Cover Michele Ferrario, co-founder and CEO of StashAway (Photo: Courtesy of StashAway)

The co-founder and CEO of Asia's digital wealth manager, StashAway, makes wealth management accessible to all

Working in Singapore in the mid-2010s as the CEO of online retailer, Zalora, Michele Ferrario had more funds than time. “I was accumulating cash in the bank,” says the co-founder and CEO of StashAway. “I had had two kids by then, and I didn’t want to spend my evenings and weekends managing an investment portfolio. I had two bank accounts, and I went to both banks so they could build me a portfolio of Exchange-traded Funds (ETFs). But they made it extremely difficult to do so. I talked to a few people and it turned out it wasn’t just me: investing is not made easy by the financial services industry in this region.”
 
When Ferrario looked into how people in Asia allocated their wealth, he found that the proportion of assets in cash can often be as high as 40 per cent—compared, for example, to 14 per cent in the US.
 
Ferrario spent the first half of his career working in financial services and the second half building consumer internet companies. Upon finding that digital wealth management services weren’t available in Asia, he decided to launch StashAway, a digital wealth management platform that empowers people to build long-term wealth. StashAway’s proprietary investment framework, Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation (ERAA®), allocates assets to a portfolio depending on macroeconomic data and on an investor’s risk appetite and time horizon.
 
“When we built the product five years ago, it was to solve our own problems—those of well-paid, white-collar professionals at a phase where they start thinking about life in a more serious way,” says Ferrario. “That’s who we thought we were addressing early on. We set a $10 minimum balance to make it easier to test, and we saw a lot of younger clients joining us; they appreciated the service’s digital nature, intelligent framework and cost-efficiency. Then we also saw a lot of high-net-worth individuals—in fact, they make up 20 per cent of our Assets Under Management (AUM)—and we realised that even people in that sector are not getting served by private banks. Therefore, just a couple of weeks ago, we’ve launched a new offering designed only for Accredited Investors (AIs) in Singapore—StashAway Reserve."

With StashAway Reserve, AIs can now access private equity and venture capital (PE and VC), angel investing deals, invest in crypto, and get unbiased wealth advisory. For PE and VC, StashAway was able to lower the entry barriers significantly. Traditionally PE and VC minimums would start at $250,000 USD to $1 million USD per fund. At StashAway, AIs can get exposure to 6-10 funds with as low as $50,000 USD. The selected funds are from the world’s leading fund managers, like Carlyle, KKR, and Insight Partners.

Additionally, StashAway has collaborated with XA Network to bring AIs access to promising early-stage startups in Southeast Asia. Now, AIs can become angel investors together with members of XA Network—some of the most senior tech executives from Google, Grab, Netflix, Lazada and more. AIs can get exposure to 10-20 startups with a single investment starting from $20,000 USD.

Reserve also offers AIs exposure to crypto as StashAway believes that controlled exposure could provide diversification for investors. Clients can add exposure to digital assets through two high-quality, institutional-grade ETFs while being able to control the risk they wish to take.

Finally, traditionally, wealth management offerings can often be purely sales-driven. Quite frequently, a financial advisor is a salesperson who recommends products that result in the largest commission, not necessarily serving to help clients with their financial goals. To ensure unbiased, comprehensive financial and investment advice, StashAway assigns a certified and trained Wealth Advisor to every Reserve client. Clients will be able to reach out to their Wealth Advisors whenever they need.

Learn more about StashAway here

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