Photo courtesy of cafef.vn
HCM CITY – VinaCapital on Tuesday announced that it had acquired the business operations of Smartly Pte Ltd, one of the first robo-advisory investment platforms to launch in Singapore.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
VinaCapital is one of Việt Nam’s leading investment companies with US$1.8 billion in assets under management.
Smartly was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Keir Veskivali, Artur Luhaaar and Kentwell Kwok, two Singapore-based Estonians and one Singaporean who all had worked in finance and were frustrated by hidden fees and confusing financial advisory solutions.
The company aimed to offer average people with basic financial literacy the opportunity to invest easily with full transparency and low fees.
In 2016, Smartly began discussions with VCG Partners, the Singapore subsidiary of VinaCapital and a fully licensed fund manager regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, about joining together to launch the platform.
With the partnership formed, Smartly was launched in September 2017. It uses smart algorithms to make investing simple and accessible to more people.
“By partnering with VinaCapital, we took a different approach to launching a robo-advisory platform than the rest of the pack. We were able to allocate valuable capital to places where it was most needed, stay focused on execution, and maintain strong financials and unit metrics," Veskivali said.
“VCG Partners clearly saw the potential of the market and the platform. This acquisition of Smartly’s operations and the additional capital injections will enable Smartly to scale-up, expand to new markets, and realise its full potential to become the leading digital wealth management platform in the region.”
Veskivali will continue to support the company as a consultant and work with VinaCapital on other tech ventures, while co-founders Luhaaar and Kwok have decided to pursue other projects.
Jason Ng, VCG Partners’ CEO, said: “Smartly has been a trailblazer in robo-advisory services in Singapore, and we look forward to building on the momentum and expanding to other Southeast Asian markets as their regulatory environments allow.
“For example, in Việt Nam, current laws do not address robo-advisory services, creating significant risks for investors who elect to invest with some of the start-ups in the market that claim to offer such services.” — VNS