KUALA LUMPUR (May 22): Canada-based Manulife Investment Management (Manulife IM) believes that Malaysia will be able to weather the inflationary storm well, with the country’s economy expected to perform better than many other emerging markets.

Head of wealth and asset management for Asia, Michael Dommermuth, said Malaysia’s current macroeconomic situation was well supported by a reasonable current account and foreign exchange reserve position, among others.

He believes that the country’s current gross domestic product (GDP) forecast of between 5.3% and 6.1% is fairly in line with projections from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“We see storm clouds gathering on the global horizon, geopolitical risks, stagflation, the US Federal Reserve indicating it is raising rates, and many other ongoing issues. But if you look at Malaysia’s position and all that, they’re actually very well located.

“At the same time, while the rest of the world is facing inflationary pressures, inflation in Malaysia is quite under control and looking at core price indicators, we feel pretty good about that,” he said. -he declares. Bernama in an interview.

Dommermuth said Malaysia was also starting to see foreign investors returning to invest in the domestic stock market after four years of a sharp exit trend.

This is why, he said, Malaysia continues to be a pillar of growth for Manulife IM in the ASEAN region.

In 2021, Malaysia’s retail sales grew by 58% year-on-year, of which 86% was contributed by foreign funds, while assets under management (AUM) (advisor and bank) from retail unit trusts grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% from 2014 to 2021) compared to industry growth of 11% over the same period.

As one of the top five retail asset managers in Malaysia by assets under management (AUM), Manulife IM is keen to accelerate its captive distribution to drive sustained retail growth.

Therefore, more resources will be housed in-country.

“In all other markets, banks make up a large portion of mutual fund distribution. In Malaysia, unit investment trust fund agents are king.

“They make up almost two-thirds of assets under management and banks make up less than a third,” he said.

In all of Asia, Malaysia has the largest network of mutual fund advisors, with over 2,400 strong advisors, making it the most mature market for Manulife IM.

As a result, Manulife IM plans to double its advisor workforce by 2025.

“Our growth strategy positions Malaysia as Southeast Asia’s hub for information technology and operations, supporting other regional markets,” he said, adding that 60 % of Manulife IM customers in Asia are now digitally connected.

Digital adoption in Malaysia is much higher than other markets at 70%, he said.