VinaCapital acquires investment platform Smartly in Singapore

09:22 | 18/07/2019

VinaCapital took over the business of Smartly Pte., Ltd., one of the first robo-advisory investment platforms to launch in Singapore.

vinacapital acquires investment platform smartly in singapore
VinaCapital and Smartly aim to make financial investment accessible to everyone

VinaCapital did not disclose the amount of money it had spent to purchase Smartly. The Singapore-based firm has been a close partner of VinaCapital since 2016, when the latter's subsidiary VCG Partners began discussions to jointly launch an investment advisory platform.

With the partnership formed, Smartly successfully launched in September 2017. It uses smart algorithms to make investing simple and accessible to more people. Investors complete a simple questionnaire that assesses their risk tolerance, financial situation, and goals.

The robo-advisor then recommends a portfolio made up of a basket of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The algorithms then rebalance portfolios on a periodic basis, accounting for changes in the global economy.

Smartly was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Keir Veskivali, Artur Luhaaar, and Kentwell Kwok, who believed that high hidden fees and confusing financial advisory solutions turned people away from investing. According to the company's website, Smartly aims to offer average people with basic financial literacy the opportunity to invest easily with full transparency and low fees.

“By partnering with VinaCapital, we took a different approach to launching a robo-advisory platform than the rest of the pack. This acquisition of Smartly’s operations and the additional capital injections will enable Smartly to scale-up and expand to new markets to become the leading digital wealth management platform in the region,” said Veskivali.

Following the buyout, Veskivali will continue to support Smartly as a consultant and will work with VinaCapital on other tech ventures, while co-founders Luhaaar and Kwok have decided to pursue other projects.

VCG Partners’ CEO Jason Ng said that VinaCapital looks to bring Smartly's robo-advisory services to other countries, especially Vietnam.

Vietnam's current laws do not address robo-advisory services, creating significant risks for investors who choose to invest with some of the startups in the market that claim to offer such services.

Today, robo-advisory services manage more than $980 billion in assets around the world, with forecasted compounded annual growth of around 27 per cent between 2019 and 2023, according to Statista.

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