KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) — Singapore-based robo-advisor StashAway is expected to penetrate into another one or two new markets in Southeast Asia in a year’s time, after it successfully raised US$12 million (about RM50.26 million) through its Series B round of funding recently.
Country manager for Malaysia Wong Wai Ken said the US$12 million would also be used to further expand in Malaysia and Singapore, the core markets for the startup.
“Currently, what we are looking at is whether the regulators (of the targeted markets) are ready to license robo-advisor, as well as the total wealth of the markets so that we can serve the customers better,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the “New Age Investments” briefing organised by Maybank here today.
It was reported that the intelligent wealth management platform had completed the US$12 million funding led by Eight Roads Ventures, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International, bringing the startup’s total funds raised to date to US$20.4 million (about RM85.45 million).
StashAway was founded in Singapore in 2016 by former Zalora group chief executive officer Michele Ferrario, Nomura former managing director and global head of derivatives Freddy Lim, and serial tech entrepreneur Nino Ulsamer.
The startup expanded into Malaysia’s market in 2018 after being the first to be granted a capital markets services licence by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) in November 2018.
According to Wong, StashAway’s presence is to cater to the needs of underserved investors, especially those below 35 years old.
“A survey found that less than five per cent of retail investors on Bursa Malaysia are those below 35 years old, because the existing products that we have in the country are seen as very expensive, with an investor needing at least RM1,000 to start investing,” he said.
The barrier to entry for StashAway is much lower, he said, noting that investors can set aside just RM50 to invest in the platform.
With less than a year’s presence in Malaysia, he said StashAway has recorded more than 20,000 account holders in the country, with over 70 per cent of them aged below 35.
“Out of the 70 per cent, more than half of them are first time investors,” he said.
Wong said the diversified exchange traded funds (ETFs) portfolio selected by the firm could more than double the number of account holders in the coming years.
Currently, StashAway’s ETFs selection includes equities like US, European and Asia-Ex Japan equities; fixed income such as 1-3 year US government bonds, US Investment Grade 1 and US convertible bonds; real estate such as US real estate and commodities such as gold.
Wong said based on Singapore’s performance, the firm sees an actual return of 6-22 per cent in two years’ time, which is about 3-11 per cent annually.
“And the Malaysian market is tracking the performance of its Singaporean peer,” he added.
Wong said the firm has taken up nearly 100 per cent of the market share in the country, as its competitors are still very new.