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Singapore robo-advisor Smartly shuts down

Singapore robo-advisor Smartly shuts down

Singaporean robo-advisory platform Smartly is to wind down, citing intense competition in the wealth management space.

Launched in 2015 and acquired last year by Vietnam-basedd asset management firm VinaCapital, Smartly has struggled to grow the business with the arrival of a clutch of new big-pocketed players entering the market, including ride-hailing giant Grab and startups such as Stashaway and Kristal. Sinagapore's big banks have also been getting in on the act, making it a difficult market for smaller firms to gain traction.

A recent report from Deloitte estimates that direct-to-customer pure play robo-advisors chasing the millennial market would be faced with a five to 10-year wait just to break even on a client.

In a statement on its website, Smartly says: "Competition in the digital investment advisory space is intense and maintaining a high service standard on the platform has been challenging. Despite initially contemplating core platform improvements...strategic corporate considerations by our parent, VinaCapital Group Ltd, ultimately guided this decision."

VinaCapital says it has arranged the return of all funds held in customers’ accounts and directed them to another service provider with whom it has negotiated a special arrangement.

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