TECHNOLOGY

Clueless About Investment? This Singaporean Start-up Gives You Instant Advantage

The aptly-named Advantedj makes financial influencers accessible to aspiring investors.

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 23 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

According to wealth management industry veteran Kelvin Goh, there is a gap in the investment market for high-quality financial advice for individuals who aren’t in the ultra-high net worth (UHNW) category.

Much of the fintech developments in investment advisory for wealth management, avers Goh, is driven by private banks with UHNW clients. For everybody else, “the current options available are generally passive investments like index funds that track the entire stock market, or robo-advisors that automatically allocate their money,” he relates.

With a goal to make valuable financial insights available to those looking to dip their toes into the investment arena, Goh co-founded Advantedj, a P2P online platform for investment insights specifically for PMETs (professional, manager, executive, and technician). Unlike B2B startups, B2C robo-advisors, banks, online forums, and personal financial advisors, Advantedj levels the playing field by making financial influencers accessible to amateur investors.

Access to Financial Influencers

Through the platform, Advantedj encourages financially savvy individuals to share their investment ideas or themes they understand. When the platform launched earlier this month, Goh shares Advantedj has more than 40 model portfolios or “Edjes” in its system, with the platform tracking the performance of these Edjes, ranking and publishing them daily.

“Unlike other advisory or trading platforms, we focus only on performance, actual verified results, to help investors make better decisions. Our internal ratings are dynamic and based on performance that matter to our members. You always benefit first before having to pay any fees. That’s our commitment and the fair way,” says Goh, who has over 15 years of experience in the wealth management industry.

On Advantedj, the average investor benefits from easily setting up free accounts. Instead of paying up to $500 on upfront fees and other recurring fees on a $10,000 investment, they can subscribe to Edjes by paying a nominal $3 per day per subscription for valuable insights on what to buy directly. Based on this, investors can quickly and cheaply build and manage their own portfolio directly. The entire process translates to immediate savings with long-term benefits of being in control of their own investments.

Based on estimates and comparing against buying into a popular mutual fund, a $10,000 investment amount using an Edj to manage one’s portfolio could potentially save amateur investors more than $1,200 over five years. “That’s money that should belong to the investor,” points out Goh.

Democratizing the Southeast Asian investment space

The founders of Advantedj share a common goal to increase the awareness and investing knowledge among young adults, especially those in their 30s as they face the real social challenges of providing for their parents over a longer period of time and the economic prospects of a job market with stagnating wage growth.

From Advantedj’s research, the average investor is often afraid of the stock market due to traditional barriers to information and good advice. He doesn’t trust financial advisors who often have a lack of accountability and experience. He values peer feedback, dislikes paying a high cost to get started, and is interested in having more control over his investments.

“As an independent advisor, many clients gave the same feedback. They are wary of banks and intimidated by the amount of information available,” says Goh. “Out of fear, they tend to keep their money in bank deposits, which currently earns less than 1%, lower than the inflation rate. They don’t realize that their hard-earned money is actually losing value by doing nothing.”

Unfortunately, there is a physical limitation to serve the huge gap in the PMET market. “PMETs are underserved and increasingly sophisticated,” says Goh. “They are sufficiently astute to know that when they go to a bank, they face significant conflicts of interest and high fees, which they get charged regardless of whether their investments make money. It’s also frustrating for them to deal with junior relationship managers who often don’t know any more than the customers themselves,” he shares, adding Advantedj is the only independent online platform that provides financial insights with the assurance that it is affordable, user-friendly, and committed to results.

By addressing a growing problem today by fostering a self-sustaining and organic eco-system for investment insights, Advantedj is expected to gain a strong following regionally with the increasing number of PMETs in Singapore and neighboring countries.

“With the impending partnership with a licensed financial advisor, there are plans to expand into Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand — countries with growing middle class, and where there is high usage and adoption of online services,” states Goh.