Public telephones, floppy disks and typewriters. They represent a bygone tech era. Will crumpled dollar bills and pocket-unfriendly coins join them one day?
The signs show that it may happen. According to an annual report on the region’s Internet economy by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co released on 3 October 2019 (the “report”), by 2025, almost one in every two dollars spent in South-east Asia will be via digital payments and such transactions are set to top US$1 trillion.
This surge is emblematic of South-east Asia’s sizzling Internet economy, one of the world’s hottest markets for the digital economy. In fact, the report shows that the value of digital transactions is on track to blaze past the $100 billion mark in 2019, backed by a burgeoning youthful population.
This new generation of savvy millennials in South-east Asia forms most of the 360 million online users in the region, according to the report. For them, using a mobile app to hail a ride or have food delivered can be done with eyes closed.
Yet managing their money remains elusive.
About half of South-east Asia's 400 million adults still do not own bank accounts, said the report. It added that only about a quarter have full access to financial services while another quarter have bank accounts but insufficient access to credit, investment and insurance services.
But the report also noted that digital financial services have the potential to plug the gaps, especially when it comes to consumers who are underserved in the financial sector.
Investments via online channels are still at a nascent stage, but the report expects its penetration rate to increase almost fourfold in the next five years, from 3 per cent of the population now to 11 per cent by 2025. This means a spike from $10 billion to $75 billion of assets under management.
This is one reason why UOB Asset Management Ltd (UOBAM) has been focused on delivering digital investment services to investors across the region. We launched UOBAM Invest, a robo-advisory service for corporate clients to manage investments and make their funds work harder for them.
Under UOBAM Invest, clients can complete an online risk assessment, input their investment goals and receive an investment portfolio in minutes. Clients can then opt to invest in the proposed portfolio or adjust it based on their desired investment horizon and risk appetite.
Portfolios will be created from a wide range of UOBAM-managed funds and global exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Digital investing has the potential to unleash a wave of productivity, boost value and help millions of investors reach their financial goals. It's a revolution that will reshape South-east Asia's financial landscape and we are raring to be part of it.
Visit UOBAM Invest to find out how you can unlock new opportunities for you and your company.
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