Malaysia’s Millionaires
Priceless financial perspectives. Inspiring values.
Forget Bezos and Bill Gates for a moment. 1 When it comes to billionaires, Asia Pacific boasts the most number according to the New Straits Times, at 827. 3 And 14 of them are Malaysia’s very own—Robert Kuok of Shangri-la, Ananda Krishnan of Astro and Anthony Tan of Grab to name a few.1,2,3 This week, we learn the finer points of personal wealth management from some of the smartest, shrewdest money-makers in the world.
Source From:
It’s like being a fisherman
Fifty of the richest Malaysians hold a total net worth of US$87 billion, more than four times the GDP of Iceland. 2,4 Despite their enormous wealth, most of them emerged from rags to riches or built empires from scratch and are therefore extremely careful about where they put their money. For Malaysia’s self-made millionaires, every sen matters.

What also makes them different from other investors is their uncompromising perspective on wealth generation.

Citing the achievement of his first Shangri-La hotel on the crossroads of the world in Singapore, Robert Kuok, the 96th richest on the Forbes billionaire list, revealed in his recently-published memoir, ‘It’s like being a fisherman… You must park your hotel where those schools of fish tend to swim.

You shouldn’t be fishing in an area of the ocean where there is no current and therefore no fish around.’ 1,5,6 One can imagine that Mr. Kuok’s expectations are no less demanding when it comes to parking his personal wealth. It has to be at exactly the right place. Investment experts call it the sweet spot.

In the long run, stocks perform better than all other investments including bonds. Historically, since the mid-1920s, stocks have brought home the greatest return. 7 But they are not by default the ’sweetest spot’. Other investments such as intermediate-term bonds and real estate have been proven to provide a much more consistent stream of returns with less fluctuations. 8 Investors look out for currents, but not ones that are so strong and sudden that they scare all the fish away.
Source From:
Preserving peace of mind
Many of our millionaires would tell us: A life of good fortune does not guarantee happiness, nor does it stop one from constantly looking over the shoulder, fearing ill-coming health to catch up with age.

Their drive had always been about attaining a better quality of life, and that is what they seek to preserve most.

Long before Forbes 12th richest Malaysian Tan Sri Syed Mokthar Al-Bukhary built his business empires, his family lost its entire livestock business to a viral mouth and foot outbreak — an indelible lesson in entrepreneurship. 2,9,10 For billionaires like Tan Sri, protecting their fortune is as crucial as growing and managing it. This is why wealth preservation and health protection are the first things on their minds when it comes to financial planning.

The best-serving insurance products are those that are purposefully tailored around one’s livelihood. Apart from the usual life assurance and retirement schemes, they give the most attention to our most important possessions — health and home — for one to fully enjoy the good life he or she has built; for peace of mind.

Creating legacies & making an impact
High-net-worth clients around the world are increasingly looking for creative asset classes that impact and involve the community.11,12

They are going beyond mutual funds to touch lives and empower initiatives through philanthropy, arts, culture and sports. They call it impact investing. The Rise Fund in the U.S., for example, aims to balance competitive financial returns with positive societal outcomes. Its board of founders includes billionaire entrepreneurs, rock stars and royalty.13

Here in Malaysia, our very own client and millionaire Jimmy Choo is doing his bit for shoe designers on a global scale. 14 Mr. Choo, who made his first shoe for his mother at the age of 11 and later served Lady Diana with many others, is investing in the true art of shoe-making. 15

Source From:
He confides, ‘My shoes are not special because they are elegant, feminine and beautiful, but because I do everything from drawing to crafting. Nowadays many people can design and draw, but they cannot make shoes.’ 16 Since 2015, he has been travelling the globe to change that. Apart from conducting master classes and talking to young people from Africa to Korea, Mr. Choo also started a shoe-making institute in his home country to train young talents seeking proper design education. 14,15,16 The legacy he is creating now will inspire generations of local designers to come.

Impact investing is not new in Malaysia. Our wealthiest have, since the 1900s, been patron contributors to local commerce, community and charity organisations. Ask your Relationship Manager on how you can give your wealth a sense of purpose by making a difference for the local community that you cherish.

Empires that last generations
Saving for future generations has always been a part of the Asian family culture. Family and child trust funds help grow personal wealth across different investments with the aim of reducing risks, including shares from a range of international companies.

But as safe and secure as trust funds are, they only go so far in preserving generational wealth. Ultimately it is the wealth of knowledge, not riches, that encourages the success of their children and their children’s children. Sapura Holding’s Tan Sri Shamsuddin Abdul Kadir, the son of a driver who worked hard to put him through an English school, was constantly reminded by his father to never forget the importance of education. 17
The legendary Mr. Kuok talks about family empires likewise, ‘I can only give my children a message, not money. If they follow it, we can go another three or four generations.’ 18

The ‘message’ is the imperishable spirit of entrepreneurship.

Grab’s Anthony Tan is one great example. Growing up in the family empire of Tan Chong Motor, Anthony was inspired by his great-grandfather’s bold brand of entrepreneurship. 19 Much like the taxi-driver founder of Tan Chong Motor, the youngest Malaysian millionaire almost single-handedly conquered the Asian market with his ride-hailing mobile app. 2,19

The bottom line
Greater control of assets. 20 Sweet spots. Diversified risks through creative class assets. Peace of mind through the protection of livelihood. Preservation of family wealth through education. And never forgetting life’s indispensable possessions — health and home. These are the secrets to solid wealth management, learned through the wisdom and life values of Malaysia’s very own millionaires and billionaires.

To practise the finer points of investing, work closely with your RHB Relationship Manager to design wealth solutions around your family and financial aspirations, as well as to manage them effectively. If you are new to wealth management, call us to arrange a consultation or walk in at any of our Premier branches for a proper introduction.
1. ‘The Billionaires 2018’,
2. ‘Malaysia’s 50 Richest. 2018 Ranking’,
3. ‘Robert Kuok remains Malaysia’s wealthiest: Forbes’,
4. ‘List of Countries by GDP (PPP)—List by World Bank 2017’,
5. ‘Malaysia Billionaires—#1 Robert Kuok’,
6. ‘Malaysia’s Richest 2018: Legendary Tyconn Robert Kuok On Trials And Tribulations in Shangri-La’,
7. ‘Which investments have the highest returns?’,
8. ‘The Sweet Spot in Bonds’,
9.‘Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary (Early life)’,
10. ‘Cover Story: Syed Mokhtar back in the limelight’,
11. ‘I’m an adviser to the world’s richest billionaires — here are 5 surprising insights about their spending’ by John Matthews, Head of Private Wealth Management and Ultra High Net Worth at UBS,
12. ‘New value creators gain momentum. Billionaires insights 2017’,
13. ‘The Rise Fund’,
14. ‘Jimmy Choo Net Worth. $50 Million’,
16. ‘Jimmy Choo says Korea must eye global market’,
17. ‘Shamsuddin: A driver’s son who realises his vision’,
18. ‘Billionaire Kuok Says His Empire Can Last “Generations”‘,
19. ‘Malaysia’s Anthony Tan leads GrabTaxi In Regional App Race’,
20. ‘High-Net-Worth Client Tips For Financial Advisors’ by Justin Kuepper,

Invest with RHB Today!

This publication has been prepared by RHB Bank Berhad and is solely for your information only. It may not be copied, published, circulated, reproduced or distributed in whole or part to any person without the prior written consent of RHB Bank Berhad. In preparing this article, RHB Bank Berhad has relied upon and assumed the accuracy and completeness of all information available from public references and articles or which was otherwise reviewed by RHB Bank Berhad. Accordingly, whilst we have taken all reasonable care to ensure that the information contained in this article is not untrue or misleading at the time of publication, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness or fairness of such opinions and make no representation or warranty (whether expressed or implied) and accept no responsibility or liability for its accuracy or completeness. You should not act on the information contained in this article without first independently verifying its contents. 

Any opinion, historical account, personal profile, estimate or data contained in this article is based on information available as of the date of this article and are subject to change without notice. It does not constitute any advice, offer or solicitation by RHB Bank Berhad. This document and its contents are not intended to constitute an offer for sale and/or invitation to subscribe for or purchase or otherwise acquire any of the instruments referred to herein.

© Copyright. RHB Bank Berhad (Company No. 6171-M) 2018. All rights reserved. Issued by RHB Bank Berhad (Company No. 6171-M).