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Vietnam's VinaCapital acquires Singapore robo adviser Smartly

By Asia Asset Management  
Jul 19, 2019

Vietnam’s VinaCapital has acquired Singapore-based robo adviser Smartly for an undisclosed sum, in a move aimed at expanding its digital investment services in Southeast Asia.

The deal comes almost two years after VCG Partners, a subsidiary of VinaCapital, formed a partnership with Smartly in September 2017 to use the latter’s smart algorithms for risk assessment and portfolio rebalancing.

Keir Veskivali, a co-founder of Smartly, will remain at the company as a consultant, while the other co-founders, Artur Luhaaar and Kentwell Kwok, have decided to pursue other projects, VinaCapital says in a statement on July 17.

“Smartly has been a trailblazer in robo-advisory services in Singapore, and we look forward to building on the momentum and expanding to other Southeast Asia markets as their regulatory environments allow,” Jason Ng, chief executive officer of VCG Partners, says in the statement.

Citing figures from German data provider Statista, VinaCapital says robo-advisory services manage over US$980 billion of assets globally and it’s expected to expand at a 27% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023.

According to the Vietnamese asset manager, markets such as Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries with large digitally native populations are ripe for robo-advisory investment platforms.

Mr. Veskivali says in the statement that the injection of capital from the acquisition will enable Smartly “to scale-up, expand to new markets, and realise its full potential to become the leading digital wealth management platform in the region”.

VinaCapital, which is based in Ho Chi Minh City, currently has around $1.8 billion of assets under management.