KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysias financial advisory industry will see a big leap in growth next year, with the number of licensed financial advisers expected to double from the less than 400 at present.

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) President Alfred Sek said conservatively, he projected the number to surpass 1,000 within three years, and 10,000 within the decade.

The local financial advisory industry is now entering a new era thanks to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) which has expanded the list of qualifications to become a financial adviser under the Financial Services Act (FSA) and financial planner (under the Capital Markets and Services Act), he added.

Sek told the media this after launching the Financial Advisers Handbook at the Third Annual AFA Conference on Friday.

The event was officiated by BNMs Assistant Governor, Jessica Chew Cheng Lian.

In her keynote address at the opening she said BNM had worked in close consultation with the AFA as well as the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC) and Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM), to review and agree on the expanded list of minimum qualifications for a financial advisers representative.

The review identified four core areas of knowledge, namely, financial planning, risk management, insurance planning and investment planning.

These are considered essential to equip a financial advisers representative in providing proper advice on insurance or takaful solutions, she added.

A financial adviser is an independent party that provides financial advisory services to customers based on their financial needs.

Alfred said the term financial adviser is a restricted word under section 139 of the FSA.

He said no one shall in name, description or title uses such a word, unless he or she is approved under the (FSA) Act to carry on a financial advisory business.

Referring to the new handbook, he added that anyone who contravenes the Act shall on conviction, be liable to imprisonment of up to eight years or fined not exceeding RM25mil, or both.

The AFA was formed in Oct 2012 with the hope of representing all Licensed Financial Advisers and Corporate Unit Trust Advisers (CUTA) firms. - Bernama