Less than three months after Futu Holdings' moomoo trading app was officially launched in Singapore in March this year, its user base has hit over 220,000. This includes 100,000 paying clients in the country - making it one of the fastest-growing online trading platforms in this region.
The rapid growth of Futu's Hong Kong-based company - it also has offices in Mainland China and the US - has not slowed since its launch in October 2012.
Neither has its Singapore office. Its entry here marks a strategic move to expand within South-east Asia, home to a growing pool of digitally savvy investors.
Mr Gavin Chia, director of Futu Singapore, says: "Our approach is to establish ourselves and grow our team while paying attention to what investors in South-east Asia look for in a trading app. The thinking is to use the Singapore experience as a platform to launch into the region."
The company plans to localise its moomoo app to cater to each country's market. An important strategy will be to help users gain financial literacy and equip them with the tools to make informed investment decisions so that they can grow their wealth.
"Investors are no longer relying on brokers to make decisions for them. We believe that as more individuals take control of their finances, they will benefit from a platform that provides them with the tools and knowledge they can learn from as they go along," adds Mr Chia, who has observed that although millennials and Gen Z are the digital natives, older investors are increasingly embracing digital platforms for investing.
The rise of the tech-savvy investor
In its recent brand refresh, Futu introduced a new logo inspired by the Charging Bull, an unmistakable tribute to power and prosperity on New York's Wall Street. "This is very apt as it represents the tenacity and can-do spirit of the modern, tech-savvy investor assisted by the moomoo trading app," says Mr Chia.
Another critical factor supporting Futu's fast expansion is its commitment to innovation. More than 70 per cent of its 1,500 global workforce is dedicated to R&D to advance applications that can keep up with the changing landscape and investor needs to ensure the best user-first experience.
moomoo has free real-time market data, live streams, broadcasts of corporate events and online courses that promote financial literacy. Users can even opt for a notification service that sends them text messages about breaking news or new developments regarding the topics and stocks they are tracking.
The app currently supports investment products across Singapore, Hong Kong, and the US. It is also looking into adding investment products from other markets. Investors do not have to create separate accounts to participate in overseas financial markets with the assistance of one-stop investment platform like moomoo.
Understanding that investment opportunities could be fleeting and time is of the essence, Futu Singapore supports DDA Fast Deposit, allowing investors to fund their accounts in a timely manner. moomoo augments these efforts by ensuring that its local customer services teams stay responsive 24/7 to support its clients on their investment journey.
"Ours is a holistic platform that allows them to make next-level, self-directed trades with the tools they need to read the market and digest the changes. There is even an in-app forum - the moo community - that empowers them to bounce investment strategies off like-minded investors," explains Mr Chia.
Moomoo's 15 million-strong global community
One in-app feature that sets moomoo apart from other similar platforms is its 15 million-strong, collaborative global investor community that helps to empower new as well as experienced investors. The in-app forum also allows users from any part of the world to connect with analysts, media, key opinion leaders and companies, as well as share market insights.
Members of the moomoo community even share their opinions on various asset classes and lessons learnt from their investments, generate graphs and charts for others to gain insights, and inspire them with their success stories.
"It's really quite amazing to see how involved people are becoming in sharing their knowledge for the benefit of others," notes Mr Chia.
As a rising number of people use the in-app forum as a sounding board for their investment strategies, Mr Chia expects this social aspect of investing to grow in the years to come.
A leader in the sector
Such ground-breaking efforts are paying off for Futu, as evidenced by the size of its user base and rapid growth in the number of users in Singapore. They include users from other parts of South-east Asia who are based here. To cope with the expansion, the company is looking to grow its 10-man team to over 50 by the end of the year.
"The Singapore numbers illustrate that we are on the right track, and we're extremely excited for Futu to grow in the region in the coming months and years ahead," he says.
On growth forecasts, Mr Chia says the company expects an additional 700,000 paying clients across the globe by the end of this year, and about 20 per cent of these new clients are likely to come from the Singapore and US markets.
Being the pioneer online brokerage in the Asia-Pacific region to earn an individual investment-grade issuer rating of "BBB-" for strong capitalisation, adequate risk controls and business growth from S&P is another feather in Futu's cap.
"That gave us a lot of pride because it cements our position as a leading broker in the markets we are present in. I believe this will also provide us with a sturdy platform for further expansion into other parts of South-east Asia," says Mr Chia.
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