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Singapore’s OCBC launches robo-advisor platform

Targeting young clients, OCBC Bank has partnered with a local fintech firm to launch an automated investment platform in Singapore offering thematic and passive portfolios.

The Singapore-based bank claims to be the first bank in Southeast Asia to launch a robo-advisory service, a platform called OCBC Roboinvest.

The bank said in a statement that the service provides an automated, algorithm-based digital investment service. The tech platform was developed with wealth technology start-up We Invest.

The fintech firm, based in Singapore, said it has clients that include wealth and asset managers. In May, London-based asset manager Schroders became a minority stakeholder in We Invest.

On the platform, there are a total of 28 investment portfolios of equities and exchange-traded funds across six markets – Singapore, Australia, the UK, the US, Europe and Hong Kong, according to the statement.

The portfolios come with different themes, such as technology, reits, fast-moving-consumer-goods companies, property, healthcare and food & beverage. Investors can choose portfolios based on their investment preferences and risk profiles.

The bank is targeting young investors by setting the minimum investment threshold at S$3500 ($2,549.7).

The service charges an annual management fees of 1% for assets under management of more than S$50000 ($36424.8) and 1.5% for assets less than S$50000. More fees and charges can apply depending on the markets and trading channels used to execute the orders, the bank said.

Other robo-advisory service providers in Asia charge lower than 1% annually. Hong Kong-based Aqumon charges clients a 0.8% annual investment advisory fee, regardless of the amount invested. Singapore-based Smartly’s annual fee is between 0.5%-1% and there are no additional fees for rebalancing, withdrawals or trading. Algebra, a robo-advisor offered by Malaysia-based Farringdon Group, has an annual fee of 0.85%.

OCBC’s statement said its platform’s algorithm helps optimise each portfolio by regular rebalancing in response to economic and market movements that may impact the portfolio. Investors receive email alerts if any rebalancing is required.

Aditya Gupta, the bank’s head of e-business in Singapore, said in the statement that he believes the service will radically transform the way people invest by providing greater efficiency, convenience and personalisation.

The bank said it had a pilot run for selected accredited investors last year based on two categories of portfolios. The first category is comprised of five portfolios made up of ETFs and equities listed on the Dow Jones and Nasdaq. The second category consisted of four thematic baskets of stocks listed on the Dow Jones and Nasdaq. The themes include technology, fast-moving-consumer-goods companies and high performing stocks.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.