SINGAPORE, 31 AUGUST 2023 | MoneyOwl (or “The Company”) announced today that it is winding down its financial advisory business and that all commercial activities will cease by December 31, 2023.
The decision to wind down follows a joint review by the Company and its shareholder, NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Limited. The review concluded that the business would not be commercially viable, and a decision was made to redeploy resources to other areas where NTUC Enterprise can deliver greater social impact.
As part of the winding down process, MoneyOwl will transfer its investment and insurance businesses to iFAST Financial Pte Ltd (“iFAST”), which will reach out to MoneyOwl clients from September 2023. Investment clients may transact on MoneyOwl’s portal until October 24, 2023, and can do so on iFAST’s portal from October 25, 2023. The Company will cease to accept new insurance applications after September 8, 2023. Clients may continue to access MoneyOwl’s Comprehensive Financial Planning service and will writing service online until December 15, 2023, after which all MoneyOwl online services and account logins will be disabled. The Company will also deliver on its commitments to its Corporate Financial Wellness programme, which will be completed by December 2023.
iFAST is the existing custodian of MoneyOwl clients’ investment accounts. As part of the business transfer to iFAST, all MoneyOwl clients can continue to enjoy digital access to their portfolios via the iFAST platform at the same level of fees, as well as access to iFAST’s team of more than 60 advisers for both investments and insurance. Similar to MoneyOwl, iFAST focuses on clients’ protection when recommending insurance products and provides insurance commission rebates to clients.
“MoneyOwl was established in 2018 to address a gap in the mass market for comprehensive financial advice and focused on providing simple, unbiased fit-for-purpose financial planning solutions. Since then, we have continually invested resources in expanding our outreach, including leveraging our union network, to ensure that we can support as many people as possible in their financial planning journey. We consistently received positive feedback, and several of our pioneering innovations have also received industry accolades. However, we realised that there was not enough of a market in the gap,” said Ms. Chuin Ting Weber, the Company’s founding Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer.
“While many recognised the importance of financial planning, most did not take further action and far fewer were inclined to pay planning fees or purchase investment or insurance products through which we earned revenue. In addition, many of our fit-for-purpose solutions were designed with low fees to benefit mass market clients. This, coupled with the high costs associated with client acquisition, technology development, and a fully salaried workforce made it challenging to achieve commercial viability. Despite these challenges, we remained committed to our social mission and continued to focus on delivering the best for our customers, as well as investing in our technological assets to further the growth of the industry. However, at the end of the day, we are part of a social enterprise group, and it remains vital that we continue to steward resources wisely to better serve the broader interest of the Singapore community,” said Ms. Weber.
MoneyOwl has informed its employees of the decision to wind down the Company, and has engaged with the Banking and Financial Services Union (BFSU). MoneyOwl will offer fair and equitable compensation packages in line with market norms and provide the necessary support to employees during this period. MoneyOwl and BFSU will be arranging for employment facilitation and assistance via the Employment and Employability Institute, and working closely together to ensure that employees’ interests and welfare are taken care of.
“MoneyOwl started out as Singapore’s first bionic financial adviser to empower ordinary Singaporeans to make wise financial decisions and live their best possible lives. We are glad to see how MoneyOwl has enabled better financial planning outcomes for many Singapore families and thank MoneyOwl’s customers for their continued support over the years. We would also like to thank our MoneyOwl staff for their hard work and continued dedication in facilitating this transition,” said Mr. Seah Kian Peng, Group Chief Executive Officer, NTUC Enterprise.
Over the years, MoneyOwl has received several industry awards, including the Financial Planning Association of Singapore’s (FPAS) Center of Excellence for Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification – Star Award in 2022, the Singapore Fintech Festival Social Impact Award in 2021, and the SBR Technology Excellence Award in 2020, which bears testament to the impact it has had on the community. In line with its commitment to driving the growth of the industry, MoneyOwl will be transferring two of its industry-first, propriety technology assets to iFAST – the insurance robo-comparator and the insurance needs-analysis tool – which serve to promote greater transparency in insurance pricing and accelerate the digitalisation of the insurance advisory business.