Singapore Digital Wealth App Scores Money From UBS, Samsung

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Digital wealth platform Endowus Pte has secured investments from UBS Group AG, Samsung Ventures and Singtel Innov8 to fuel expansion in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Zurich-based UBS is putting an unspecified amount of its own money into Endowus through UBS Next, a $200 million fund that takes direct stakes in early-stage fintech firms, the Singapore-based company said in a statement on Thursday. The additional capital brings the total size of the firm’s Series A funding round to $22 million, including earlier investments from Lightspeed Venture Partners and SoftBank Ventures Asia, according to the startup.

Endowus was founded in 2017 by former UBS investment banker Gregory Van and Sun You Ning, whose career included stints at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Blackstone Group Inc. The platform was partly borne out of their frustrations when they tried to invest their pension money. They found the process inefficient, difficult and costly. Samuel Rhee, a former chief executive officer at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in Asia with 26 years of experience, soon joined the startup to lead investing.

Singapore Digital Wealth App Scores Money From UBS, Samsung

“We are about giving advice, access and low cost -- three things individuals need to make better decisions and outcomes,” Rhee, chairman and chief investment officer of Endowus, said in an interview. “Our vision is to bring institutional investing processes -- that’s front and center of what we’re trying to do.”

Endowus has already established itself as the only digital adviser for Singapore’s national pension plan known as the Central Provident Fund, enabling investors to access their entire financial portfolio across their cash savings, national pension and retirement plans. Since launching its full service in late 2019, the total amount of assets under advice has surpassed S$1 billion ($743 million), according to the company.

That’s expected to more than double to S$2.5 billion by the end of this year, according to Rhee.

Endowus plans to use the fresh capital to enter Hong Kong in the coming months, said Van, its CEO. While digital service is only a small part of the wealth management industry today, its importance will inevitably grow as more Asians become affluent and transfer their wealth to the younger generation, he said.

“We want to establish ourselves as the market leader in the digital space in the Asian wealth hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong,” Van said. “Being number one in those markets will be critical for us to be a truly regional player in wealth management.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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