to their considerable follower base, these influential speakers drew crowds of potential investors who would otherwise be required to attend paid-for seminars and workshops on the same topics.
Following the successful 2017 debut of the Shariah Investing Fair, the second edition was held in July 2018. Themed “Jom Labur BM-i”, a colloquial call to invite Malaysians to invest in the capital market through Bursa Malaysia-i, the 2018 edition successfully attracted over 11,000 visitors. As with its predecessor, the two-day Shariah Investing Fair offered a wide range of financial educational activities and seminars catered to the public.
This initiative has attracted the support of the Malaysian government, with the newly minted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng officiating the 2018 event, and echoing calls for similar programmes, amplifying the visibility of the Shariah Investing Fair and strengthening Bursa Malaysia’s efforts towards increased financial literacy and growing retail investor participation.
To this end, the 2018 and 2017 events saw a combined registration of almost 3,000 Central Depository System (CDS) accounts, spurred in part by the account opening fee waiver offered during the event.