Fintech

Grab Acquires S'pore Startup Bento To Beef Up Financial Arm, To Launch In S'pore By Mid-2020

Ride-hailing giant Grab announced today the acquisition of Singapore-based robo-advisory startup Bento Invest Pte Ltd (Bento) for an undisclosed sum.

This new deal will allow Grab to offer retail wealth management solutions to users, driver-partners and merchant-partners via the Grab app.

Following this acquisition, Bento will be rebranded to GrabInvest. It will serve as as the fifth core business vertical under Grab’s financial services arm Grab Financial Group.

Other verticals include payments (GrabPay), rewards (GrabRewards), lending (GrabFinance) and insurance (GrabInsure).

This acquisition will also see a new appointment — Bento founder and CEO Chandrima Das will assume the role of Grab Financial Group’s new head of wealth management.

Chandrima has over two decades of leadership experience in banks and asset managers across Asia and the UK, and was formerly the Managing Director at Bank of Singapore.

What Does GrabInvest Do?

GrabInvest aims to offer cash management and portfolio-based financial solutions in Southeast Asia. It will launch products in the first half of the year in its first market, Singapore.

With GrabInvest, the firm hopes to “democratise access to retail wealth management products” so regional users have “the opportunity to save and invest in financial products traditionally limited to affluent individuals and institutional investors.”

Philip Chew, Head of Investments and New Businesses of Grab Financial Group said that it ultimately helps to bridge the gap in the “underserved retail wealth sector in Southeast Asia” while remaining “affordable, accessible and trusted.”

GrabInvest makes wealth management services accessible by adopting a low-cost model, and it’s also easy to understand because transaction takes place on a platform that’s familiar to users.

It also aims to be transparent by having zero hidden fees, and trusted by adhering to consumer protection standards outlined by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

According to the firm, the platform is built and backed by a team of seasoned asset management and banking professionals, who will join the GrabInvest team.

“In Southeast Asia, there is a lack of access to affordable wealth management products and retirement planning solutions for most people. As we face an increasingly volatile and uncertain economic environment, it is imperative for Southeast Asians to acquire the tools and knowledge to protect their future by sustainably building wealth for themselves and their families,” said Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director of Grab Financial Group.

“The launch of GrabInvest brings us a step closer to democratising access to affordable financial solutions that will help them achieve the financial stability they need well into their retirement years.”

Featured Image Credit: Edgar Su via Reuters

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