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Singapore robo adds investment advisor service

Robo-advisor Syfe has added human portfolio advice for clients in a challenge to more expensive wealth management firms.
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Syfe, a Singapore-based robo-advisory startup, has added human financial advice to its algorithm-driven investment platform, according to a statement from the firm.

A team of advisors will be headed by Ritesh Ganeriwal, a former relationship manger and investment advisor at Goldman Sachs’ wealth management operation in Singapore.

CEO and founder Dhruv Arora, formerly a director at UBS Asset Management in Hong Kong, told FSA that although his firm launched about three months ago and is still in a hiring mode, the advisory team is in place.

A tiered system was also introduced. Clients are segmented into three levels that link lower management fees to higher investment amounts.

Clients with “no minimum investment” get free (human) advice for one month. Those putting in $20,000 are given free advisor access and a financial planning service and clients with a minimum investment of $100,000 get a dedicated financial advisor.

“Customers and budding investors can discuss managing or building a portfolio, while Syfe’s team can also provide financial advice support on any topic, not just the Syfe platform alone,” the statement said.

The move targets the client base of independent financial advisors and some external asset managers, which generally charge clients higher fees than robo-advisors.

Syfe will “challenge exclusive, sophisticated and expensive wealth management solutions, making investing accessible to everyone”, according to the statement.

“We are not exclusively for retail investors,” Arora added. “Clients who have their money managed by private banks may put a portion [of their investible wealth] into Syfe.”

The robo-advisory uses ETFs and its priority is risk-adjusted returns. Software monitors and adjusts portfolios with the aim of limiting huge drawdowns.

UK venture capital firm Unbound is the lead investor in the $3.8m Syfe received as seed capital, which includes personal investments from David Rogers, managing director at SSGA and Paul Redbourn, managing director and head of equities at UBS Japan, according to the firm.

Arora said that the working professionals are not consultants but they act as mentors, providing perspectives from large financial institutions.

Singapore is home to several robo-advisor competitors, including Stashaway, which recently introduced an income-focused portfolio and Kristal AI, which said it has tripled AUM to $80m from January to October.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.