At the 2018 Yabuli Youth Forum Innovation Annual Meeting on June 23, FinEX Asia co-founder and President Angie Lin explained how simplicity, transparency and efficiency are the biggest pain points for financial technology in Asia. The following is the text of the speech, edited for length.
FinEX Asia, a Hong Kong-based financial technology company founded in 2017, now has three major businesses: asset management, private equity and lending. The central idea of the entire business is to help Asian investors make most efficient use of technology, through asset management, private equity funds and lending.
In just one year, we opened offices in Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore, and FinEX Asia’s technology team is located in Shenzhen. With fixed income assets in excess of US$100 million, the total asset management portfolio is more than US$230 million. Our consumer credit investment portfolio has more than 20,000 loans.
Focusing on customers
In the past ten or twenty years, the success of the Internet has centered on customer experience. Consumers now have independence – to find a ride with Uber, find movies they want to watch on Netflix – all consumption habits and places of consumption are centered on their own preferences and convenience.
Financial technology is also on the road to different success in an Internet age. The core question is: Who is the consumer around which this business model should be built? The people in charge of the world are divided into three categories: institutional investors, family offices and our common general investors. However, each of these are still sources of capital, so in the end, capital is the customer.
As customers, investors are concerned with the risk-reward benefit, liquidity, legality in their jurisdiction, transparency and scale. When designing a product or providing a service, we must begin with what investors really need, and how technology can help us to meet those needs.
China’s technology has developed so fast because it started from nothing. The Ali ecosystem illustrates how when a new service is launched, it needs the support of the corresponding technology. In the US, there are very complete payment and logistics systems, but China did not have it, so the customers using Taobao needed a complete payment procedure, which led to the creation of Alipay.
The same is true of the core technology of Dianrong, our strategic technology partner and one of the leading marketplace lending platforms in China. There is a large volume of sound, systematic market data in China, but the data is scattered in different places. The investor, or customer, needed a faster, more effective way to aggregate and analyze this data. No matter what form it takes, investors need to access the market, and the ability to adjust the interface. As investors use the core platform more, we learn more about what services are most needed.
Hearing from our customers
As we listened to our customers, we heard that investors were looking for good fixed income investments with clear risk parameters, diversification and income opportunity. Our US consumer credit fund has proved to be just that type of investment, as it offers stable returns despite economic cycles – including the 2008 global financial crisis.
At the same time, we also heard our customers say they want a better way to get involved in private equity in the next few years. Participants in the equity market constantly search for good investment targets, and when we apply our core technology to this search process, it shows us good investments and matches them with the investors, according to their goals.
Simplicity, customization, transparency and efficiency are the biggest pain points that fintech has to solve. In Asia, where capital is concentrated, efficiency is the pursuit of all investors. The reason for our growth is to find the most suitable investments for creating value for our customers and their capital.
Our investors are located around the world, so we must adapt to their needs in different markets. Many of these investors are accustomed to capital hubs, such as London, San Francisco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Middle Eastern countries. Therefore, our expectation for FinEX Asia is to become a fintech platform originating in China and leveraging Hong Kong as a global financial center to bring investors, our customers, the products and services they need.