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Tiger Brokers Rides AI Wave; China Regulator Tightens Rules

Editorial Staff 24 May 2023

Tiger Brokers Rides AI Wave; China Regulator Tightens Rules

The Chinese and Singaporean online brokerage has been promoting its AI chat functions and building wealth management offerings.

It seems that the acronym “GPT” is getting everywhere – fast. In Asia, a financial brokerage called Tiger Brokers has rolled out an AI “assistant” for investors, as well as having developed wealth management offerings. However, it is also delisting certain services in China as a result of a squeeze by regulators in the country.

Beijing- and Singapore-based Tiger Brokers’ new text-generating AI chatbot uses the firm’s content library and access to paid sources. This data can enable timely and informative responses including, but not limited to, listed companies' profiles and data, an ocean of financial knowledge and investor education materials, and market and stock insights, Tiger Brokers said. The offering is available for English, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers – more languages will come. At present, TigerGPT is being publicly tested before it officially goes into its Tiger Trade app. 

Tiger Brokers, which was founded in 2014 and is listed on the Nasdaq market in the US, is an example of the kind online financial business that is determined to win the prizes that modern tech, such as AI/machine learning, can hopefully offer. 

"To eliminate the overwhelming feeling our users get due to mountains of scattered data and information, we do believe our TigerGPT feature can bring a breath of fresh air deeply valued by users, by addressing various queries on investment research, quenching curiosities of specific stocks and industries, and presenting the very piece of information needed in a well-articulated and highly-pertinent manner – all the factors needed before making informed, efficient and smart investments,” Wu Tianhua, founder and CEO of Tiger Brokers, said in a recent outline of the offering. 

And besides its AI work, the business has also been building wealth management services, it told WealthBriefingAsia. Its wealth management product line consists of Fund Mall and Tiger Vault. 

Fund Mall, the first product from the business, was launched in March 2020. It gives access to more than 1,000 global public-offered funds, and these include money market funds, bonds, and equity funds denominated in different currencies. The Tiger Vault offering, meanwhile, upgrades on Tiger Brokers’ previous cash management solution, Cash Plus, in which investors can invest idle cash in their accounts in money market funds. 

“Currently, we are still in the pipeline of designing products and services tailored to high net worth clients,” the firm told this publication. 

Asked about its revenue model for these offerings, the firm said the threshold amount of Tiger Vault is now $1, with subscription and redemption fees waived. If investors subscribed on a trading day, the purchase can be confirmed on the same day and can be redeemed the next day. If redeemed on a trading day, the cash will return to the holding account on the same day.  

For Fund Mall, users can buy the funds for $100 (currency for each fund may differ) and there are no sales charge and platform fees, Tiger Brokers said.

Hong Kong
The Tiger Vault offering was introduced in Hong Kong during April. Investors in Hong Kong can use the “Auto-Sweep” feature to instantly transfer holdings in Tiger Vault for purchasing shares, futures, and options trading, as well as for IPO subscriptions, the firm said. 

The sheer speed with which it rolled out the Tiger Vault offering in Hong Kong – five months after the firm’s official arrival – was a differentiator. (In October 2021 the firm won approval from The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to buy Ocean Joy Securities Limited (OCJL), a Hong Kong-based brokerage licensed with the SFC for Type 1 and Type 2 regulated activities. The deal meant that Tiger could offer customers in Hong Kong services, involving securities and futures brokerage.)

“Technology and market volatility are bringing growth to a new generation of platforms, and asset classes. Opportunity always rewards those who are flexible enough to level up their R&D capability and move as fast as investors and users need,” the firm said.

Tightening rules on overseas 
Tiger Brokers has also had to delist its trading platform, called Tiger Trade, from app stores in mainland China following moves by Chinese regulators. 

In a story published on 16 May, the Wall Street Journal said that Futu Holdings and Up Fintech Holding, aka Tiger Brokers, planned to remove apps from online stores in China that allow their customers to trade stocks overseas. The WSJ quoted an unnamed source.

Tiger Brokers made the change to comply with the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s requirements on its cross-border operations in the country, and that its existing clients wouldn’t be affected by the change. 

The WSJ quoted Futu in a regulatory filing as saying it would remove its Futubull app in the country starting 19 May, and that existing clients in mainland China can still make trades on the app afterwards.

“Starting from 18 May, 2023, Tiger Brokers will delist its trading platform (Tiger Trade) from app stores in mainland China, in a move to adjust the app's update route and comply with the China Securities Regulatory Commission's rectification guidance on the company's cross-border operations in mainland China,” the firm said in a statement emailed to WealthBriefingAsia.

“For existing clients in mainland China, the latest adjustment does not affect their use of Tiger Trade, with the company already offering follow-up arrangements for downloading and updating the app.

“The company remains dedicated to offering high-quality services to existing clients in mainland China, and is in a continuous effort to guarantee their asset security. For new clients in mainland China, starting from December 31, 2022, the company had stopped enrolling new account-opening customers. Moving forward, the company will abide by all applicable rules and regulations in mainland China and serve its existing clients well,” it said. 

The firm added: “Tiger Brokers would like to reiterate that the latest adjustments only apply to its users in mainland China. The download, use, and in-app services of Tiger Trade are not affected in other global markets. The company stays compliant with regulatory requirements in all the global markets where it operates, a prerequisite for our commitment to offering the best possible global investing experience.”

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