The Online Investment Boom: Anderson Sumarli of Ajaib
Ant Financial’s IPO filing last week revealed that the Chinese fintech juggernaut currently boasts more than one billion annual active users, offering a glimpse into how utterly pervasive online financial services could become in markets such as Indonesia.
Indonesia’s fintech scene indeed continues to grow strongly by most measures, and this week’s Indo Tekno guest, Anderson Sumarli, CEO and Cofounder of Ajaib, is helping to lead this charge. Ajaib is an investing platform that allows Indonesians to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and other retail financial products. The company activated 200,000+ new retail investors in Indonesia in 2019, contributing one-quarter of all new retail investors in Indonesia last year.
The pandemic has moreover served to accelerate further Indonesia’s online retail investment boom. As an example, the daily average number of Indonesian retail stock investors transacting online surged by more than 82% in the four months between March 2020 and July 2020 alone, from 51,000 to 93,000 investors.
The simplest and most powerful component to Anderson’s vision of longer term secular growth in online retail investment is the fact that Indonesia has the largest capital markets in Southeast Asia but perversely has one of the world's lowest investment penetration rates, at less than 1%. There is one demographic that will continue driving the searing growth in this segment: Indonesia's mobile-first, digitally native millennials. They have proven particularly responsive to new "technology-first" trading platforms such as Ajaib. Unlike their parents, this group prefers a stock broker that is branchless, fully online and "mobile-first." As a technology-intensive, asset light online broker, Ajaib is able to offer zero commissions on mutual funds, and the lowest fees in the market for stock trading.
Anderson also addressed one of the most widely discussed transactions within Indonesia’s broader financial landscape this year, namely Ajaib’s acquisition of traditional securities broker PT Primasia Sekuritas, discussing plans around integrating services, personnel and other parts of the two businesses. The most alluring challenge facing players such as Ajaib remains a profound lack of financial literacy amongst retail investors. The platform has built the country’s largest repository of investment content in the Indonesian language in order to tackle this challenge. While Ajaib has an extensive roadmap of new products laid out over the next several months, its longer term mission is to leverage technology for two main purposes: 1) broadening educational initiatives around retail investing while 2) improving affordability to all.