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Building the Next Stage of Fintech By leveraging technology and blockchain, Shareable Asset plans to continue the evolution of the financial services space

By Kook Fei Wong

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The recently launched Shareable Asset is a fintech firm that aims to provide a safe and secure investment platform that provides equal access to all investors which previously was only accessible to sophisticated and institutional investors. By subdividing expensive real estate ownership where each digitized security token represents fractional ownership, we aim to change the real estate investment landscape and present opportunities which are otherwise out of reach.

Herein, all income streams generated by real estate assets will be distributed among investors, and at the end of an agreed holding period, assets will be divested with the aim of realizing capital gains. This development is the latest in a long history of growth and innovation in the fintech space.

History of Innovation

In the early second millennium, people thought of technology as a separate distinct standalone industry. Technology was separate, unique and altogether mostly foreign to businesses, industries and the financial system. It was the domain of major innovators such as Microsoft which invented operating systems and Google which invented and introduced search engines to the world. Fast forward 19 years, everything has changed. Instead of being viewed as a distinct industry, every company aspires to be a technology company—or at least incorporate technology—to improve its operational efficiency, or to change its inefficient way of conducting business.

A similar dynamic is playing out in the financial services sector, which used to be an entirely distinct vertical market—the domain of banks, fund managers, payment processors, credit card issuers and insurance companies. Through innovation led by fintechs, the financial services industry is poised to become horizontal as well and permeate across the fractured barriers of the global economy.

Many global banks have not set their sights nearly high enough in response to disruptive fintechs and technology. They have been very cautious, often playing a defensive role, with digital initiatives primarily designed to counter moves by actual or potential disruptors. Even banks that would like to be more aggressive find it difficult to know exactly what to do.

Large banks, like many incumbents, have been inundated with new technologies and business opportunities, leaving them confused about where to focus and dissipating their resources. Most big global banks have the tools and advantages to push the boundaries of their existing business models but they are not incubators. They are certainly motivated but what hampers their progress is uncertainty about the optimal method to build on core strengths to create sustainable outcomes.

In recent times, a number of global banks have entered into joint ventures with fintechs that fit nicely into their digital and technological push into the new world of finance. This will likely be the route global banks take going forward; to invest in fintechs that add value to their technological ambitions which will make an immediate impact to their operations.

Hence, digital technology and big data/analytics are still poised to shake up the financial-services industry. Investors believe fintech start-ups will become a significant force in the future, valuing those in the US at $120 billion, or about 7 per cent, of the total equity of American banks, and increasing.

Globally, nearly half the world is still unbanked or under-banked. Financial innovations such as mobile banking are including people into the formal financial system, often for the first time. It is estimated that by 2024 mobile financial services transactions in emerging markets are set to surpass $1 trillion.

In conclusion, this fintech trend will only accelerate. More and more fintechs will be emerging globally, driven by three mutually reinforcing reasons: an evolution towards regulatory openness, a rise of fintech enablers and a growing global outlook and reach which is more cost efficient.

Improving the Lives of Individuals

Depending on the life stage and risk appetite of the investor, there are three main objectives of investment: safety, growth and income. Every investor invests with a specific objective in mind and each investment has its own unique set of benefits and risks. Initially, Shareable Asset intends to focus on real estate, an asset class which everyone is familiar with. Our priority and main objective is to identify real estate investment which strikes a fine balance among risk, income stream and potential capital appreciation.

We hear and read too often, not just in Singapore but in other parts of Asia, the non-financial-literate investors losing their savings or retirement funds when a risky investment goes sour. Even the savvy and financial-literate investors could lose their principal sum when investing in risky schemes or when market conditions change.

To build a dynamic and inclusive digital investment platform regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Shareable Asset adopts blockchain technology to document transaction and ownership, designed to be immutable, tamper-proof and democratic.

As mentioned earlier with an initial focus on real estate, Shareable Asset eventually aims to disrupt and change the future of the debt and equity capital market landscape where our platform will provide innovative funding alternatives for all start-ups and established businesses in addition to tangible asset owners.

With advanced technological capabilities, asset owners and investors will converge at the platform where fundraising will be efficient and frictionless. Investors will be able to explore a one-stop investment platform for opportunities which were previously only open to selective investors. Additionally, for asset and business owners, the platform in contrast to the traditional capital market fundraising method will be more cost-effective without the middlemen from financial institutions.

Kook Fei Wong

CEO of Shareable Asset

Kook Fei Wong is CEO of Shareable Asset. He has 34 years of working experience in the banking and finance industry and has held various senior positions in global banking institutions and financial services companies. He aims to improve the debt capital market fundraising landscape to be more cost efficient and provide a secure investment platform where asset owners and investors converge.