Standard Chartered Malaysia’s SmartStocks breaks equity investment barriers

Standard Chartered Malaysia has shaken up the equity investment landscape for the country’s investors with the launch of SmartStocks, an online equity platform that offers a stock diversification avenue for clients without making them cough up exorbitant costs. The offering not only cements the firm’s long-standing commitment to the country, but also shows how digital tools can be used to make stock investing accessible and affordable.

Standard Chartered has a rich history in Malaysia, having set up its first branch in the country in 1875. Over the years, its commitment to its clients and the country has strengthened as the bank continues to lead the way on many innovations in the Malaysian financial industry.

One such innovation is SmartStocks, an online equity platform on a banking app ecosystem unveiled by the firm in September 2022 to bring online equity capabilities to clients in Malaysia. Its proposition is certainly exciting: it gives clients convenient trading access to equity markets across 12 global exchanges, helping them make smarter decisions everyday through an easy and digital onboarding process.

Clients can trade via any web-enabled device, smartphone or tablet, all of which are equipped with relevant tools to facilitate investment-making decisions, as compared to having multiple brokers for different exchanges.

Standard Chartered’s proposition for this is hard to rival. For starters, the digital onboarding process via its SC Mobile app for existing customers is completely digital and can be done within five minutes.

Adding to its appeal is it has no account opening fee, no maintenance fee and no custody fee. The brokerage rate is also standard and can be as low as 0% for the bank’s priority private clients. The access is wide, spanning the exchanges of Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Australia, Tokyo and Switzerland.

ROBUST ECOSYSTEM

What’s notable is how SmartStocks operates. It supports informed investment decision-making by providing instant news updates as well as disseminated financials right into the hands of its clients. Additionally, the SmartStocks’ Refinitiv Report+ feature provides comprehensive stock analysis, including an overall outlook, industry performance versus peers and aggregated scores from top global brokers.

Standard Chartered has certainly got this product right. The purpose of unveiling SmartStocks was to complement the bank’s entire offering to clients for equities, with digital trading being the missing piece of the puzzle.

Now, Standard Chartered can compete even more effectively with its peers by offering the whole suite of investment services to clients on a simple and easy-to-navigate platform. Clients are able to access SmartStocks on the go on mobile or web, buy and sell stocks without any disruptions in the journey and, more importantly, get access to global exchanges.

Standard Chartered has broken down some big barriers in the process. Malaysian retail investors have long faced difficulties gaining access to global markets – with high transaction fees being a persistent concern – but SmartStocks has made it cheaper and convenient for clients to diversify into global stock markets. The ecosystem also allows share consolidation in one equity account for further legacy planning, ease of buying foreign currencies and ease of trading through one platform.

More broadly, the product is in line with Standard Chartered’s core strategy of moving from a traditional bank set-up to one leading on the digital front to meet clients’ increasingly diverse and global demands.

STRONG MALAYSIA FORCE

Standard Chartered in Malaysia has been an innovative force over the years. It was the first bank in Malaysia to offer secured wealth lending in foreign currencies and banking through video, audio and chat formats for personal and priority banking customers, as well as the first bank to establish a global operations hub in the country.

Over the past few years, its pioneering abilities have come with a digital angle. Standard Chartered recently revamped its Online Unit Trust Platform, which is made available round-the-clock. Clients can now navigate the app easily to explore and invest in a large selection of unit trust funds, create Regular Savings Plans, check current holdings and view transaction history. It also includes the addition of the Fund Comparison Tool, which provides a detailed comparison of selected funds and Fund Select Tear Sheets that summarise the outlook of recommended funds.

Like SmartStocks, Online Unit Trust is available as an in-app feature within the SC Mobile app.

This consistency in business and the focus on providing its Malaysian clients ways to make banking easier are benefitting Standard Chartered Malaysia in a large way. In The Digital Banker’s 2023 Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards, SmartStocks was named the Best Equity Trading Platform, marking its second win in a row since its launch.

SOLID FINANCIAL PRODUCTS

The Standard Chartered franchise is undoubtedly robust, with its comprehensive range of financial products and services to serve individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as corporates and institutions with support from its digital and Islamic finance divisions.

This includes accounts and deposits, loans, credit cards, mortgage offerings, investments and wealth solutions and insurance schemes.

Standard Chartered’s long legacy of improving its services for its clients in Malaysia hasn’t changed over time. Rather, the bank has upped its game – and is well positioned to find more growth opportunities in the country in the years to come.

To learn more about SmartStocks, download the SC Mobile App or visit www.sc.com/my/smartstocks.

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