Here is a question I received from Liew:

Do you sell unit trust? If got, any proposal for a student?

How to buy unit trust funds?

There are several channels to invest in unit trust funds. Below are the available options in Malaysia:

1. Unit trust agents: Unit trust agents are salespersons who had passed the required exam and registered with FMUTM to deal with unit trust marketing. It is recommended to invest via an agent because they provide personalized service and advice. They are the expert in this field because it is the only product they are dealing with. A good unit trust consultant will access your needs, construct a suitable investment portfolio, constantly monitor your portfolio performance and help you to execute the transactions. The downside is that they are tied to certain company only. Therefore, the choices of funds may be limited.
2. Financial Planning Firms: Unlike a unit trust agent, these firms are not tied to certain unit trust management company. They have the CUTA and CMSL license that allow them to distribute several different funds provided by different companies. The financial planners are well qualified individuals who can access your needs in a comprehensive way. Example: Lion Wealth Advisors Sdn. Bhd.
3. Banks: Bank is one of the unit trust funds distribution channels. They have a team of sales representatives to market the investment products to their existing clientele as well as walk-in prospects. Some banks provide higher rebate on your investment and you may get better deals from there. Most of their sales representatives are salary-based, and also being rewarded a certain percentage of the sales they bring in.
4. Online: Recently, there are a few companies and trading platforms being set up online. This provides great convenience for investors to access their portfolio. You can directly invest in their funds on the internet. If you would like to actively invest in unit trust and doesn’t need a personalized agent service, investing online is certainly a viable option. Example: iFast and Philip Capital. Some financial planning firms also use these platforms to manage their clients’ portfolio.

Three important consideration that determine your investment portfolio

To construct an investment portfolio, it very much depends on the investment objective, investment horizon and the investor’s risk appetite. These are the situations and conditions a student may consider before constructing an investment portfolio.

Investment objective:
1. Unknown? Because students are learners and you may not know what you want. You just want to grow your wealth.
2. To settle your study loan?
3. To save and invest for your first car down payment or house down payment?

Investment Horizon:
The duration of investment may differ depends on your objective. For example, if you want to save for your car down payment, you should apply a short term investment portfolio which will be more conservative. You may need the money in 6-30 months time. Then you should avoid putting large portion of your investment in equity-based funds. If you are saving for retirement, which is still 30-40 years away, you can afford to take higher risk asset allocation.

Risk Profile:
Female tends to be more risk averse than male in general. Young people are more willing to take higher risk because they don’t have much to lose and are willing to take riskier chances.

My advice for a student

If you want me to point out which specific funds you should invest in, frankly speaking, I can’t and I won’t do that. Without knowing and understanding all the facts about you (your investment objectives, investment horizon and risk profile), there is no way I can give you a fair recommendation. I am also not the best position to recommend certain funds because I don’t study every single fund in the market. I don’t follow extensively their past performance, the fund managers’ investment style, all their stock holdings etc.

So, here is my sincere advice for a student who wants to start investing in unit trust:
1. Start reading books, blogs, and search online resources about unit trust investment. You can try Invest Heat, which is a brand new blog about investing in unit trust.

2. Talk to several agents from different companies to learn about unit trust and their best products. You can also access their competitiveness. Choose the agent who “clicks” with you.

3. Since you are a student, you have a lot of time. Just take your time to learn about smart investing and this knowledge will give you an upper hand in growing your money 30-60 years down the road.

What is your investment advice for a student?

Enough of me preaching about the fundamental of investing, what is your advice for a student who wants to invest in unit trust? Tell us in the comment section below.


Personal finance author and trainer

    10 replies to "Unit Trust Investment Advice for Students"

    • Ralph

      Thanks for the advice on acquiring a mutual fund. Taking a look at how an investment firm has done in terms of their mutual funds may be a good indicator if investing in one of their funds is a solid option. Good post.

    • karen

      wat fund shd i switch to ? I have china select fund now. tq.

    • Wong

      Hi, in my opinion, student has pocket money from parents. Hence, he can always start with a balanced fund, which come with free insurance (min RM5500 via Public Mutual Fund). Then, he can having monthly saving of min. RM100 until his retirement age. This is call cost averaging, at the same time, he will develop a consistent saving habit. When he started working, he can always add 5-10% of his income into the saving. This way, he is covered with basic insurance and started his investment at very young age. Resistance towards volatile market movement and inflation is high as the time frame is long.

    • fusemoney

      good info..

    • Chaiwey

      I have some interest to invest in order to make money rather than only savings in Fixed Deposit. How do I plan my savings? Government ASM, ASW 2020, Government bond from BNM are better than private mutual fund company or insurance company?

      • KCLau

        @ Chaiwey,

        There are always pros or cons in every investment. Choose the one you are most comfortable with.

    • wong

      What do you think about Government ASM, ASW 2020, Government bond from BNM? compare to private mutual fund company?

    • Bao Wen

      How about the ? I am newbie for funds and I am start looking to trade funds online . Thank you for your nice website.

    • MalPF

      for new kids with zero or entry knowledge, generally I would say buy index fund, save consistently same amount every month for at least next 2-3 years, then take a look how much it worths 5-8 years later. Especially at times like this, its safely said laughing on the face of FD.

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