HNWI-focused `bionic advisor' launched in Singapore

Added 14th October 2016

Bento, a joint venture set up by Singapore-based fintech startup Mesitis and former Bank of Singapore fund selector Chandrima Das, sees its bionic approach – a combination of human and robo – appealing to high net worth clients.

HNWI-focused `bionic advisor' launched in Singapore

Chandrima Das, co-founder and CEO of Bento

A lot of clients have traditional manually-managed portfolios that lag standard benchmarks, Das, now the co-founder and CEO of Bento, told FSA.

Tanmai Sharma, CEO of Mesitis and co-founder of Bento, agrees. Based on Mesitis' own data analytics, “Bento outperformed 80-90% of investors, which shows that the clients are lacking disciplined and long-term advice,” Sharma noted.

“Our proposition is to heavily use robo technology, and yet not eliminate the human element,” Das said, a combination that can lower fees and potentially generate better performance.

The automated part includes the selection of ETFs, which create customised and efficient portfolios as well as daily reporting, she said.

For Bento, minimum investment is $1m, and the fee is 0.3%. A model portfolio comprises of 40-60 ETFs across different asset classes, which the robo picks from a pool of 3,000 globally listed ETFs.

The human part involves fundamental research driven investment inputs - contributed by consultant firm Willis Towers Watson and know-your-customer procedures.

The firm also has its own portfolio advisors and product specialists to talk to clients, Das added. Recently brought on board are Mary Hu, who previously worked at Greenwich Associates and Cambridge Associates, and Rae Ho, who was a discretionary mandate consulting director at Julius Baer’s Singapore office.

“Investment decisions are based on strategic allocation inputs with a quarterly dynamic asset allocation overlay,” the firm said in the statement.

The firm suggests that clients build the portfolio over time and recommends an allocation of 10-15% into robo-driven investments.

The firm also thinks it differentiates itself from other competitors, such as US-based Hedgeable, which entered Asian markets earlier this week, in part because it is able to control home market bias, which is common among Asian investors.

In addition, Bento does not have artificial intelligence elements, which she said makes the service less complicated.

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