12 Types of Investment Available in Malaysia and The People Who Have Them

types of investment available in malaysia

If you were to check out personal finance and investment commentaries – from blogs, forums, websites – you’ll see that different people have their preferred investment vehicles (types). It’s very interesting, because after a while you start seeing a pattern: people who prefer investment X tend to be Y. It’s fascinating.

Look at this from a behavioural point of view. Many personal finance and investment experts like to say ‘select an investment that works for you’, but what does that mean exactly? How do you choose from many different types of investment available in Malaysia?

Well, one way to kind of eliminate investments that ‘does not work for you’ is by reading on below. What I’ve done is basically compile different types of investment available in Malaysia and give you the defining traits of each type of investor. There might be people who don’t fit all the traits, but I think in general it’s pretty accurate. (If it’s not, please let me know in the comments!)

Related: What to invest with RM1000

Pexels / Pixabay

#1 Property

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Likes to look at properties and might even do this unconsciously. Also looks at finishing, distance to amenities (schools, petrol stations, banks, grocery shops etc) and linkages to public transport and major highways.
  • Usually look for indicators like rental demand or appreciation rate of a location before making purchase.
  • Follows news from major developers. Knows who are the bad developers so they can avoid buying their properties (to avoid buying properties that never get completed).
  • Tend to be better at spatial intelligence. Know the direction to KL no matter where they are. Higher chance of knowing shortcuts that even Waze don’t know.
  • If they don’t have capital (money) to buy property and/or don’t want to deal with tenants, they might opt for REITs.

Related: 5 Things I Learned About REITs in Malaysia (From a Bursa Malaysia-Sponsored Workshop)

#2 Unit trust/Mutual funds/ETFs

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Prefer someone else/another company to handle their money on their behalf. May or may not know how the money is being invested, but ultimately don’t care as long as the average profit is alright.
  • Prefers long-term, stable and safer approach to investing. Cares about their cost of retirement.
  • Might have unit trust investment as part of their insurance too (in Malaysia).
  • Unless they have in-depth knowledge, they might have picked the particular unit trust/mutual fund investment based on a recommendation from agents or friends. For example, ‘I got this one because my agent said at my age I should concentrate on growth fund’.
  • If they do have in-depth knowledge, they will pick based on type and/or location because they believe it will be profitable (might be true, might not be). For example, ‘I want to invest in developing countries in Asia Pacific’ or ‘I want to invest in precious metals’ or ‘I want to invest in real estate in Asia’.
  • Might not know how much their fund manager charge them as management fee (it usually ranges from 1% up to 5%; the lower the better).

Related: FAQ: Everything you need to know about PRS Youth Scheme, getting the RM500 incentive, and how to start investing in Private Retirement Scheme in Malaysia

#3 Stocks (Blue Chip)

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Finds high-level company drama interesting. Follows major announcements of big companies via Business newspapers and/or websites and/or social media.
  • Probably works as a white collar worker. Maybe in an MNC (multinational corporation).
  • Are fans of the companies before they decide to buy their stocks.
  • Enjoys free tickets/events/gift baskets/other goodies that the companies give them.
e-zara / Pixabay

#4 Equity Crowdfunding (ECF)

Note: edited section.

(Someone who gives money to new businesses, usually early-phase startups).

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Generally divided into 3 categories: retail investor (individual), angel investor (individual) and businesses. Considered a high-risk investment, kind of all-or-nothing (may lose all investment money).
  • Retail investors are usually people who have heard/may be using the services of the new startup, and believes in it’s potential to grow. Because emotions are in the way, this hunch may or may not be correct.
  • Angel investors have a lot of money. A lot. Losing money from startups that failed to take off would annoy them, but wouldn’t hurt them financially.
  • Might be philanthropic as they only invest in businesses that they believe in and reflects their values.
  • Probably goes to a lot of networking events – ECF investors usually hear of these startups via word-of-mouth recommendation.
  • Want the startup they support to become unicorns.

#5 Fixed Deposits (FDs)

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Likes surety, prefers small profit over no profit. Compares rates from banks and takes advantage of special offers.
  • May use it as a way to lock their savings somewhere they can’t touch it.
  • Attractive to non-Bumis (as this is the best safe alternative to ASB).
Stevebidmead / Pixabay

#6 Gold/Silver

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • A bit old school. Prefers the ‘tried and tested’ route. Knows that gold (and to a lesser extent, silver) can be used to hedge against fiat.
  • Might hold gold coins (or bars if they’re ballin’). If they’re paranoid about keeping it at home (risk of being stolen), they’ll pay for safekeeping services.
  • If not, they’ll buy ‘e-gold’ issued by banks or private companies. The margin is not the best but at least it’s safe.
  • They might also be attracted to e-gold issued by private companies. But they might not know that private companies are a lot riskier than banks – they have a risk of losing their investment if the company folded/is a scam.
  • Some consider their gold jewellery as an ‘investment they can wear’. It’s not wrong, technically speaking.

Related: How to Buy Gold in Malaysia, as an Investment

#7 Art/Antiques/Jewellery

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Tend to have a lot of money. Their art/antiques/jewellery investment is their ‘fun’ investment.
  • Surrounds themselves and their home with art. Tend to appreciate good interior decorating.
  • Familiar with names like Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
  • Probably a history buff. Might take a liking to a particular time period for a particular nation (for example, Ming Dynasty). Collects items from this era for fun.
  • If not a history buff, then they are probably the other extreme – modern/contemporary art buff.
Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

#8 Fiat Currencies

(Fiat = Government-issued money, like RM or USD)

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Follows world news. Religiously. Cares about new laws, policies and regulations, especially regarding trade and finance. Knows and understands the Brexit and Venezuela situation.
  • May do forex trading. May dabble/took a course in technical analysis.
  • Probably tried a few trading platforms before sticking with one they liked.
  • Might have learnt the importance of stop loss the hard way (or heard horror stories about it).
  • Aside fiat, might also dabble in commodities.

#9 Hedge funds

(Strategy-focused high-risk, high-reward investments)

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Idolises George Soros. If not idolise, then greatly respect him.
  • Very rich. Probably a HNW or UHNW individual (high net worth or ultra high net worth). Has a fund manager. Maybe too busy for DIY investing.
  • Believes in and have no problem with borrowing money to make money (leveraging).
  • Hedge funds are not that common in Malaysia, so these people probably mingle more with the international folk and gets advise/tips from them.

#10 Cryptocurrencies

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Maybe likes the internet a bit too much.
  • Fascinated by the technology behind it (blockchain). Sometimes compares some cryptocurrencies to penny stocks for its ‘unlimited potential’.
  • Takes (or should take) digital security seriously.
  • Knows its a high-risk investment. (By right) They should be able to take the hit from price volatility/swings.

Related: FAQ: Everything You Should Know about Bitcoin in Malaysia, as a Newbie & FAQ: How to Invest in Cryptocurrencies in Malaysia (Aside from Bitcoin)

#11 Skim-Cepat-Kaya/ Get Rich Quick Schemes

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Thinks they found a ‘hidden gem’ investment that is both (1) high profit and (2) easy.
  • When they were approached by friends/family/advertisement, they were attracted by these words: ‘Guaranteed Profit!!’, ‘Passive Income’, ‘Easy Money’, ‘Fast Paying’, ‘Start with $xx, earn $xxxxx’.
  • If the investment gives profit, they tend to give positive word of mouth about it to friends and families and encourage them to join too. Why not? Can earn referral profit for them while ‘helping’ others grow rich. It’s win-win.
  • More prevalent in tight-knit communities, especially if it was promoted by community leaders (teachers and ustads).
  • If they get in the ‘programme’ fast, they might make money. If they joined an oversaturated one, they will probably lose their money.

Related: How to spot investment that are actually investment scams

EDIT: Adding 1 more investment type!

#12 P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platforms

P2P lending platform is a relatively new way to invest money. When a person wants to borrow money, where do they go? Banks, right? Or loan sharks. Well, P2P platforms connects people like you and me who are willing to lend money to other people, in exchange for an agreed interest rate. It can be risky, but measures are put in place to ensure investors’ interests are protected. In Malaysia, only these six platforms are recognised by Securities Commission.

Overseas, an individual can borrow money from other via P2P lending platforms. In Malaysia though, only companies can borrow the money.

Defining traits of people who invest in this investment vehicle:

  • Probably obsessed with fintech, OR heard about it via word of mouth. Not many people know about this investment option.
  • Knows what is supply chain financing and invoice financing.
  • Not a particularly sexy type of investment. Kinda boring. There’s no real interaction beyond ‘hey this company needs to borrow money and they can pay back x% by [date]. You in or not?’
  • Favoured by people who like short-term investments, as little as a few months. They might invest in P2P lending as alternative to (low-interest) Fixed Deposit.


Many, if not most investors don’t fall into just one category – they might diversify their investments by making a few types of investments. The smartest among them will have more safe investments than riskier investments because they know that long-term investing is best. In this list, I would consider Unit Trust, Mutual Funds, Fixed Deposits, Blue Chip Stocks as safer types of investments.

When choosing an investment, it’s always good to see if it ‘fits your personality’, so to speak. Some investing vehicles work for some, but not the rest – we’re all comfortable with different things. For me, I like passive investing. Check out my passive income guide (and what I personally invest in).

Liked this article? Do you identify with any of the characteristics? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Further reading: 6 Things to Know When You’re Investing for the First Time



  1. Hi Suraya,

    I really love your blog. Finding out that there’s a Malaysian finance blogger who understands Malaysian finance stuff really helps. Anyway, I have a question related to this particular blog post.

    Could you explain to me like a child how does the unit trust investments works. Such as ASB, or any bank’s investment programs like Maybank or CIMB. Because honestly, I have no idea how it works.


    1. Hi Bahiyah,

      Thanks for the blog love <3

      Unit trust, simplified (note: not an expert, might be wrong/too simplistic): Unit trust/mutual funds is like buying a lot of small parts in various financial assets. They can be stocks, property, commodities, etc. The person/s who select those are called fund managers, usually employed by the financial institutions (banks, etc).

      I can recommend going through fundsupermart to see the types of unit trusts. The name usually indicate where investors' money go to.

      There are a lot of unit trust choices. In fundsupermart only, they offer more than 200 unit trusts from like 20 financial institutions. I agree, it's hard to pick one! An easy way is to pick based on your age. young - pick growth fund. Retired/almost retired - pick conservative fund. Something in between - pick balanced fund.

      When I wanted to open my PRS (Private Retirement Scheme), what worked for me was process of elimination. Have a look at my PRS article here: http://ringgitohringgit.com/faq-prs-youth-scheme-malaysia/

  2. An informative article on other types of investment apart from the conventional ones. Unit trust and gold initially for me. Now starting to look at cryptocurrency and maybe later on buying my own stocks.

    1. Thanks Idayu! Check out Asukabu app for stocks – great for low-commitment learning. Use ‘SGOLD10’ to get RM5 in gold from HelloGold app.

    2. Great article. Skim cepat kaya?? haha.
      I will always recommend for starter to grab this Peter Lynch’s book: Learn To Earn. Also read a few selected (if not all) Buffett’s letter to shareholders. The more you understand the fundamental the more sensible investor and less speculator you’ll become. But …you may most likely end up to favour stocks over the everything else. haha. Happy investing.

    1. Good question. The only place I’ve seen it offered is in conservative-type unit trust.

      Does anyone know if people can buy bonds directly?

  3. How about you contributing to your parents’ EPF account? Does it counted as en investment?
    Since will guarantee at least 6~6.5% return every year, it is very good.

    1. Hi James,
      That’s a noble thought. Personally, I’d encourage you to make investments under your own name though. We’ve all heard money-related family rifts and arguments. It can bring out the worst in people, unfortunately

  4. If I’m not mistaken, bonds are fairly limited especially to retailers traders /investor. Besides institutions, if you are high net worth individuals– then probably investment bank or the other institutions would offer you some. This is because bonds sometimeshas minimum amount you are required to hold in order to play they–for example face value of a bond going to be RM 1000 and then you are required to hold minimum total RM1m worth of bonds (so 1000 unit)

  5. Thanks for sharing. In particular to peer-to-peer lending even though its still relatively new in Malaysia undoubtedly it is a great choice as an alternative investment that requires only low investment capital and gives a steady stream of passive income and returns.

  6. Thanks, Suraya, for writing this article. Helps me a lot to find an appropriate sector for investment. We all know Investing money in Malaysia is always great opportunities for investors. However, most of the foreigner like me don’t know the policies, rules, and regulation for FDI investment in Malaysia. Can you please write more details on it?

    1. Hi Mazharul,

      Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately that’s outside my area of expertise. How about checking resources at investkl.gov.my?

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