PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has the opportunity to bring in huge investments into the country by developing the Islamic or syariah-compliant family office.

According to Ausscar financial group managing director Sean Lee, Malaysia already has an established Islamic financial system.

By offering the Islamic or syariah-compliant family office concept, it will be able to attract high net worth individuals and families, particularly those from the Middle East, to set up family offices in the country.

“We can leverage the syariah or Islamic capital market that we have. (High net worth individuals or families who prefer the Islamic finance concept) are able to set up their family office here and invest into Asia,” he told SunBiz.

He cited Mordor Intelligence, which expects the global family offices industry to grow from US$124.28 billion (RM582.13 billion) in 2023 to US$209.91 billion billion) by 2028.

Recently, the government through the Ministry of Finance and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) announced that it is looking at policies to facilitate as well as attract the setting up of family offices in the country, which it expects to attract a larger pool of investors to support financing for small and medium enterprises and the new economy.

“The SC is currently engaging with the industry and looking into various policy recommendations aimed at facilitating and attracting the setting up of family offices in Malaysia. Further details will be provided in due course,” said the commission in an official statement to SunBiz.

Lee said how the country positions itself in the family office industry is important as these high net worth individuals and families will bring in huge investment opportunities to the country.

He pointed to Hong Kong and Singapore, saying they have wooed and continue to attract family offices resulting in a significant inflow of investment.

Lee said Malaysia should study them to create a framework that will attract the setting up of family offices in the country and syariah-compliant family office can be its unique selling point.

Malaysia can position itself to be a global office hub through right planning and with the right framework, he added.

Lee said there is a significant amount of high net worth individuals in China, India and Taiwan which the country should target and woo.

In addition, he proposed that the government offer long-term visit pass or visa for foreigners who set up family offices in the country, similar to the Malaysia My Second Home programme.

With a special visa, he said, they will be able to stay in Malaysia, invest further in the country by buying property and continuously contribute to the economy.

“We want them stay here ... to do business and build a relationship with them. The family offices that are set up here are good for relationship building,” said Lee.