Creating a Niche as a Digital Brokerage

“Our goal is for our equity trading clients to seek wealth management services after investing in a variety of assets.” — Chanchai Kultavarakorn, Executive Chairman, ASL Securities

Amid intense competition and digital transformation, ASL Securities aims to leverage its expertise in digital brokerage services and its connection with partners across various financial industries to become the nation’s most comprehensive online financial institution. .

ASL started operations in 2015 when online businesses started to play an active role in the Thai economy.

The company is Thailand’s first brokerage to market itself as an online broker, aiming to attract clients through lower commission rates achieved using a digital brokerage system.

LOVE OF TECHNOLOGY

Chanchai Kultavarakorn, executive chairman of ASL, said the company will fully integrate technology into all aspects of its business to reduce costs and increase investor access.

Technology will be a key driver of growth for business and the securities industry because it can make every business more profitable, he said.

“I think the securities industry can move forward and be competitive by using technology,” Chanchai said.

“ASL uses the advantages of cost management to create added value for customers.”

He said ASL is ready to expand into other financial businesses to complement its brokerage. The company is licensed to engage in several other securities businesses such as investment banking, financial advisory, and fund sales.

PARTNERSHIPS MATTER

ASL has partnerships with two major domestic and international banks which will serve as the basis for ASL’s business expansions in the future, Chanchai said.

On June 26, 2019, ASL became a strategic partner of Government Savings Bank (GSB) as part of the bank’s program to expand into securities investment by acquiring a 25% stake in ASL.

Through this partnership, GSB and ASL are working to develop and expand a trading channel for investments in stocks, mutual funds and bonds.

In early 2020, GSB connected its customer base to ASL by launching securities trading services and encouraging customers to open trading accounts both in person at physical branches and through the MyMo app, which has 5.5 million active users.

By utilizing GSB’s 1,116 branches and more than 1,500 licensed investment staff nationwide, ASL has been able to quickly expand its customer base, he said.

Then, on January 28, 2022, ASL announced another partnership with Bank of China Thai (BOCT), in which ASL serves as a distributor of BOCT’s financial and investment products in Thailand, while providing access to Chinese and international exchanges. from all over the world via ASL’s online platform.

Chanchai said ASL’s business structure is divided into two main divisions, comprising equity trading and wealth management, with the latter due to start in May.

“We prepared our wealth management division for 14 months. Our goal is for our equity trading clients to seek wealth management services after investing in a variety of assets,” he said.

Mr. Chanchai said the company has added three new wealth management teams and equipped each team with experienced wealth managers from United Overseas Bank, Kasikornbank and Thanachart Bank to ensure that clients get effective resolution of their queries. ‘investment.

He said any ASL client can easily access all asset classes with a single account, while wealthy investors can simultaneously receive advisory services from the firm’s investment team without seeking the services of other wealth management companies.

A major difference is Mr. Chanchai’s view that wealth management services should not be designed to serve only wealthy clients, but also general investors with smaller funds, as they also need a effective portfolio management, which can be done inexpensively on an online platform.

He said ASL’s Wealth Research team is developing various investment programs to help investors at all levels diversify their portfolios and choose the products that best suit their appetite for wealth. risk and expected returns.

“Instructions and advice will be available online so that people with less funds can plan their investments through the online system without minimum requirements. Clients who want long-term investments can choose to invest on their own or seek investment advice from the wealth management team,” says Chanchai.

BRIGHT PERSPECTIVES

In its seventh year of operation, ASL will continue to base its services online as the company believes that the finance and investment industry will be primarily focused on digital and financial technology in the future, it said. -he declares.

Mr. Chanchai believes that doing business in this new era will not require a large amount of capital or multiple physical branches, as more business activities will be done online on websites, apps and through digital marketing.

More businesses will choose to operate on social media to reach a new generation of customers, he said.

All businesses, including those in the financial sector, are being disrupted by technology, Chanchai said.

Business loans may decrease as large companies can raise funds through multiple means, such as listing shares on the stock exchange or issuing debt securities. These two channels allow companies to raise funds directly from the public and dexterously manage their business by reducing reliance on loans, he said.

Investors are now more financially savvy and can choose from options suited to their risk tolerance, Chanchai said. They can invest in low-risk assets such as money market funds and deposits, or aim for higher returns by using investment companies.

In Thailand, the investment management industry has a market capitalization of around 5 trillion baht, which is relatively small compared to the 14 to 15 trillion baht in bank deposits, he said.

Chanchai believes more funds will be transferred to wealth and asset management firms, in line with the global trend.

Deposits with securities firms regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission are highly secure because these firms are required to clearly separate customer deposit accounts from corporate capital pools, he said.

Customer deposits are protected even if a company fails, meaning more investors can consider deposits with securities firms to capture low-risk returns, Chanchai said.

Along with the digitization of traditional business operations, digital assets are another trend that is pushing many financial institutions, including banks, to adapt to a changing landscape. Some big banks have already jumped on the bandwagon, he said.

According to Chanchai, ASL is interested in the digital asset industry, but it needs time to assess the risk and study the feasibility of this business.

The company first wants to wait and see how the market develops, he said.

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