Malaysia’s securities regulator has approved in principle the country's second robo advisory licence to MyTheo Digital, a company with possible links to Japanese robo-adviser Money Design Co Ltd, according to people familiar with the matter.
MyTheo Digital was granted approval in principle on November 27, two sources tell Asia Asset Management (AAM).
"The approval is subject to MyTheo Digital meeting various requirements – these include having sufficient capital and the necessary systems and measures in place to protect investors," one of these people says.
A spokesperson for Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) did not immediately respond to questions from AAM.
The SC awarded Malaysia’s first robo advisory licence to Singapore-based StashAway in October 2018. The company launched its operations in Malaysia within one month of securing the licence.
It’s unclear why MyTheo Digital has not been as prompt in launching its business. There is scant information about the company, including its shareholders, in the public domain, and contact details for its representatives were unavailable. The firm’s website is still under construction.
According to an industry source, the company may be linked to Money Design, which launched its robo advisory service in Japan under the brand name Theo in February 2016.
"I understand that MyTheo Digital's robo advisory platform is largely built on Money Design's technology. So, there is a high likelihood that Money Design will have some sort of stake in the Malaysian robo-adviser," this person says.
Representatives of Money Design did not respond to requests for comment.
The company was co-founded in 2013 by Mamoru Taniya and Tomoyuki Hirose. According to its website, the firm had 23 billion yen (US$207.97 million) of assets under management as at January 31, 2018, up from 6 billion yen a year earlier, and its customer base expanded almost five times to 32,730 over that period. Nearly half of its customers are 30 years old or younger.