Grab acquires Bento to assist SEA users with retail wealth solutions

Singapore-based ride-hailing giant Grab announced today that it has acquired local robo-advisory startup Bento to offer retail management to users via the Grab app. The amount for the acquisition was undisclosed.

With the acquisition, Bento is set to rebrand itself to GrabInvest, with the product targeted to kick off in the first half of the year. It will be led by Bento founder and CEO Chandrima Das.

The new product will allow Southeast Asian users to save and invest in “financial products traditionally limited to affluent individuals and institutional investors”, according to the company statement.

GrabInvest has also promised full transparency with their users by having “full disclosures on fees with zero hidden elements.” It has also assured users that it would be adhering to the consumer protection standards outlined by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Capital Markets Services (CMS) license.

“In Southeast Asia, there is a lack of accessibility to affordable wealth management products and retirement planning solutions for most people. As we face an increasingly volatile and uncertain economic environment, it is imperative for Southeast Asians to acquire the tools and knowledge to protect their future by sustainably building wealth for themselves and their families,” said Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director of Grab Financial Group, on the lack of awareness of wealth management products for SEA consumers.

“The launch of GrabInvest brings us a step closer to democratising access to affordable financial solutions that will help them achieve the financial stability they need well into their retirement years,” he noted.

GrabInvest will also be the fifth vertical under Grab's financial services arm. Further verticals include payments (GrabPay), rewards (GrabRewards), lending (GrabFinance), and insurance (GrabInsure).

Bento's platform has been known as a digital wealth platform that includes client onboarding, portfolio construction, and risk management capabilities. The technology also powers banks, wealth managers, brokers and insurance companies to launch digital wealth solutions.

Grab is also one of the contenders for the Singapore digital banking race, as it partners with Singtel at a stake of 60 per cent.

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