Robo-advisory platform StashAway, one of South-East Asia’s largest digital wealth managers, has expanded its operations to the UAE to tap into a growing segment of affluent investors looking for low-cost ways to build their wealth.
The company will be based in the Dubai International Financial Centre after receiving an asset management licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority, it said on Monday.
Founded in 2016 in Singapore, StashAway also operates in Malaysia, and has users from more than 145 countries.
“We launched StashAway in Singapore to provide an effective platform for individuals to build their wealth, as we were personally frustrated with the lack of effective investment options offered by financial institutions,” Michele Ferrario, co-founder and chief executive of StashAway, said.
“Our platform has quickly become the benchmark for the financial services industry in South-East Asia not only because of our ability to deliver such strong returns, but also because we’re giving our clients the investment experience they need: one with ease of access, transparency and unbiased education.”
The UAE Cabinet approved a new law regulating the country’s growing wealth management sector in October. The Federal Decree Law on Financial Covenants, which excludes financial free zones, provides a legislative framework that aims to boost the performance of the wealth management sector, enable a competitive environment, protect investors and attract foreign investment.
StashAway’s technology delivers investing via an easy-to-use platform, with low fees, no minimum balance and unlimited withdrawals. Its digital interface, on both desktop and mobile phones, personalises clients’ investment goals. Clients are also recommended a portfolio that reflects their risk preferences, according to the company’s statement.
“The UAE has a large mass affluent segment that has had to rely on traditional investment products that are often expensive and generic. We identified this gap in the market for sophisticated, accessible, global investment options,” said Ramzi Khleif, general manager of Mena at StashAway.
The wealth manager has a capital market services licence for retail fund management from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, a capital market services licence for retail fund management from Securities Commission Malaysia, and is regulated by the DFSA to offer investment advisory and asset management services.
The company has seen its assets under management grow more than 4.3 times in the past 12 months, the statement said.
The wealth manager has so far raised $36.4 million in four funding rounds. The company’s financial backers include Eight Roads Ventures, the global investment firm backed by Fidelity and an early investor in Alibaba, and Square Peg, the largest venture capital fund in Australia.