Fintech Singapore Startup of The Month: Bento, Asia’s First Bionic Advisorby Fintechnews Singapore October 3, 2016
Bento, a company of Mesitis Capital, is a bionic investment advisor that merges algorithm-powered asset allocation models with a human touch that promises better portfolio performance, productivity and user experience for a fraction of the cost of a traditional human-only advisor.
A bionic advisor is at the intersection between robot and human. Unlike a robo-advisor which a fully automated solution in which technology takes the place of a human advisor, a bionic advisor makes smart use of technology to enhance client relationships. The bionic advisor will typically interact with the client via a portal, use algorithms to test out strategies, and let technology help with the routine tasks, like producing reports.
Bento’s investment platform aggregates clients’ holdings data across multiple banks and offers holistic advice based on actual real client data. It provides custom-built, ETF portfolios based on clients’ needs and objectives.
According to co-founder and CEO Chandrima Das, the investment process is based on basic tenets of portfolio theory executed through an optimizer built in-house, with detailed portfolio visualization. It incorporates strategic and dynamic asset allocation aided by the same market-leading research that institutional investors rely on.
The product platform can be implemented into both B2B and B2C solutions and can be transported across Asia and Europe.
For high net wealth individuals and family offices, Bento brings an institutional flavor. The solution allows them to invest into core portfolios which encourage long term investing (strategic asset allocation) through market cycles with periodic rebalancing of portfolios (tactical asset allocation).
For this segment, Bento currently serves customer with assets in Singapore-based private banks and custodians although it plans to expand to Hong Kong, Dubai, Switzerland and London, Das said.
For banks and private wealth managers, there is a separate product offering which allows businesses to build core portfolios with low touch delivery through white labeling options.
The solution can also be implemented into smaller institutions’ investment offices for asset allocation and reporting purposes.
Das said that the company is expected to have their first group of institutional customers coming from Singapore. It plans to expand to key Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, which would allow for institutional customers’ assets to be invested outside of their respective home markets.
Canopy, Mesitis’ account aggregation and visualization platform, currently manages over US$4.4 billion worth of assets with clients from eight countries and 69,000 transactions.
Value proposition and competitive advantages
Bento aims at delivering a cheaper alternative to the average 2.5% per annum typically charged by private banks with a competitive advisory fee of 0.3% per annum.
It was designed and structured to keep conflict of interest out of the advisor/client relationship. Concretely, this means that Bento is only compensated by the client via portfolio management or advisory fees with absolutely no retrocession, bid-offer fees or hidden charges.
Bento was launched in May and is a Mesitis group company. Mesitis is a Singaporean fintech startup that builds and delivers solutions for the private wealth market.
Mesitis currently offers three products: Bento, Canopy and Conduit Securities, an agency-only execution provider specializing in global equity and fixed income markets, serving professional clients and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Featured image: Female human and robot’s handshake by Willyam Bradberry, via Shutterstock.com.