For the next in our “six questions” series we were excited to have the chance to catch up with 8 Securities CEO & Co-Founder, and Symbol: The Asian Fintech Summit speaker, Mikaal Abdulla. During our conversation we discussed robo-advisory services, the bleak future of traditional financial advisors, and the product needs of the millennial generation.
Can you tell us a little bit about 8 Securities?
8 Securities is a mobile investing service with an emphasis on simplicity, speed and value. We have two products. Our robo-advisor app is for passive customers and our trading app is for self-directed customers. 8 Securities is Asia’s first robo-advisor and $0 commission stock trading service. We have licensed offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo and serve approximately 60,000 customers. The founding team came from E*TRADE where we managed 15 geographies across Asia-Pacific, India, Europe, the Middle East and Canada.
What product key product decisions helped you to tailor to the millennial market?
In order to build products for Millennials we focused on mobility, a very simple user experience and value. Financial services have historically been designed to be complex. Complexity and mobility can not successfully coexist. We also wanted to make are service available for anyone with a savings account and a smartphone. As such, we have made access available for as low as $50. Finally, our products are built for Millennials by Millennials. We by design have a very young product and development team. We ask them to build products they would use. We also make it a point to develop products in public and like to get prototypes in the hands of users as early as possible. The development process tends to be highly fluid and dynamic as a result.
Are financial advisors a dying breed in the face of fintech?
Yes. The same arguments I hear for financial advisors are exactly the same I heard for brokers in the late 90s. Today, 70% of brokerage is online. I believe robo-advisor will have a very similar impact on the traditional wealth advisory industry. I do, however, think there will be a very clear generational distinction between of robo-advisor and advisory services. I think advisors will work for the technology and not the other way around.
What is your vision for the future of 8 Securities?
Our vision is to have Chloe, our new robo-advisor app, on the smartphone of anyone who has financial goals and needs support to achieve them. We will also be expanding to China and SE Asia in the coming year. We have a multi-market, multi-currency, multi-product and multi-lingual platform that makes international expansion very turnkey. This was a lesson learned at E*TRADE.
Beyond robo advisory, which areas of fintech are of interest to you?
PFM (personal financial management). I am very interested to see startups deliver very simple aggregation of financial accounts. There is a clear demand to have a single app that can show a consumer their bank, investments, credit cards and other services in a single view. The value comes in helping customers optimize those relationships. I loved Mint.com in the US and would love to see a similar service in Hong Kong. There are a few emerging in Japan.
Why are you excited to join us and speak at Symbol: The Asian Fintech Summit?
I am excited to speak at Symbol because its a rare opportunity to meet my peers and competitors. There is no better venue to share and test ideas. I tend to be highly transparent and I think its a trait quite common in the startup community. It benefits everyone.
Mikaal Abdulla will be one of 100+ speakers who will be joining us at Symbol: The Asian Fintech Summit to share their insights. To benefit, go ahead and secure your pass through our website!