By Lisa Walls-Hester on Tuesday 18 April 2017
Family offices in Asia are under served compared to developed markets like US and Europe
Singapore-based Marvelstone Capital plans a robo advisor platform for the under-served family office market in Asia.
The platform is being developed with Singaporean fintech startup Smartfolios, and will be launched in the third quarter of 2017. It will be available on desktop and mobile for Marvelstone Capital’s clients.
Marvelstone chief executive officer Joe Seunghyun Cho said: “We see family offices in Asia are under served even compared to those in developed markets like US and Europe. And their needs are quite different from those in US and Europe.”
“We thought it made sense to help this market and a robo advisor itself is pretty helpful in many ways. So whatever they're getting from existing brokers like Goldman Sachs and others, the robo advisor could offer a similar product at much more flexibility. We thought this would be a good market and our background is hedge funds so we have good access, we know many families in Asia.”
Marvelstone will target family offices based in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, as well as India. The company points out that Malaysia is an important market and Cho added: “It is a huge market and the culture is quite unique as well, there's a huge Shariah-compliant market, so it is definitely one of the most important markets for us.”
Cho explains that family offices with below US$1bn assets under management are the underserved family offices. “Typically if you want to have a portfolio, you need to have more than US$1bn. So we are categorising them into two sectors: below US$1bn, and above US$1bn and up to US$10bn. Those are the families we will be helping and for whom a robo advisor would make more sense.”
The platform will not be 100 per cent automated, it will retain customer service and in-house private bankers to liaise with its clients.