Wealth management for all
A digital investment platform is seeking to bring products traditionally reserved for high-value clients to the entire spectrum of savers.
22 August 2022
Investment should be accessible to everyone – and it should not be a scary process, believes Yenson She, Head of Business Development at Syfe. Originally launched in Singapore in 2019, Syfe now has a team of more than 150 people in the region and has raised US$52.4 million to date. This funding, led by New York-based Valar Ventures, enabled the firm to launch into Hong Kong and Australia this year.
“Safety and trust are our number-one priorities,” Mr She said, pointing out the firm is regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission. “Our vision is to be the go-to investment platform in Asia.”
Why did you choose Hong Kong as your first overseas outpost?
Hong Kong is a very well-established wealth management market. It felt like a very straightforward next stop for us after Singapore as there’s some market similarity.
How do you offer market-fit products in Hong Kong?
Currently we’re providing two major sets of portfolios for the Hong Kong market: a core portfolio and satellite portfolio. We conducted market research and found they would be the best fit for the general investors here. We’ll be continuing to expand our offerings, with more investment products launching later this year. With all the fluctuations in the market right now, many are looking for a conservative approach, so we are continuously innovating for new products to meet that need.
Who uses Syfe?
We aim to make investment accessible for everyone – in Singapore our users are aged 18 to 93 years old. There’s a very similar range of ages in Hong Kong, but those aged 25-40 seem most excited [about using Syfe]. They have a stable income, understand the stock market, but don’t have the time to monitor it 24/7.
What are the similarities and differences between the Hong Kong and Singapore markets?
Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in many ways: they are international cities with well-established, strong economies. Based on our research, Hong Kong investors tend to have more of a high-risk appetite and look for higher returns.
What investment trends do you notice in Hong Kong?
People are thinking more long-term, not just about picking stocks. There’s been a lot of tech innovations in the city and growing stocks in tech. Hong Kong investors are looking for high growth, and one of our thematic portfolios is Disruptive Technology, which enables investment into robotics, crypto and Web 3.0.
How would you characterise the attitude towards investing and saving in Hong Kong?
As people are facing high inflation and low interest rates, we’ve noticed there’s a trend of switching from saving to investment. According to our research there are two major pain points Hong Kong investors face: underperformance and lack of understanding and transparency. People don’t really understand the fees and charging model behind the product they’ve invested in.
What makes Syfe different to other investment platforms?
Many people think investment is all numbers and formulas, and as a digital wealth management platform we fall into the category of robo advisor. People think we are driven by algorithms and big data, but it’s not just that.
For a private banking service, you usually need a minimum of US$1 million, but we don’t have any minimum requirement. We charge lower fees, and our services are open to more people. We have advisors but they aren’t incentive-based to ensure their interests are aligned with our clients and provide objective advice. We make sure the portfolio is highly diversified, so people aren’t exposed to single-stock or asset-class risk. We’re not into market speculation – it’s more about long-term gains.
What do you like about doing business in Hong Kong so far?
I was born and raised here and love the energy and the dynamic. Yes, there’s a lot of competition, but I believe with strong competition things can keep improving so the whole eco-system eventually benefits.
How will the business continue to evolve?
We started with a team of two and now have a team of 15 in Hong Kong and have offices in Singapore, India and Australia. In Singapore, we just had our three-year anniversary and one of the key successes is reaching out to clients to see where we could have done better. This has helped us come up with new products and services every six months in Singapore. We’re aiming to bring this into Hong Kong and have already received a lot of valuable feedback from clients.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and next?
Having just launched in Hong Kong and now Australia, our focus is on ensuring each market succeeds and we are able to serve our clients to our best ability.
- Finance & Investment
- Hong Kong
- Hong Kong