Singapore's Syfe enters stockbroking on retail investor wave

Syfe is also in the midst of setting up an office in Hong Kong, said CEO Dhruv Arora. PHOTO: SYFE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore-based digital wealth management start-up Syfe is expanding into stockbroking, tapping the increased global appetite among retail investors for trading services.

Investors will be able to join a wait list from Thursday (Dec 16) to gain early access to the Syfe Trade platform, which will initially allow trading of US-listed stocks and exchange-traded funds ahead of its official launch in January, according to a statement.

Syfe is also in the midst of setting up an office in Hong Kong and will offer trading of Singapore shares within three to six months, chief executive officer Dhruv Arora said in an interview.

"There's going to be a massive shift of wealth from savings accounts to investment accounts" amid Asia's economic rebound and ultra-low interest rates, Mr Arora said. The retail-trader participation in markets that ramped up last year isn't dissipating, he added.

The spike in trading interest from mom-and-pop investors during the pandemic has pushed a slew of tech-focused companies to set up brokerage units in Singapore, as it positions itself to be a fintech hub. Over the past two years, Tencent Holdings-backed Futu Holdings and Interactive Brokers Group opened offices while Xiaomi-backed Tiger Brokers released a trading app in Singapore, at a time China is increasing scrutiny of online brokerages.

Target demographic

Syfe Trade will start by giving customers five free trades each month then charge 99 US cents per trade. It will also offer fractional trading as it faces competition from wealth management platforms at banks and brokerages. Syfe's target customers are non-professional investors aged between 40 and 50, Arora said.

The company raised $40 million in July in a Series B funding round led by Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures.

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