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Asset manager execs back robo debut in Singapore

Executives at SSGA, UBS and KKR have personally invested seed money in Singapore-based Syfe.
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Digital wealth manager Syfe has launched its robo-advisory platform in the Lion City after receiving a capital markets services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), according to a statement from the firm.

The licence is for retail fund management, which means that Syfe is open for both retail investors in Singapore and abroad, according to a spokesman for the firm.

The firm was also able to raise S$5.2m ($3.8m) in seed money, led by UK-based venture capital fund Unbound, according to the statement. The seed money included personal investments from industry executives such as David Rogers, managing director at SSGA; Paul Redbourn, managing director and head of equities at UBS Japan; and Philip Freise, partner at KKR.

Rather than prioritising returns, Syfe makes use of a “risk-based system”, which aims to limit portfolio fluctuations or huge drawdowns. Its algorithm is expected to monitor and adjust portfolios to manage risk. It uses globally-listed ETFs across different asset classes for its portfolio holdings, according to the firm.

There is no minimum investment and the annual fee is 0.65% of the total amount invested. It also does not charge sales, custody or brokerage fees, according to the firm.

“We strongly believe the region is ripe for disruption in the retail finance space,” Shravin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO at Unbound, said in the statement.

While Syfe’s immediate focus remains in Singapore, an expansion into other regional markets is part of the firm’s growth plan, the spokesman said.

Syfe will be competing against a number of other robo-advisors in Singapore, including Smartly, which was recently acquired by Ho Chi Minh City-based Vina Capital, Bento, Stashaway, Money Owl and Endowus.

Elsewhere, the robo-advisor list includes Aqumon, Chloe and Youyu in Hong Kong and Odini and Finnomena in Thailand.






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