South Korea: Tru Technologies (‘Tru’), a securities finance technology start-up, announced they had received Series-A investment worth US$3.1 million from 7 market-leading Korean investors. The investors include Hana Financial Investment, Hanwha Securities, KB Investment, Kiwoom Investment, Korea Growth Investment Corp., Shinhan Capital, and Stonebridge Ventures.
Last year, Tru launched the first electronic securities lending trading platform, TruWeb, in Korea. The platform has helped many businesses upgrade from a manual and time-consuming securities trading process to an automated system that improves their existing workflow and encourages more activities.
“The investments from some of the largest financial institutions and investors in Korea mean that they are committed to the automation of error-prone securities lending transactions,” said Jae Woo Ha, Tru Tech CEO, who previously worked as a securities lending trader at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. “We are starting to see changes in some of the most manual markets globally like Korea and Taiwan. The automation can’t be delayed for any financial institutions who wish to stay compliant and further increase profitability.”
Since the lifting of the ban in early May, over US$130mil have been traded through TruWeb, and over US$60mil was traded at a lending fee of 4% or above, according to Tru. This means more than 45% traded through TruWeb would be considered ‘hot stocks.’ These ‘hot stocks’ refer to the most difficult-to-borrow assets.
TruWeb is now successfully integrated with Hana Financial Investment(“Hana”)’s proprietary system to further improve service delivery. Confirmation details are currently being electronically delivered to Hana, removing so-called ‘fat-finger’ errors. As a result, for the first time in Korea, all processes of lending transactions, such as searching, negotiating, confirming, and inputting the confirmed details, have been automated to ensure compliance, speed, and efficiency.
Records show that institutions that signed up with TruWeb grew from 6 to 25 since the beginning of the year. With the new investment, TruWeb will continue to add additional features and tools to improve securities automation further and take it to the next level. Therefore, according to Ha, this is the right time for financial institutions in Asia to sign up with Tru’s products and use its technology to improve profitability and remain competitive in a fast-growing industry.