Euromoney, February 2017
One can make an argument that the only bright spot in Malaysian finance, commerce and politics today is Islamic finance. It is the only area where Malaysia leads the world. The Securities Commission intends to keep it that way and in January launched a five-year blueprint to cement its status.
How? Malaysia already leads the world in nearly all Islamic finance metrics: 54% of global sukuk outstanding; 314 Islamic investment funds (more than anywhere else) worth RM100.6 billion ($22.7 billion) at the end of 2015; and an Islamic capital market that has tripled in size since 2005, accounting for 60.1% of the total Malaysian capital market.
If there is a gap, it is in Islamic fund and wealth management and this is the Securities Commission’s latest thrust. Although Malaysia leads in the number of funds, Saudi Arabia still leads in terms of overall invested assets, and the Gulf states have the natural advantage of a disproportionate number of exceptionally wealthy people. The UAE, for example, with one third of Malaysia’s population, has 59,000 millionaires compared with 31,000 in Malaysia, according to Credit Suisse.