三公大吃小:SC reminds public to be wary of self-proclaimed investment gurus
KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is reminding the public to be wary of self-proclaimed investment gurus who offer questionable advice or use social media to spread false or misleading information.
Its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin said there has been increasing use of "celebrities or influencers” to promote retail investment offerings on social media, including the use of unlicensed celebrity endorsements to provide investment advice or using celebrities to talk about or promote successful investments.
"To address this growing problem, the SC has increased collaborative efforts with various stakeholders to do more in fighting scams. Our multi-pronged approach includes alerting the public via our investor alert list, blocking websites, and geo-blocking offending social media pages,” he said in his opening remarks at the InvestSmart Fest 2022 here today.
"We also take enforcement actions as needed. Last year, we added 275 names to our investor alert list, blocked 143 websites and geo-restricted 35 social media pages. This year, we have added 194 names to our alert list, and 143 websites and 26 Facebook pages were blocked," he said.
Awang Adek said Malaysia has seen a significant rise in online scams over the last two years, with almost 72,000 scams and RM5.2 billion in losses, of which investment scams accounted for close to 12,000 of the overall number of scams.
"As of September this year, the SC received more than 1,800 complaints and enquiries related to investment scams and unlicensed activities.
"Scammers are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to target investors, who range from the vulnerable at one end to those who invest primarily by the desire -- or hope -- to gain lots of money irrespective of the risks involved. Some would call this the ‘gambling instinct’," he said.
Awang Adek said the public need to cultivate a culture of enthusiastic, yet informed investor participation, one where the public is educated on the numerous investment options available, as well as their rights and responsibilities as investors, so they can invest confidently, make well-informed decisions and exercise vigilance against potential risks.
"Armed with the right knowledge, investors are better positioned to safeguard their interests, and they can also become the SC’s ‘eyes and ears’ in detecting potential fraud or misconduct.
"This is why the SC has made it a priority to conduct year-long investor education and outreach programmes. This is done through InvestSmart," he said.
InvestSmart encompasses a wide range of initiatives that use novel approaches to educate the public. Mobile applications, social media and other digital platforms supplement traditional investor outreach channels such as exhibitions, seminars and roadshows.
On the suspension of Inter-Pacific Asset Management Sdn Bhd (IPAM) executive director and fund manager Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan's capital markets services representative (CMSR) license, Awang Adek said the SC had taken precautions and conducted a thorough investigation prior to making the decision.