SoFi Invest Expands to Hong Kong with Acquisition of 8 Securities
SoFi’s big year just got even bigger. This week the company not only announced that it would be bringing its SoFi Invest product to Hong Kong but also that it was acquiring the online brokerage firm 8 Securities in the process. The deal still needs to meet closing conditions but, once it’s complete, the current 8 Securities platform will be rebranded with the moniker SoFi Hong Kong while keeping its current team. SoFi Invest’s Hong Kong app will offer commission-free trading and automated investing as well as financial advice and educational materials. According to TechCrunch, the company also plans to introduce more themed ETFs for the Hong Kong market, including gaming, clean tech, and Chinese e-commerce.
Notably, although the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the global economy, 8 Securities has seen impressive growth in the past year. In fact Mikaal Abdulla, now CEO of SoFi Hong Kong, told TechCrunch that Q1 2020 was the strongest on record for the company, with new accounts increasing 400% from 2019 averages. As he noted, “We experienced a surge in first-time investors that see the current market pull-back as an opportunity to start investing. Despite the market decline our active accounts and assets are higher than they have ever been.”
Explaining the expansion into Hong Kong, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said in a statement, “We underwent an extensive evaluation process when considering our first international market, and it was clear that Hong Kong, a financial capital of Asia, is ripe for innovation and a launching pad for further expansion in both product and geography.” Noto continued, “Leveraging the learnings from the SoFi Invest platform in the U.S., SoFi can meet the needs of both experienced and novice investors alike in Hong Kong, all in support of our overall efforts to make headway on our mission to help people get their money right. Because when it comes to achieving financial independence, investing is not optional – it is imperative.”
This is actually SoFi’s second acquisition made in less than a month. Two weeks ago, the company announced that it was purchasing Galileo Financial Technologies for $1.2 billion (no price tag for 8 Securities was shared). Interestingly this is also not the first example in recent months of a U.S. FinTech firm expanding their brokerage services internationally, as Robinhood announced late last year that it planned to launch in the United Kingdom.
Yet again, SoFi has shown that they’re a FinTech giant in the making. While their recent acquisition of Galileo was big, their entry into Hong Kong is perhaps even more notable. To that point, it’s worth remembering that, at its core, SoFi is still a loan company, not a brokerage firm. Thus, this expansion of that aspect of their business shows that they certainly aren’t retreating from that space. Additionally Hong Kong is an interesting choice for SoFi to start their global extension as the city has experienced a rough year filled with political unrest and, of course, the coronavirus outbreak. With that said, SoFi clearly seems to have a plan for their future — and one that only continues to grow larger.