Portfolio in the palm of your hand
Mobile banking apps offer mutual fund options, aiming to entice novice investors
As equity markets have an improved outlook worldwide and interest rates are relatively low across the globe, investors eager for higher returns are turning to mutual funds, which have lapped deposit banking account.
Mobile banking users are largely familiar with banking transactions, but may not be used to accessing the investment menu.
This article explores the mutual fund investment features on the digital platforms of mobile banking apps.
The experience could attract depositors to become new investors, saving for the long term and earning a better return.
Mutual fund investment through a mobile banking app allows buying, selling, switching, and creating a personal investment portfolio.
Some commercial banks also connect their mobile banking app to an investment gateway of a subsidiary or a joint venture company.
SCB Easy, the mobile banking app of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), provides new features that are friendly for users and is equipped with an investment feature.
SCB Easy, the mobile banking app of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has an investment feature on the digital banking platform.
It uses an open architecture investment model, allowing investors to select mutual funds from both SCB Group and other asset management companies, which is a unique strategy among its peers.
Investors can select several mutual funds from four companies: CIMB-Principal Asset Management, Krungthai Asset Management, UOB Asset Management, and One Asset Management.
SCB Easy also offers new features on its discovery menu. The bank partners with Morningstar Research Thailand to provide customers the ability to see a more holistic view of the funds provided. Customers can do their own research when selecting a portfolio.
The app also provides recommended funds by the bank's chief investment officers and groups key funds into categories, making it easier for investors to browse.
Working with Morningstar, the company provides fund fact sheets, key ratings, and other helpful information for investors.
Users interested in a fund available on the app can directly purchase by clicking on "Invest Now".
In addition, SCB Easy connects with the investment app of SCB Securities Co (SCBS) dubbed Easy Invest. The linkage is meant to simplify mutual fund investment for beginners.
Easy Invest also uses an open architecture model, allowing investors to select from more than 1,200 mutual funds, both Thai and international, from 19 asset management companies.
The app requires a minimum amount of 5,000 baht upon account opening with SCB Securities, and requires monthly investment of at least 2,000 baht.
"Robo Advisor" is one feature of Easy Invest, which utilises artificial intelligence (AI). Investors can set personal investment conditions on the platform including investment objective, investment period, return on investment and risk appetite.
After determining the personal investment settings, Robo Advisor recommends three mutual funds to consider. Investors are free to choose any funds offered on the app.
"Your Top Funds" and "Trendy Funds" are two other tools meant to help investors select mutual funds. Trendy Funds ranks popular funds, helping investors learn about market trends based on AI technology.
"SCBS Recommendation" is another instrument to assist beginning investors in choosing mutual funds. The tool uses AI and data analytics to spit out recommended funds based on user preferences.
A mobile screen displays the K-Plus mobile application. Pornprom Satrabhaya
Kasikornbank (KBank) has the most users in Thailand for its mobile banking app, K-Plus, which also offers mutual fund investment.
Wealth PLUS is a robo-advisory feature on the digital platform that helps customers allocate a personal investment portfolio in line with their financial profile, risk appetite and requirements.
Wealth PLUS helps investors set investment objectives and goals. It also calculates investment amount and period, in line with the risk appetite of the client.
The feature offers two settings for investment purpose: general savings or major purchase.
Investors merely searching for higher returns than bank deposit rates select the general savings option. Investors with more ambitious goals such as buying a house, owning a car, or sending children to study abroad can opt for the major purchase objective.
Wealth PLUS then recommends investments and simulates their results over a time period, as well as helping with investment portfolio allocation.
KBank is scheduled to temporarily close K-Plus this month, including its investment feature, as part of a system upgrade.
The bank has not announced a specific period for the closure.
KBank subsidiary Kasikorn Asset Management also offers an investment app called K-My Funds, aiming to provide investors more convenience for investment on the digital platform.
KBank also collaborated with a fintech partner to develop the FinVest app, offering investment services based on the open architecture model.
Mobile banking apps offer mutual fund investment. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
Ladawan Permthongsuk, 32, works at a private company and said she began investing in mutual funds through K-Plus and SCB Easy after studying long-term investment for a while.
Until recently, she mostly used mobile banking apps for banking transactions, such as money transfers, bill payment, and buying goods and services via QR code.
In the first half of 2020, Ms Ladawan started to buy Covid-19 insurance policies on mobile banking apps and found the experience quite convenient.
This encouraged her to explore other financial products and services on mobile banking apps.
"I started to study mutual fund investment on mobile banking apps, then opened some accounts via the digital platform. I wanted a better return on investment than bank deposit rates," said Ms Ladawan.
"As a new investor, I had to study more, gradually expanding my portfolio because I was looking for low investment risk.
"Given the better return on mutual fund investment, I set a clearer investment goal targeting more money for some longer-term objectives. The monthly investment model offers me better financial discipline. I hope to meet my investment goal."
She also recently applied for Bangkok Bank's mobile banking app, Bualuang m-Banking, aiming to subscribe for PTT and Retail Business (OR)'s initial public offering shares through the app.
Ms Ladawan said she is using the app to learn about equity investment.