UOB Asset Management Ltd (UOBAM) is seeing a surge in online corporate investing, with the number of users in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand on its digital investment portal for corporate investors, UOBAM Invest, jumping 330 per cent over the last 18 months. Their total assets under management (AUM) on the online portal also surpassed S$1 billion.
UOBAM believes the rising trend on the UOBAM Invest online portal reflects the increasing demand from corporate investors for sharper digital solutions that offer round-the-clock access and the flexibility to make real-time changes to their investments and personalised portfolios. UOBAM Invest’s Digital Adviser, which is the first robo-advisory service dedicated to corporate investors in Singapore and Malaysia, features an algorithm-based portfolio planner that enables users to invest in customised portfolios of UOBAM’s funds and global exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Corporate investors can also choose the Fund Direct service to build and to manage their own portfolio of funds.
About three in five UOBAM Invest users were new customers to UOB Group. Many of the users are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are reaping the benefits of digitalisation in all aspects of their operations. Through UOBAM Invest, these companies have direct access to and greater control over their discretionary investments online, so as to optimise returns and to increase their liquidity more effectively. Other areas in which UOB is helping companies digitalise their business include their day-to-day financial account management through UOB Infinity and administrative processes and e-commerce management through UOB BizSmart.
Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, said, “Our approach is holistic – providing progressive and sustainable solutions that balance risk and returns for our customers’ benefit. We have been enhancing our digital capabilities across various channels, products and services Group-wide to offer our best-in-class solutions to more customers, including offering them the ease and convenience of self-serve online investing. UOBAM’s innovation and deep asset management expertise built up over more than three decades enriches the digital connectivity and suite of investment solutions we offer to our customers to help them achieve their short- and long-term financial goals.”
Mr Thio Boon Kiat, Chief Executive Officer of UOBAM, said, “Technology has enabled us to innovate our investment management services and to offer our Asian-focused experience and expertise to more corporate investors through the UOBAM Invest online portal. Backed by our strong understanding of investors across the region, we designed the digital portal to help corporate investors manage their discretionary investments simply, smartly and securely. The growth in users and AUM is testament to our commitment to meet investors’ needs and we plan to launch UOBAM Invest in more markets progressively.”
Mr Carecci Salvatore, owner of the Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore chain of Italian restaurants, said, “The UOBAM Invest digital investment portal is well-designed, user-friendly and secure. I do not have to worry about which region or asset class to invest in as UOBAM Invest generates customised portfolios and optimises the returns-to-risk ratio based on my requirements. There is an opportunity cost for choosing the wrong asset classes, especially when we need to focus on running our business in these challenging times. UOBAM Invest takes out the guesswork.”
Strong demand for bond funds and stable returns
Corporate investors’ interest in and demand for online investing continue to rise given the restrictions in face-to-face interactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of transactions made on the UOBAM Invest online portal this year to date is already more than 60 per cent of the total in the whole of 2020.
Against the backdrop of a low interest rate environment, UOBAM has seen strong demand from corporate investors for bond funds that offer stable returns. In particular, UOBAM’s flagship United SGD Fund, which focuses on global short-term, high quality investment-grade bonds, had AUM of more than S$200 million on UOBAM Invest as at 30 June 2021.
In helping to steer corporate investors towards sustainable investments and in line with their growing emphasis on investing with purpose, UOBAM has also made available more environment, social and governance (ESG)-focused funds on UOBAM Invest These funds include the United Sustainable Credit Income Fund and United Sustainable Asia Top 50 Fund.
In addition to offering the UOBAM Invest digital investment portal for corporate investors, UOBAM also has a mobile robo-advisory app dedicated to individual investors. UOBAM Invest has won multiple awards in recent years in recognition of its smart use of technology. These include Best Fintech Innovation in Asset Management in Malaysia and Singapore in 2021 and 2020 respectively, as well as Best Digital Wealth Management in Thailand, at the Asia Asset Management Best of the Best Awards. UOBAM was also named Asia Fund House of the Year at the AsianInvestor Asset Management Awards 2021 for the third consecutive year.