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It is increasingly evident that unit trusts have become a buzz word among many Malaysian investors. To recall, unit trusts were relatively unheard of ten years ago in Malaysia. The recent years saw a growing number of investors participating in the unit trust industry.

Considering the encouraging developments in 1996, the local unit trust industry looks poised for further growth in a foreseeable future. What can you expect in 1997 then? Overall, the unit trusts prospects remain excellent, according to many experts.

Many of them are optimistic that more innovative products will be launched in 1997 amid the growing competition among market players.

Very clearly, here are excellent opportunities for the local unit trust industry to develop. Currently, there are still more people who prefer to save their money in the banks rather than investing in unit trusts. Thus, the growing trend of the industry will likely attract more savers.

The government's decision to allow the using of Employees Provident Fund (which has a total fund size of over RM90 billion) monies to invest in approved unit trusts in 1996 was welcomed by most market players as another big step towards taking the unit trust industry to greater heights.

A total of 25 fund managers was picked to invest on behalf of the investors under the new EPF scheme. Some of them are OSK-UOB Unit Trust Management, SBB Unit Trust Management and Aseam bankers Malaysia.

The approval for the eligible 120,000 EPF contributors to invest part of their savings in unit trust will contribute a huge amount of funds the market (estimated RM1 billion).

In order to boost the knowledge of unit trusts investment to attract new investors, the local unit trusts managers are likely to organize more public seminars to continue to educate and inform the investors about the importance of investing in unit trusts which is the fastest growing service industry in Malaysia.

Education will be of enormous importance as investors need to be properly informed about investing in unit trusts. Ratings of unit trusts performances such as the Normandy Fund Table that is published regularly in the media is another added tool to make wise investments decisions.