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Robo-advisor Endowus steps deeper into Singapore’s crowded wealth management sector

Written by Stephanie Pearl Li Published on     2 mins read

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The firm is set to expand to Hong Kong by the end of this year. 

Singapore-based digital wealth manager Endowus said it has snatched investments from UBS AG, Samsung Ventures, and Singtel Innov8, making it one of the top players in a crowded field.

An array of players have emerged to crack a market that has long been dominated by conventional financial institutions and money managers, including Singaporean digital wealth manager StashAway, which raised USD 25 million in a Series D round in April. Grab acquired wealth management startup Bento and rebranded it as GrabInvest to offer micro-loans and investment products to riders and merchant partners last February, while another platform, Syfe, raised USD 18.6 million in a Series A round last September.

Endowus differentiates itself by allowing retail, accredited, and institutional investors to invest their cash, Central Provident Fund (CPF), and Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) savings through its digital platform. Endowus CEO Gregory Van told KrASIA that his firm’s biggest rivals are traditional retail banks and fund management platforms, which “make a lot of money from trailer fee kickbacks. We think this is wrong and will bring fee-only, transparent, low cost investing to everyone.”

The new funds will be spent of building a larger team, including an arm beyond Singapore. “Part of that will go into acquiring key talents to keep pace with the launch of new products, as well as in the enhancement of user experience on our platform,” Van said, adding that the firm is set to expand to Hong Kong by the end of 2021.

Endowus’ latest fundraise comes two months after Endowus snatched USD 17 million in a Series A round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. In March, the firm rolled out the first multi-asset, multi-manager ESG portfolio that gave retail investors in Singapore access to products that were previously limited to banks’ high-net-worth customers.

Major financial institutions are doubling down in the wealth management sector, with banks like DBS and OCBC Bank shoring up their offerings in this direction. Even so, Van remains sanguine about new developments. “Multi-generational wealth that has been traditionally handed over to family offices to manage will likely be relegated to a dexterous app platform, as we see large influxes of this wealth into Asia,” he said.

A crowded field means there will be casualties. For instance, Smartly, a Singapore-based digital wealth management platform acquired by Vietnamese investment firm VinaCapital, ceased operations in March 2020, citing intense competition in the market, per a Business Times report.

Read this: Robo-advisor StashAway bags USD 25 million from Sequoia India ahead of Thailand launch

 

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