In Malaysia, we used to “NO CHOICE” and must go through the mutual fund agent to invest in unit trust or mutual funds. Moving forward is that still necessary? Let's look at the following reasons why I think mutual fund agents/consultants may no longer necessary(physically) in the future .
(1) You Can Now Purchase New Funds Online
We used to required an “agent” or “consultant” to do that for us or we need to go to the bank ourselves to fill-up the initial investment application form. All these steps are no longer needed with the Public Mutual Online. You can basically do everything EXCEPT “standing instruction” and “selling the unit trust units” in public mutual online.
How to Register in Public Mutual Online?
There are few methods but the easiest method is to go through PbeBank.Com. You basically just go to “Investment” → “Public Mutual Online Registration” to request the pin number. Once you have requested the pin number, they will mail you the pin number and you need to activate your pin number within the 30 days in Public Mutual Online website.
(2) You Can also Perform Standing Instruction Investment Online
Many people including many Public Mutual agents do not aware of this service actually can be done online. Yes, it is not done through Public Mutual Online but Public E-Banking instead. These are the steps you need to do when you're in pbebank.com:
- Go to “Investment->Public Mutual->Investment (Registered)” to register all your Public Mutual fund's accounts.
- Go to “E-Standing Instruction->E-SI Creation” to request the PAC.
- Select “Public Mutual Investment – Registered” as Transaction Type
- Follow the rest of the screen instructions (e.g. First Effective Date, Frequency and Occurrences) to set the standing instructions (e.g Invest RM100 monthly to Public Growth Fund)
Discussion: Do you think mutual fund agent is needed?
So now back to the question, do we still need the agent physically since we can go through all these online? You may disagree with me but these are the 2 KEY reasons I need the unit trust agent. Now all these can be done through online, I'm wondering what's the purpose of those agents anymore?
You may think their consultations, investment advice or recommendations are still valuable. This probably still valuable to some of the people but most of the agents that I've met do not provide really very useful information to me mainly due to the fact that those information I've already known or I can know it from somewhere else (e.g. the prices trend, new launch funds and etc.)
I think moving forward down the road, mutual fund agents are no longer necessary but they should continue to think of a new ways (e.g. expand their role?) to satisfy their customers. I may wrong. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?