Lufax, a Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender and wealth manager backed by Ping An Insurance, is to launch an online-only retail investment platform for the Chinese market in Singapore.
China-based Ping An Group announced the plans for the new investment platform on Monday, Singapore’s Straits Times and other Asian publications reported on Monday.
The platform will be Lufax’s first outside of China, and was seen by some observers as evidence that Singapore’s recent efforts to encourage fintech businesses to establish themselves there, as opposed to in other jurisdictions, are paying off.
The new platform, to be known as the Lu International (Singapore) Financial Asset Exchange, has received an in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for its capital markets services (CMS) licence, and will launch in the third quarter, the reports noted.
They said that it will target middle-income offshore retail investors, who typically have less investible wealth than those catered for by private banks, which is seen as marking a shift away from Lufax’s roots.
According to the Straits Times‘s report, the peer-to-peer lender Lufax has more than 31 million registered users after just six years in operation.
It quotes Lufax chief executive Kit Wong as saying that under the terms of its CMS licence, the Lu International exchange is considered an “offshore platform”, so “we’ll be targeting primarily offshore investors… with US$20,000 to US$30,000” to invest.
Wong added that although Lu International will focus on the Chinese offshore market at first, “depending on the volume… we [will] assess the other different markets” such as Indonesia, the Straits Times reported.
As reported here last year, Singapore has stated its intention of becoming Asia’s No. 1 fintech centre, and its financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, has introduced numerous measures aimed at encouraging fintech companies to set up in Singapore and expand their operations there.
In its report today on the Lu International platform in Singapore, the Reuters news organisation noted that Lufax had “also considered Australia and the Middle East”, but that Singapore was easy to communicate with, as the Monetary Authority of Singapore acts as the single regulator for fintech, according to Lufax chief executive Gregory Gibb.