The regulatory and supervisory framework of Malaysia has begun a new phase of its development as the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA) and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA) come into force today.
The FSA and IFSA is the culmination of efforts to modernise the laws that govern the conduct and supervision of financial institutions in Malaysia to ensure that these laws continue to be relevant and effective to maintain financial stability, support inclusive growth in the financial system and the economy, as well as to provide adequate protection for consumers.
The laws also provide Bank Negara Malaysia with the necessary regulatory and supervisory oversight powers to fulfil its broad mandate within a more complex and interconnected environment, given the regional and international nature of financial developments.
This includes an increased focus on preemptive measures to address issues of concern within financial institutions that may affect the interests of depositors and policyholders, and the effective and efficient functioning of financial intermediation.
It is important that Malaysia’s regulatory and supervisory system is adequately equipped to respond effectively to new and emerging risks so that confidence in the financial system is preserved and that the critical financial intermediation activities which are vital to the economy are not disrupted.
The FSA and IFSA amalgamate several separate laws to govern the financial sector under a single legislative framework for the conventional and Islamic financial sectors respectively, namely, the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA), Islamic Banking Act 1983, Insurance Act 1996 (IA), Takaful Act 1984, Payment Systems Act 2003 and Exchange Control Act 1953 which are repealed on the same date.
Greater clarity and transparency in the implementation and administration of the law. This includes clearly defined regulatory objectives and accountability of Bank Negara Malaysia in pursuing its principal object to safeguard financial stability, transparent triggers for the exercise of Bank Negara Malaysia’s powers and functions under the law, and transparent assessment criteria for authorizing institutions to carry on regulated financial business, and for shareholder suitability;
A clear focus on Shariah compliance and governance in the Islamic financial sector. In particular, the IFSA provides a comprehensive legal framework that is fully consistent with Shariah in all aspects of regulation and supervision, from licensing to the winding-up of an institution;
Provisions for differentiated regulatory requirements that reflect the nature of financial intermediation activities and their risks to the overall financial system;
Provisions to regulate financial holding companies and non-regulated entities to take account of systemic risks that can emerge from the interaction between regulated and unregulated institutions, activities and markets. The Minister of Finance may subject an institution that engages in financial intermediation activities to ongoing regulation and supervision by Bank Negara Malaysia if it poses or is likely to pose a risk to overall financial stability;
Strengthened business conduct and consumer protection requirements to promote consumer confidence in the use of financial services and products;
Strengthened provisions for effective and early enforcement and supervisory intervention
The new laws will place Malaysia’s financial sector, encompassing the banking system, the insurance/takaful sector, the financial markets and payment systems and other financial intermediaries, on a platform for advancing forward as a sound, responsible and progressive financial system.
This is especially important to enable the financial system to meet the new demands for financing associated with Malaysia’s economic transformation programme both during and beyond the next decade, the changing demographics of our population, and the increasing integration of the Malaysian economy with the region and the world.