Business Today | AmanahRaya: A 100-Year Trusted Icon Progressively Leading Malaysia’s Estate Planning and Wealth Management

October 24, 2023

Since its inception, AmanahRaya Berhad (AmanahRaya) has journeyed phases of growth, achievements and evolutions throughout its 100 years in existence and till today, continues its role in pioneering excellence in Estate Planning and Wealth Management by maintaining its position as the only institution which provides end-to-end comprehensive solutions in Malaysia.

A trustee is an institution with legal authority to manage the trust property and assets on behalf of the donor to benefit the beneficiary. Trustees must have a distinct integrity, time and responsibility to be committed in expressing meticulous care in administering assets so that these are justly distributed to the right beneficiaries, and this, in Malaysia, is governed by law.

For over a century, AmanahRaya Berhad (AmanahRaya) has proven to have expressed clear commitment, dedication and expertise which earned the institution an acknowledgement for undertaking a paradigm shift to uphold the dignity of the nation recently.

To date, a total of 1.64 million Malaysians’ estates, trusts and wills worth RM22 billion have been administered and under the care of AmanahRaya.

AmanahRaya’s Group Managing Director Ahmad Feizal Sulaiman Khan (pic) spent some time with BusinessToday to discuss the core values the institution presents moving forward in its mission to ‘Building Legacies, Securing Futures’.

“In Malaysia, AmanahRaya is the only institution with the power to issue Letter of Administration and empowered to act as an Administrator on behalf of the beneficiaries. The role of the Administrator is crucial in Estate Administration, as most of the beneficiaries do not possess sound knowledge about procedural and technical aspects of Estate Administration. As the Administrator, AmanahRaya professionally conducts investigation to identify the deceased’s assets, compiles and manages the said assets, settles the deceased’s liabilities then distributes the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

“Today, throughout its century-long existence, AmanahRaya maintains its position as the only institution which provides end-to-end comprehensive Estate Planning solutions such as Will Writing, Trust Administration and Estate Administration. In continuing its role in pioneering excellence in Estate Planning and Wealth Management, the institution has various Wealth Management solutions which include Corporate Trustees, Asset Management and Real Estate Management, offered via our subsidiaries, namely, AmanahRaya Trustees Berhad, AmanahRaya Investment Management Sdn Bhd and AmanahRaya-Kenedix REIT Manager Sdn. Bhd, respectively, said Feizal.


A 100-Year Dedicated History

AmanahRaya has been at the forefront of Estate Planning and Wealth Management since its establishment as the Department of Public Trustees and Estate Administrator Officers in 1921 which today has exclusive jurisdiction to administer estate summarily, hence, enabling a speedy and hassle-free estate administration process.

It was first located in the Supreme Court Building at Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad presently known as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The government-owned company under the Minister of Finance Malaysia, was corporatised in 1995 and governed by the Public Trust Corporation Act 1995 (PTCA 1995).

Under PTCA 1995, AmanahRaya is empowered to ease the administration of estate through exercising its power to grant the Letter of Administration, provision of court representation and ensuring protection of minors and disabled.

AmanahRaya has successfully processed over 312,000 estate and 15,000 trust administration cases valued at over RM11.2 billion and RM7.7 billion, respectively. Presently, AmanahRaya is administering 15,500 estate administration cases valued at approximately RM1.8 billion and 27,000 trust files valued at approximately RM1.3 billion. Since 1921 up to 31 August 2023 the total Wills registered with AmanahRaya is 1.1 million.

Today, AmanahRaya continues to adapt to the evolving Estate Planning and Wealth Management landscape to meet the diverse needs of its clients through its fully integrated network of 20 branches nationwide and hybrid services which include, among others, Will, Trust and Estate Administration online services as well as Appointment Booking System which are digitally available.

“The main objectives today are to continue to represent the government in providing Estate Planning and Wealth Management services to the public in an excellent manner under the mandate as a Government company.

“I am committed to further bring AmanahRaya to the next level by embracing digital transformation and leverage on the potential of social media while upskilling our team to serve all Malaysians,” said Feizal.

The vast majority of Malaysians have been seen to shun away from matters related to Estate Planning, simply put, our plans on how to distribute the assets and settle the liabilities we leave behind upon death. Many seem not to think about the necessary act as it’s taboo for most and not for the reason of lack of means.

“Our immediate targets are to garner at least 3 to 5 million Malaysians, which make up about 10 to 20 per centum of the population, who may have thought about Estate Planning to further strengthen our position as the government representative to provide this service. The number dealt with now is about 1.5 million or 5 per centum.


The Critical Need for Estate Planning

In a nutshell, the role AmanahRaya plays is to simplify the Estate Administration process and expedite the distribution of assets to the rightful beneficiaries, ensure fair distribution of inheritance and guarantees financial security to these parties in order to protect their interests of particularly minors and special needs family members.

“Our sole proposition is to safeguard, guarantee and preserve the interest of the beneficiaries in a professional manner and ensure the assets is distributed to the intended individual or even corporate entity in accordance with their specific purpose or charitable intent in their absence. And, as many are akin to, avoid family disputes, fraud and misuse of authority regarding the assets.

As time passes, Feizal observed that the Trustee Act 1949 (Revised 1978) and the PTCA 1995 has stood for close to three decades and some revisions need to be made “but we don’t see these factors being an obstacle towards our objectives.”

“We face little competition as we are far ahead of other service providers and we have been mandated with powers similar to that of the courts in respect of Estate Planning and Wealth Management, especially in terms wealth distribution to bona-fide beneficiaries.

The strategy now is to promote and hone in on our strengths in the Estate Administration whilst enhancing our other products as we do not only serve the business of death.

“Yes, we also deal with the living by offering flexible trust products where it can be an instrument for asset  distribution, for example, and it can be corporate trust such as a private retirement scheme or pension trust.

The fees for our Estate Administration services are based on a tiered fee structure which is on average about 2 per centum on the quantum of the assets involved and this too is in the process of being revised hopefully in the near future.

So going back to AmanahRaya’s role as the government representative for Estate Planning and Wealth Management services, pricing should be accessible to the public. ‘Profitability is the aim. But if we go on a low price, and if you get the volume, you are looking at a profit. A low price, does not mean we lose money.”


Digital Transformation Journey

Feizal said the digital journey is on all fronts.

First, we are enhancing our cybersecurity. Then we are enhancing our website to ensure its more user friendly and intelligent to generate interest or potential leads. The next stage would be to develop an App, to enable clients to access our products and services as well as monitor the performance of their investments through these applications.


Thrusting the legacy ahead

“Certainly, I want our market share to improve and continue as the dominant Estate Planning and Wealth Management services provider. With our 100 years of experience, we aim to position AmanahRaya as the Knowledge Centre for Estate Planning.

Asked on what would be the fundamental premise of his vision, he said AmanahRaya is to be known to be a ‘Beacon of Stability’ based on steadfast trust. Our mindset is towards digitalisation of business processes, inculcation of high-performance culture, strengthening integrity and corporate governance, amplifying corporate image and branding as well as enhancement of customer experiences.

Source: Business Today