Versa aims to disrupt wealth management in Malaysia

Written by Kapronasia || October 03 2023

Versa is aiming to disrupt the Malaysian wealth management market with its all-digital platform, which has benefited from ample investor interest and funding, as well as rapid customer acquisition. In 2022, Versa’s gross transaction volume doubled year on year, and the company aims to sustain this pace of growth until 2026.

Traditional wealth management services providers in Malaysia have been the local banks and the branches of foreign banks. However, as the field developed, more service providers have entered the market, among them stock brokers as well as premier and private banks. Additionally, it has become common for private wealth managers to provide more than one option to clients for wealth and asset management.

Versa appears to be targeting a more middle-income demographic than the HNWI segment that traditional wealth managers favor – those with at least US$1 million in liquid assets, and sometimes more. Instead, Versa is offering its service to customers who invest as little as 10 ringgit and with that in mind is catering to a mass-market customer who wants to avoid paying a sales fee – typically not a concern for an HNWI as long as the customer is satisfied with the wealth manager – and those who want the flexibility to be able to withdraw their money at any time.

Instead of a sales fee, Versa charges a management fee. For its low-risk Versa Cash savings product, the fee is 0.3% per annum, while for its high-risk Versa Invest product, the fee is 0.3% to 1.8%.  

Versa faces a fair bit of competition in this market. Among Versa's competitors are Singapore-based StashAway, which most recently raised $12.67 million in a Series D+ funding round backed by Hamilton Lane, and Sequoia Capital India, among others. Another competitor is GO Invest, a product under Touch 'n Go eWallet, Malaysia's largest eWallet company. Its owner and operator is TNG Digital, a subsidiary of Touch 'n Go Group. TNG Digital in July 2022 raised US$168.3 million in an equity funding round led by e-commerce giant Lazada Group.

For now, Versa operates only in Malaysia, but it has plans to expand regionally. “Our core focus now is to build more financially resilient families, particularly among the younger demographic,” chief executive officer Teoh Wei-Xiang told Malaysia’s StarBiz. “As for our mid to long-term goals, we have already identified specific countries for expansion, including Thailand and the Philippines, once our technology stack is mature,” Teoh said.