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FAQ'S
FAQ'S

Who are you affiliated with & which companies do you present?

We're a management owned advisory practice free from financial institution's influence; hence we WON'T represent anybody to you but will represent your own interest if/when we need to deal with any financial institution on your behalf. So don't owe ANY favor to anybody except to you as our client & also to our support staff. We may recommend any financial products we think will be beneficial to you as applicable, irrespective of who the provider is. The reality is that no financial institution is best at everything & that's why we need the flexibility to recommend whatever products we think maybe most appropriate to your needs & circumstances, or NO products at all, as the case maybe. Many if not most clients actually only need good solid advice & dependable structures, not products.

How do you get paid?

You'll pay us a mutually agreed fee for the work we'll do for you. Should any of the product providers we recommend pays us a brokerage, we'll disclose that to you in writing.
Our goal is to provide you with genuinely independent high-quality advice rather than making money by selling products. Our practice is advisory fee based & not products sales based, because we believe clients want Practical solutions to their problems, not products they don't understand.


Who will be my advisor & what about their track records?

These will be presented together with their CV's at your first discovery meeting or when you call/email Law & Commerce in Kuala Lumpur for an appontment. Do it today for an early answer.

What's your typical fee structure? Bundled services, stand alone services?

First meeting usually lasts 40-90mn to get know & understand your values & expectations, free of ongoing obligations by both you & us.
That's because you'll have to decide of you feel comfortable in us working with you. Conversely, if we believe that we won't be able to reasonably meet your expectations &/or add real value to your existing financial affairs or assets protection needs & structures, we'll explain to you why.


Why should I set-up my own Self Directed Pension Fund (SDPF)?

We firmly believe that we all have 2 choices in most aspects of life; Decide for ourselves or let others decide for us. A specific area of interest of many clients is taking control of their retirement funding strategy, via Self-Directed own family's Pension Funds backed by ongoing specialist advice so as to make sure they reach their chosen lifestyle goals, rather than leaving that at the mercy of faceless fund managers charging big management fees yet often reacting after the event, as widely evidenced during the fairly recent Global Financial Crisis & most recent Swiss current scare.

Why Labuan?
  1. South-East Asia's Offshore Financial Center closet to Kuala Lumpur, where we operate from, which has good regulatory supervision but probably less complicated, hence more flexibility than say Singapore.
  2. Marketed as the Islamic/Shariah specialist Financial Center for the Asia Pacific Region with near proximity to have large & well diversified Malaysian sukuk market for example & associated investment research facilities.
  3. Labuan offer substantive benefits in terms of constribution levels & benefits payments flexibility once you're in retirement.
  4. Because Labuan is a minimal tax regime country, your SDPF earnings will likely attracts very little or no tax, particularly at retirement stage & that's a definite advantage on many countries where pension income is taxed at normal income tax rates, this substantially reducing your net disposable income when you need it most.
  5. Creditors protected in case of litigation, matrimonial/divorce, government nationalization etc, because in a different legal jurisdiction well outside the area of other countries courts power of enforcement capabilities.
Are SDPF's typical to Labuan?

No, they're not. If you lived in Australia you'll likely be familiar with Self-Managed-Super Fund (SMSF's). It's estimated that by 2020, there will be 850,000 SMSF's in Australia, holding in excess of AUD * 1 trillion in assets. Currently over 35% of that country's total pension fund assets are in SMSF's at an average AUD 1 million retirement balance per fund, as compared to only $197,000 for men & $105,000 for women in a traditional industry or ordinary employer sponsored super.
That's a big difference but why? Control, flexibility, certainty & typically much lower ongoing management fees! Plus the ability to incorporate beneficial/tax effective estate planning provisions that will make life much simpler in your older age & when you pass-on, for the benefit of your surviving family members. That's extremely important for most peoples!
*AUD = Australian Dollar
In the UK, Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP's) & Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS) enjoy the same degree of support in the business & professional sectors & for the same basic reaons.
Ireland's Small Self Administered Pensions (SSAP's) & US's 401K(P) are futher evidence what whenever they can eeducated people everywhere much prefer to control their own destiny.

I am a Moslem, why would a Self Directed Pension Fund (SDPF) be more appropriate for me?
  1. SDPF are the ultimate Shariah compliant pension funding vehicle no matter what's your specific belief & values; whether you are Ibadi, Sufi, Sunni, Shia or other school of thought & what's your particular understanding of Shariah law because your pension fund will be ultimately regulated by its own constituent documents including the generally accepted regulatory guidelines though, so that no matter where you decide to retire it should be recognized by the taxation authorities as a genuine retirement fund, which has important taxation implications.
  2. As per UK based Islamic pension law specialist Sheikh Faizal Ahmed Manjoo, "Muslim communities" follows the same longevity risks patterns as OECD countries but demographic changes are happening faster than in the West". (KL's IFN Forum 2014)
  3. Quoted a World Health Organization (WHO) report that in the next 35 years the number of older people in developing countries is projected to increase more than 250% as compared to only 71% in developed Western Countries.
  4. Yet said Sheikh Faizal:"the Musim world does NOT have a pensions funding culture or industry, let alone discussions about longevity risks"
  5. A SDPF provide those who are educated & comprehend the need, also have the means but may need help in formulating a personal pension funding strategy they'll understand & own, hence will be committed to do something about providing for their own future financial requirements & that of their family in a transparent manner.
I am not a Moslem, but subscribe to green/ethical investmentes. Why should I have a Self Directed Pension Fund?
  1. Because you can stipulate that either positive or negative investment screens be incorporated into your own documented investment strategy so that only those investment that qualify will be included, hence can be fully confident in the ethical integrity of your pension fund's underlying investment portfolio, & also
  2. Because no matter who you are, you'll either die before you retire or retire before you die & of those 2 options most people would prefer preparing for living a long & enjoyable retirement free from the hassles of wondering where their next income is going to come from, or if it will be there because you have NO control on where your pension assets are invested, or if you government or pension fund company won't run out of assets because of bad investment decisions or other & more important budgetary priorities you when you're perhap 75 or 85 years old & still got 20 to 30 years of retirement ahead of you because of recent medical advances...
What's your general view about pension funds assets?

A pension fund portfolio most often needs to be weighted towards growth assets to help fund an increasingly long retirement, which will likely last at least over quater of century or more. This raises the risk of greater volatility and losses. But shifting a portfolio to more conservative lower-returning investments simply raises longevity risks and the chances that a lifetime of pension savings won't actually be enough to fund your expected retirement needs over time.
The benefits of pension assets diversification are many but they have their limits when systematics shocks such as recessions and economic crises wash over markets. They threaten extreme volatility - an increasing risk for retirees in drawdown mode - and heavy capital losses that take years to (hopefully) recover from, hence the need to have sufficient retirement capital to start with, so as be able to ride through difficult economic times & NOT to have to sell any then depreciated assets at the wrong time.


What types of assets are usually owned by a SDPF?
  1. Typical real assets are property, shares, bonds, fixed interests & cash. For example many professionals, such as accountants, consulting engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc own the office or business premises where they operate from through their own SDPF, as they believe it’s much better paying rent into their own retirement fund, where they’ll benefit when stop working because of old age etc, than to some other landlord & would then get nothing except regular rental increases. Rental costs are usually a deductible business expense, hence results in a highly tax efficient & reliable pension funding strategy, for as long as you work you’ll need to pay rent & whoever will do after you retire.
  2. Other clients transfer direct shares/equities in well established, reputable companies or Exchange Traded Funds as core investments perhaps supplemented by selected specific areas managed funds with good track records & nil entry or ongoing advisor’s fees maybe appropriate depending on your specific needs & circumstances.
  3. Also Government & high grade corporate bond, fixed-deposits in more stable currencies & CMA’s, that’s Cash-Management Accounts, meaning that ‘ll benefit from “No lazy money” but gets interest payments on EVERY amount you’ve accumulated into your SDPF & NOT (only) the financial institution used to hold your cash/liquidities.
How will I know if I have sufficient assets to adequatedly fund for my long retirement, because I just don't know how long I'll live.

That’s why we’ve got a consulting actuary on board. Actuaries are highly qualified professionals who specialize On working-out longevity risks mitigation strategies. They are usually working with large financial institutions, such as life insurance companies, pension funds managers…& quality advisory firms such as ourselves.

I already have a government retirement fund, or with an ex-employer, life insurance company or funds management subsidiary of my bank. Can I transfer these to my new SDPF?
  1. Subject to legislative regulatory compliance in the country where your existing pension assets are located &/or the individual governing document regulating your pension fund, you may-be able to, or else may have to wait for a condition of release, such as your work/employment termination or your nominal retirement date to access your existing pension assets & then transfer these to your new SDPF.
  2. In some countries you may take early nominal retirement or benefit from an early release of your pension assets. However, be very mindful of possible adverse tax consequences in doing so. Hence the need to take reliable advice before actually implementing anything. Talk to us about it!
I already have other assets that will more than adequately provide for my retirement for as long as I live.

We believe it’s simply good business practice /risk management strategy to quarantine/separate your retirement funding assets from all your other assets such as trading (currently operating business, &/or the one/s you’ve just passed-on to your children) & also lifestyle assets, such as your residence/s including holiday home/s, cars, bikes, boats etc which could well be exposed over time to unexpected litigation nationalization & other undesirables facts of life you simply have no control over. Nobody in their right mind would for example relish at the prospect of having to appear in court at the ripe old age of 85 to defend your lifestyle financing assets from the encroachment of a frivolous claim by a former girl-friend or one of your ex-daughter in law…yet it happens much more often than you think! “An ounce of prevention is much better (& much more cost effective!) than a pound of cure” is a wise old British saying…

If you're the type of person who wants to control your own destiny, call Mala now to make an initial appointment, either by phone or in person at the KLCC office in Jln. Yap Kwan Seng.
Tel: +603 2161 3430 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

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