Hi, I’m Nick, Co-Founder of Simpan. Here at Simpan, we’re building Indonesia’s first modern investment manager and we’re so excited to unveil it very soon. But before all of that, allow me to share about our journey and conviction to build something that hasn’t really been done before (in Indonesia, at least!) in the asset management space.
What is Simpan?
In a nutshell, Simpan is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) Investment Manager focused on making it easy and meaningful for investors in Indonesia to build better portfolios according to their goals, and stay informed every step of the way. We want to take the noise out of investing so that our customers can focus on doing what they love and maintain peace of mind, while achieving their financial goals.
Why did we do it?
Having worked at global financial institutions abroad, Julian (my co-founder) and I have always wanted to build something back home. Given our similar backgrounds and passion for investing, we naturally gravitated towards the capital markets. As it were, the landscape for investing as retail customers is in its early stages. While investing options are plenty, investment products are quite homogenous and importantly, retail investors don’t have access to transparent reporting on how their money is being managed.
We were also fascinated by the direct-to-consumer model. The ability to connect directly with customers and tailor the entire customer journey is powerful. Ask Apple and Tesla. As avid users of DTC wealth management platforms abroad, we were sold on the experience. We believe customers should come first.
Meanwhile, thanks to the recent boom in retail trading over the pandemic we see more and more Indonesians participating in the capital markets, and consequently becoming more inquisitive about their investment choices. We are grateful for the fintech startups that have paved the way to begin educating Indonesians on investing - but more has to be done.
Ultimately, we understand investing in the capital markets can be daunting, considering it involves risk and our customers’ hard-earned money. It also doesn’t help that investment products are typically not tangible objects, like a piece of land, house or car. We are on a mission to bridge the gap to provide an easy and stress-free way for Indonesian investors to access investment solutions that are meaningful. So whether you’re a seasoned investor or not, we hope to be your wingman to stay invested to meet your investment goals.
Challenges we see when investing as a retail investor
We recognize that investing in the capital markets can be scary, stressful, and challenging. We certainly have been there! There is so much noise when it comes to investing. Influencers often talk about the next stock or cryptocurrency to buy. Securities brokers recommend investors to trade based on technical charts and analysis. Market rumors fill the air giving rise to investors who wish to ride the wave, or risk feeling FOMO. To the moon we all say. Even new investors who may not have time or expertise to actively trade strives to be cuan in the short term. We don’t think that’s what investing is all about.
Lately, we’ve observed diminishing trust towards investment managers, advisors, and financial institutions. We understand this is driven by the amount of investment fraud and scandals that have plagued the market recently, making it difficult for retail investors to trust capital market players with their money.
Fees charged by selling agents and distributors (or what I’d like to call fund supermarkets) tend to also eat up investors’ returns. Investors are charged transaction fees every time they buy or sell a reksadana through a distributor, and the fees are naturally incurred by the investor. In fact, sales agents and distributors make money every time an investor buys or sells a reksadana. This may lead to product-pushing on a shortened investment horizon, which we think is different to what it means to invest - and stay invested to meet the investment objectives.
We also understand that retail investors don’t typically receive detailed information from fund managers on how their money is being managed beyond a prospectus, periodic factsheet and commentary. Not only are these materials hard to digest, it typically doesn’t cover investment actions made within the reporting period, making it difficult to understand where and how your money is being invested.
Lastly, we understand that there is a lack of suitable investment solutions for individuals who work hard for their savings. We’ll save portfolio construction and risk management for another time, but for many retail investors in Indonesia we find it challenging to build a well-diversified portfolio according to their objectives.
It makes sense to go direct-to-consumer
For us, it became extremely clear that the direct-to-consumer model was the way to solve most of these problems: (1) to create alignment between investment manager and customer, (2) build tailored portfolios according to our customers’ objectives, (3) be able to remove unnecessary fees and charges, and (4) provide a meaningfully transparent customer engagement for investors.
The timing also makes sense as we feel technology and smartphone penetration have caught up so dramatically over the last few decades, enabling us to scale tailored services that were once only available to wealthy individuals.
We think Indonesia is ready for a digitally-native investment manager, focused on being a true fiduciary for retail investors.
It starts and ends with purpose
At Simpan, our purpose is simple: to help more Indonesians achieve financial well-being.
We do this by establishing a core set of principles that represent our values and aspirations, which guide how we interact with our clients, the community we operate in, and our stakeholders.
- We are a fiduciary to our clients
- We are long-term and performance-driven investors
- We are passionate about fostering a Risk-focused culture
- We are committed to providing access, transparency and knowledge sharing
- We are powered by technology
Thank you so much for tuning in and we truly hope you’d ride on this journey with us towards financial well-being! If you have any questions, thoughts, ideas, or feedback - or if you’d simply like to connect, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you!
The author is a co-founder of Simpan. Nicholas was previously at BlackRock, a global investment manager, across its New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore offices. In his last role at BlackRock, Nicholas was dual hatting-between BlackRock’s insurance (FIG) and official institutions (OIG) practice, where he worked with large institutions like central banks, sovereign wealth funds, insurers, pension funds, and endowments. Nicholas earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the Pennsylvania State University.