8securities, the Hong Kong-based financial trading startup, will unveil its new Japanese website tomorrow afternoon. The launch represents the completion of a key goal as the startup had been targeting Japan for expansion since late 2012. To strengthen Japan operations and to facilitate a further expansion into China, 8securities is now raising a Series B round of US$5 million.
8securities will start by simply offering their standard trading platform, market data, and research. Customers will have access to over 10,000 stocks and exchange trading funds in the United States, Hong Kong, and China. Japanese stocks and exchange trading funds will be added in July. Additional services are on the way: a wealth management function will be added in three weeks and a social trading portal will also go live in July.
8securities co-founder and CEO Mikaal Abdulla spoke to Tech in Asia about each service. He described the brand new wealth management service as a simple tool to create an automated, customized portfolio. A customer starts by taking a brief survey to determine his or her risk profile and period of time for trading. 8securities then makes a global portfolio that can be monitored at any time. The startup offers support for all major operating systems so customers can follow their funds on any device. Abdulla says he wants to democratize asset management, noting that typical fund managers require a minimum $100,000 investment while 8securities only asks for a minimum of $7,000.
The social trading portal will be an opt-in service that creates complete trading transparency for all 8securities users. If a user chooses to join the portal then his or her transactions can be viewed by all the other users. Although gains are heavily influenced by the overall performance of the indices, 8securities users seem to be a savvy lot worth following. 2013 saw average customer gains of 20-30 percent. Abdulla further explains:
“If I want to receive a push notification to my mobile phone when more than five investors place a buy order for Apple shares its now possible. Our big data engine will allow customers to see virtually any piece of data they wish across individuals, stocks, geography and time horizon. Unlike social trading mobile apps or bulletin boards, we have combined the social interaction and the actual trade.”
The startup has progressed considerably since competing in the TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing Startup Battlefield back in November 2011. $12 million in capital has allowed the team of 45 to support 20,000 active monthly users who collectively hold $800 million in assets within 8securities services. The startup will likely find some room to roam in Japan – by Abdulla’s calculation, the Japan market has $17 trillion in investable assets.
For a closer look at the wealth management service please see the video below (Japanese only):Editing by Terence Lee