24 February 2019
Hong Kong-based 8 Limited offers robo-advisory, online brokerage and wealth management app services. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong-based 8 Limited offers robo-advisory, online brokerage and wealth management app services. Photo: HKEJ

Nomura to invest US$25 billion in HK-based fintech startup

Japan’s investment banking giant Nomura said it will invest about US$25 million in Tokyo-based 8 Securities and its Hong Kong parent company 8 Limited, which offers a financial advisor and wealth management app powered by artificial intelligence.

According to a March 30 statement, Nomura Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nomura Holdings, will invest 1.6 billion yen (US$15 million) in 8 Securities and another 1.1 billion yen (US$10 million) in its Hong Kong parent in exchange for shares issued by the two companies in a Series C funding round.

Nomura will hold the majority of the outstanding shares of 8 Securities, which provides discretionary robo-advisory services through mobile apps for trading in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Japan.

As part of the strategic partnership, Nomura, Japan’s largest brokerage and investment banking group, plans to work with 8 Securities to launch new digital wealth management services, including robo-advisory and mobile investing solutions for millennials and young clients.

With the deal, Normua aims to leverage the functions of the 8 Securities platform to deliver high value-added services to its clients, and provide similar services to other financial institutions.

The two companies will work together to launch the Normura Asset Management index funds on the 8 Securities platform from this fall. It will also pursue strategic collaboration with 8 Securities in fintech businesses in Asia, the statement said.

Leveraging on 8 Securities’ mobile app development, Nomura also plans to “provide investment services not only to investors in the asset accumulation phase, but also to a wide range of clients including experienced investors”.

“The newly injected capital will enable 8 Securities Group to accelerate customer growth, develop new products and R&D, increase the size of the software development team, and expand into new geographies,” 8 Securities chief executive Mikaal Abdulla said in a press release.

The Japanese financial giant intends to complete the investments by early April.

As of last December, 8 Securities has a capital of 1.17 billion yen, which is wholly owned by 8 Limited, which provides robo-advisory services, online brokerage and wealth management app services in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong firm was founded by Mathias Helleu and Mikaal Abdulla. Prior to starting the company, the two managed E*TRADE across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, India, and Canada.

The fintech startup is known for having launched Asia’s first robo-advisor, named Chloe, and zero commission stock trading apps like Tradeflix.

In an interview with Tech in Asia, Abdulla said: “We decided to raise a larger round now in order to invest much more in marketing and to expand our software development team.”

While claiming that the startup does not expect to enter any new markets this year, Abdulla said the company considers Southeast Asia and China as top targets for expansion in 2019.

“The average age of Nomura’s customers is between 60 to 80,” Abdulla told Tech in Asia, “but Nomura is committed to launching mobile products and services for millennials and sees us as a strategic partner to do that.”

According to the startup, the average user of its AI advisor is 27, while for spinoff app Tradeflix it’s 30.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 4

Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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