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Business deals

Vietnam's VinaCapital buys Singapore robo-advisory platform

Fund to help Smartly crack more Southeast Asian investment markets

Smartly seeks to provide users with basic financial literacy and an opportunity to invest easily at a low fee.

HANOI -- Ho Chi Minh-based investment firm VinaCapital on Tuesday announced the acquisition of the operations of Singapore-based robo-advisory investment platform Smartly Pte Ltd.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2015, Smartly seeks to provide users with basic financial literacy and an opportunity to invest easily with full transparency and at a low fee.

In 2016, Smartly began discussions with VCG Partners, the Singapore subsidiary of VinaCapital, to launch a platform together. This was followed by the launch of Smartly's robo-advisory services in 2017.

“By partnering with VinaCapital, we took a different approach to launching a robo-advisory platform than the rest of the pack. We were able to allocate valuable capital to places where it was most needed, stay focused on execution, and maintain strong financials and unit metrics,” said Smartly co-founder Keir Veskivali.

“This acquisition of Smartly’s operations and the additional capital injections will enable Smartly to scale-up, expand to new markets, and realize its full potential to become the leading digital wealth management platform in the region,” he added.

Veskivali will continue to support the company as a consultant and will work with VinaCapital on other tech ventures, while co-founders Artur Luhaaar and Kentwell Kwok have decided to pursue other projects.

“Smartly has been a trailblazer in robo-advisory services in Singapore, and we look forward to building on the momentum and expanding to other Southeast Asian markets as their regulatory environments allow. For example, in Vietnam, current laws do not address robo-advisory services, creating significant risks for investors who elect to invest with some of the start-ups in the market that claim to offer such services,” said VCG Partners CEO Jason Ng.

Founded in 2003, VinaCapital is a leading investment management and real estate development firm with a diversified portfolio of $1.8 billion in assets under management.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

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