Print       Share

Financial Stability

Money Services Business (MSB)

The remittance and money changing industry in Malaysia has grown significantly in the last decade.  Traditionally, remittance service in Malaysia was provided only by the banking institutions.  With the growing importance and significance of remittance flows, in particular remittances abroad by foreign workers in the country and the objectives to increase access to formal remittance channels, the Bank has liberalized the policy to allow non-bank players to provide remittance services.  The number of non-bank remittance service providers had increased to 39 as at end 2010 from 3 as at end 2005, hence increasing the access points for remittance services. Consequently, total outward remittance through the formal channels had grown significantly by 119.7% to RM13.4 billion in 2010 (2005:RM6.1 billion). A more competitive environment in the remittance industry has also contributed towards enhancing services to consumers in terms of lower cost, faster speed and more extensive channels for remittance transactions.

The money-changing industry has evolved over time. Over the years, the money-changing industry has developed gradually as reflected in the increased total turnover of exchange transactions. As at end August 2011, the total turnover of the industry stood at RM17.7 billion, an increase of 49% from 2005. Presently, there are over 800 licensees operating at more than 1,000 premises.

The remittance industry is regulated under the Exchange Control Act 1953 and the Payment Systems Act 2003. Specific legislation to regulate the money-changing industry, that is the Money-Changing Act 1998, was enacted in March 1998. Both industries are regulated by BNM. In addition to licensed money-changers which provide retail money changing services, Bank Negara Malaysia also regulates currency wholesalers. The main objective of regulation is to promote the protection of consumers though reliable, transparent and professional conduct in the provision of remittance and money-changing services, and preventing the industry from being used as a conduit for money laundering and terrorist financing.

In 2009, Bank Negara Malaysia initiated a review of the legal and regulatory framework for the money changing, remittance services and wholesale currency business industry in Malaysia, with the objective of modernizing the industry landscape, and strengthening safeguards to protect the integrity of the industry.  The review culminated in the passing of the Money Services Business Act 2011 (MSB) in July 2011 which provides for the licensing, regulation and supervision of money changing, remittances and wholesale currency business under a single Act. Collectively, these businesses are described as money services business in the new landscape.

Key Features of New Money Services Business Landscape

  • The MSB Act 2011 provides a single, uniform and dedicated regulatory framework for licensees carrying on money services business, comprising any or all of the following ;

    • Money Changing Business;
    • Remittance Business, and;
    • Wholesale Currency Business

  • Greater business flexibilities and opportunities including the ability to carry on multiple business activities within a single entity for qualified entities, thus promoting greater synergies between these activities and economies of scale;

  • Differentiated regulatory requirements according to the nature, scale and complevity of an entity’s business;

  • Strengthened safeguards to promote the professional and sound management of the industry; and,

  • Wide range of enforcement actions to ensure compliance with the new Act.