WEINVEST, a Singapore-based digital wealth services and robo-advisory firm, is expanding into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to serve the Middle East market.
A company spokesman told The Business Times on Monday that the region is seeing a digital revolution across industries and presents great opportunities for digital wealth providers.
He said: “Most banks and financial institutions have recently identified the need to provide a digital wealth experience to their customers. Thus, this is a huge opportunity for digital wealth providers such as WeInvest.”
The spokesman added that wealth penetration within banks in the Middle East has been low for private and retail banking customers. This is due to limited access to global investment products or strategies through the local banks, and the lack of investment advice which retail customers desire, he said.
WeInvest will locate its office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a special economic zone in Dubai that was established in 2004 as a financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia markets.
Bhaskar Prabhakara, chief and co-founder of WeInvest, said that the startup’s “growing relationships” with financial Institutions in the UAE has prompted it to open an office in DIFC.
WeInvest is also the only Singapore-based startup chosen to be part of the Dubai International Financial Centre accelerator programme in 2017.
“Our association with DIFC has been of vital importance to us and being part of their accelerator programme in 2017 only escalated our decision to expand there. The expansion into the UAE is timely with the region opening up to more business opportunities,” said Mr Prabhakara.
WeInvest’s entry into UAE follows after its expansion into Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
When asked about the startup’s expansion strategy, the company spokesman said: “WeInvest aims to cover the top five to six financial institutions such as banks, brokers and insurance companies, in Asia and the Middle East.”
In August, WeInvest announced a collaboration with OCBC Bank to launch OCBC RoboInvest, for which WeInvest would provide its robo-advisory platforms for the bank’s clients. OCBC RoboInvest is an automated, algorithm-based digital investment service targeting young and tech-savvy investors.
The WeInvest spokesman said that OCBC RoboInvest has since seen strong growth in assets under management and number of users. “We are also looking to further expand the scope of services across mobile devices and relationship managers.
Founded in 2015, WeInvest offers three main services: TrackWealth, an aggregation-as-a-service platform that enables clients to track their finances; AdviseWealth, a business-to-consumer robo-advisory platform; and GrowWealth, a goal-based and thematic investing platform.