Singapore-based Lu International, a wealth management subsidiary of Chinese fintech unicorn Lufax, and Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank), on Tuesday rolled out a new service for individual investors in Thailand to buy mutual funds from across the world, according to an announcement.
The application allows Lu International to tap into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy where mutual funds only account for 10% of Thailand’s THB 44 trillion (USD 1.5 trillion) capital market. As for KBank’s 16 million deposit customers, only 2% are putting their money in funds, its president Patchara Samalapa said.
Patchara added that the app aims to target Thai retail clients who prefer to invest in both local and foreign wealth management products through digital channels. They will have access to foreign mutual funds from “early next year.” The bank said it plans to open at least 120,000 accounts, with an investment volume of over THB 14 billion (USD 463,100).
“Although Thailand is fast becoming an aged society, most of its population still lacks any investment plan to save up sufficient money for their retirement. Of Thailand’s 70 million people, fewer than 5% have invested either directly in the stock market or through a mutual fund,” said Chonladet Khemarattana, CEO and co-founder of Robowealth Mutual Fund Brokerage Securities, which supports the new service.
Lu International set up in Singapore in 2017 as Lufax’s first international arm outside China at the time. The firm launched a wealth management platform in the city state in the same year, followed by Hong Kong.
The news comes almost three weeks after Lufax, an online financial services platform backed by Ping An Insurance Group, went public on the New York Stock Exchange raising USD 2.36 billion, the largest listing of a Chinese firm in the US this year. CEO Greg Gibb told CNBC in an interview that the company was eyeing international expansion, calling Southeast Asia “a great long-term opportunity.”
“Many of the markets in Southeast Asia are still smaller than a province in China, so our immediate priority for the next three of four years in terms of growth is clearly the domestic market,” Gibb said.