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The art of investing - bridging the accessibility gap for the masses

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore12/16/2022 10:00 AM GMT+08  • 6 min read
The art of investing - bridging the accessibility gap for the masses
Investing, which was once seen as unapproachable by the majority, is now almost regarded as a necessity and with good reason.
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Investing, which was once seen as unapproachable by the majority, is now almost regarded as a necessity and with good reason. According to a survey conducted by Moomoo Financial Singapore Pte. Ltd., 90% of the respondents agreed that investing is the best strategy to protect their wealth amid financial concerns such as inflation.

The survey also found that the lack of capital, fear of monetary losses and the lack of knowledge were the most cited challenges by investors at 31.9%, 31.3% and 24.9% respectively.

This is where moomoo Singapore, a leading digital brokerage and wealth management company that specializes in Singapore, US, Hong Kong and Chinese-listed shares, mutual funds, Singapore REITs, US Options and Futures, comes in. “One of our key aims is to make investing easy and accessible for our users,” shares Gavin Chia, managing director at moomoo Singapore.

This was evident in the financial results for Nasdaq-listed Futu Holdings Limited (the group), the parent company of moomoo Singapore for 3QFY2022 ended Sept 30.

During the quarter, the company reported a total revenue of HK$1.95 billion ($343.9 million), which is 12.4% higher than the HK$1.73 billion revenue from the corresponding period the year before.

As at Sept 30, the group also saw its paying clients grow by 24% y-o-y to 1.45 million. Moomoo Singapore itself saw its new paying client’s growth increase by about a third q-o-q locally.

See also: Navigate market uncertainties with more confidence with OCBC Securities

In the 3QFY2022, the group’s net asset inflow “remained strong”, according to the group’s CEO Leaf Li in an earnings call. Narrowing into moomoo Singapore, the wealth management asset balance had also grown four-fold since its 3QFY2022 results. As of Dec 1, moomoo Singapore and its parent company reported that its assets under management (AUM) for wealth management had surpassed the HK$30 billion mark.

Li attributed the company’s stellar results to its “unwavering efforts in sharpening technology edge” which includes new features and upgraded products to fulfil its clients’ unmet demands across various markets.

It is precisely this approach that sets Futu – and by extension – moomoo Singapore apart.

See also: Is 2023 the year Southeast Asia's financial services become future-ready?

The digital brokerage places a significant focus on research and development (R&D) to innovate its products and make investing more accessible to retail investors, says Chia.

“From the group level, we have over 2,800 employees, and around 2,000 are focused on the information technology (IT) and R&D aspect,” he adds. “As a platform, moomoo Singapore is focused on reaching out to the local markets in whatever country it is in.”

Moomoo is now gaining a foothold in Singapore, Australia, and the US.

Unlike traditional brokerages that previously required days and a barrage of documents to facilitate an account opening, moomoo Singapore prides itself on its seamless process where users can open an account within just 15 to 20 minutes using their Singpass ID, and get it approved within the same day, Chia says.

Depositing money within the platform isn’t difficult either. The brokerage’s direct debit authorisation (DDA) allows its users to link their bank accounts to their trading accounts and fund the latter within five minutes or less.

Presently, moomoo Singapore has partnered with six banks, including Singapore’s DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

“If you look at the entire flow from opening an account on our platform to funding, trading, and withdrawing funds, everything has been carefully thought of and covered,” Chia adds.

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Making investing accessible

Before the convenience afforded by the Internet which offers a wide range of information to anyone at their fingertips, those in the financial industry had an edge over retail investors as they had better access to financial or analysts’ reports.

moomoo Singapore entered the investments landscape in Singapore to change that, and lower the barrier to entry for keen individuals to dip their toes into investing with its variety of financial news and analysts’ reports that are readily available on the app.

To new and veteran investors alike, having easy access to information is fundamental. “We work with news outlets such as Reuters and Bloomberg to provide up-to-date financial news. We also collaborate with third-party providers to provide analysts’ reports. These include recommendations from investment banks such as Citi and Deutsche Bank, as well as fund houses like Aberdeen Asset Management and Wellington Management, to name a few,” says Chia.

Beyond information, retail investors are also now more empowered to invest in money market funds (MMF) on their own. Traditionally distributed by insurance companies or fund markets to the lack of available information, more Singaporeans are now more confident in putting their money in such products with better accessibility and investment knowledge. According to moomoo Singapore, its money market funds' AUM grew five-fold sequentially in the third quarter, and the number of fund investors surged 203%.

In line with making investing accessible, new investors can also tap on the in-app moo community that is designed for interaction between investors, where they can discuss their portfolio management processes, struggles, and so on.

When asked about the platform’s secret to success, moomoo Singapore Chia says it all comes down to its dedication to understanding its clients’ needs. “From the influx of feedback we receive, we constantly strive to understand the needs of our clients,” he says. “It is a strength of our R&D team that we are constantly looking for methods to do things better, carry them out more successfully, and stay one step ahead of the competition.”

Future plans

Looking ahead, Chia reveals exciting plans for the platform which include enabling investors to trade using their Central Depository (CDP) accounts via the platform itself. The feature, a game-changer for moomoo users, is said to be slated for release in 2023.

The CDP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), is a secure account that holds all of the shares purchased on the open market. Upon its introduction, moomoo Singapore will be the first digital brokerage to give investors direct access to their CDP accounts, says Chia.

One of Chia’s hopes for moomoo is that it will be the platform of choice for Singaporean investors. “We hope that moomoo will become a platform that’ll accompany our investors throughout their lifelong investment journeys.”

He adds: “We also hope to lower the barriers to investing for our Singapore-based investors and that our platform will be able to help them achieve the lifestyle they seek.

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