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Financial Services Act 2013 and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 Come Into Force

Ref No : 07/13/01 01 Jul 2013 Embargo : For immediate release    

The regulatory and supervisory framework of Malaysia enters a new stage of its development as the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA) and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA) come into force on 30 June 2013.

The FSA and IFSA is the culmination of efforts to modernise the laws that govern the conduct and supervision of financial institutions in Malaysia to ensure that these laws continue to be relevant and effective to maintain financial stability, support inclusive growth in the financial system and the economy, as well as to provide adequate protection for consumers.  The laws also provide Bank Negara Malaysia with the necessary regulatory and supervisory oversight powers to fulfil its broad mandate within a more complex and interconnected environment, given the regional and international nature of financial developments. This includes an increased focus on preemptive measures to address issues of concern within financial institutions that may affect the interests of depositors and policyholders, and the effective and efficient functioning of financial intermediation.  

It is important that Malaysia's regulatory and supervisory system is adequately equipped to respond effectively to new and emerging risks so that confidence in the financial system is preserved and that the critical financial intermediation activities which are vital to the economy are not disrupted. The FSA and IFSA amalgamate several separate laws to govern the financial sector under a single legislative framework for the conventional and Islamic financial sectors respectively, namely, the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA), Islamic Banking Act 1983, Insurance Act 1996 (IA), Takaful Act 1984, Payment Systems Act 2003 and Exchange Control Act 1953 which are repealed on the same date.

Key features of the new legislation include:

  • Greater clarity and transparency in the implementation and administration of the law. This includes clearly defined regulatory objectives and accountability of Bank Negara Malaysia in pursuing its principal object to safeguard financial stability, transparent triggers for the exercise of Bank Negara Malaysia's powers and functions under the law, and transparent assessment criteria for authorizing institutions to carry on regulated financial business, and for shareholder suitability;
  • A clear focus on Shariah compliance and governance in the Islamic financial sector. In particular, the IFSA provides a comprehensive legal framework that is fully consistent with Shariah in all aspects of regulation and supervision, from licensing to the winding-up of an institution;
  • Provisions for differentiated regulatory requirements that reflect the nature of financial intermediation activities and their risks to the overall financial system;
  • Provisions to regulate financial holding companies and non-regulated entities to take account of systemic risks that can emerge from the interaction between regulated and unregulated institutions, activities and markets. The Minister of Finance may subject an institution that engages in financial intermediation activities to ongoing regulation and supervision by Bank Negara Malaysia if it poses or is likely to pose a risk to overall financial stability;
  • Strengthened business conduct and consumer protection requirements to promote consumer confidence in the use of financial services and products;
  • Strengthened provisions for effective and early enforcement and supervisory intervention

The new laws will place Malaysia's financial sector, encompassing the banking system, the insurance/takaful sector, the financial markets and payment systems and other financial intermediaries, on a platform for advancing forward as a sound, responsible and progressive financial system. This is especially important to enable the financial system to meet the new demands for financing associated with Malaysia's economic transformation programme both during and beyond the next decade, the changing demographics of our population, and the increasing integration of the Malaysian economy with the region and the world.

Copies of the FSA and IFSA are available on Bank Negara Malaysia's website. Any query relating to the provisions of FSA and IFSA may be directed to

See also: Financial Services Act 2013 and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013

Bank Negara Malaysia
1 July 2013


Bank Negara Malaysia also wishes to highlight the following salient requirements in FSA and IFSA, mostly requirements brought forward from the repealed laws:

FSA and IFSA - Quick reference for the general public
( Any query may be directed to )


Requirements or restrictions in repealed laws which remain applicable:


Obtaining general insurance/takaful outside Malaysia
(section 127 of FSA/ 139 of IFSA)

The prior written approval of Bank Negara Malaysia must be obtained for property or liability to be insured, with an insurer outside Malaysia. This requirement has also been extended to the takaful sector.


Illegal deposit-taking and advertisement for deposits
(sections 136-138 of FSA/ 148-150 of IFSA)

Accepting deposits without a licence granted under the FSA/IFSA remains prohibited. Issuing or facilitating a person to issue an advertisement in relation to making such illegal deposit is also prohibited.


Restriction on use of certain words
(section 139 of FSA/ 151 of IFSA)

Use of certain words (e.g. bank, insurance, takaful) capable of being construed as indicating the carrying on of businesses which are regulated under the FSA/IFSA is not allowed, except with the prior written approval of Bank Negara Malaysia.


Foreign exchange administration rules
(sections 213-216 of FSA/ 224-227 IFSA)

All prevailing foreign exchange administration rules remain effective through the issuance of new notices under the new laws to replace the current ECM Notices. Further information is available on Bank Negara Malaysia’s website (


National interest
(sections 216 of FSA/ 227 of IFSA)

The notice on dealings with specified persons (ECM 14) will be replaced with the new Direction issued pursuant to section 216 of the FSA and section 227 of the IFSA.


Removal of provisions on scheduled institutions

A company that wishes to carry on leasing, factoring, development finance or building credit business (previously referred to as scheduled business under BAFIA) is no longer required to obtain a written acknowledgement from Bank Negara Malaysia. Accordingly, prior acknowledgments provided by Bank Negara Malaysia under BAFIA are withdrawn.

The FSA/IFSA provides for the Minister of Finance to subject an institution that engages in financial intermediation activities to ongoing regulation and supervision under the Act  if it poses or is likely to pose a risk to overall financial stability.


Transitional requirements for existing shareholders of licensed persons under FSA 
(section 279(1) of FSA)

The FSA provides that no person shall hold 5% or more interest in shares of a licensed person without the prior approval of Bank Negara Malaysia.  Interest in shares includes direct and effective interest under Schedule 3 of the FSA. Section 279(1) further provides that a person who holds 5% or more of an effective interest in shares of a licensed person, but was not required to obtain an approval under section 45 of the repealed BAFIA and section 67 of the repealed IA shall be deemed to be approved under the FSA provided that he submits such documents or information as may be specified by Bank Negara Malaysia no later than 31 December 2013. Further information, including the list of information to be submitted by affected shareholders are available on Bank Negara Malaysia website: (Information Requirement under
Section 279 (1) of the Financial Services Act 2013

Section 92 of the FSA further provides that no individual shall hold more than 10% of interest in shares of a licensed person.  This prohibition does not apply to individuals holding an interest in shares exceeding this level prior to 30 June 2013 where: (i) the individual had obtained approval to hold such interest in shares under the BAFIA in the case of a licensed bank or licensed investment bank; or (ii) where the individual was not required under the BAFIA or IA to obtain approval to hold such interest in shares, or to divest such shares.


© Bank Negara Malaysia, 2013. All rights reserved.