TransferWise set to provide investment products

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Products are set to launch for customers with multi-currency “borderless” accounts in the next year or so – though the firm does not intend to become a bank.
  • TransferWise, which was recently valued north of $3bn, did not provide extensive information about its plans.
  • “I can say now that we’re not building an active trading product, that’s not the goal. Our customers aren’t asking how can they speculate on the markets,” said the firm’s CEO.

Online money transfer firm TransferWise has revealed plans to start offering investment products to its customers.

The company, which is based in London and recently received a valuation of more than $3bn, has picked up a licence from British regulators.

The new move will mean that customers of the international money transfer company’s “borderless” accounts can take advantage of investment opportunities.

Customers will need to be based in the UK in order to participate.

These accounts, which can be converted into multiple currencies on an easy basis, currently contain around £2bn.

However, the firm stressed that there were no plans afoot for it to transform itself into a bank – a move that other financial technology, or fintech, firms have explored or done in the past.

In an interview with the website TechCrunch, the firm’s co-founder and CEO Kristo Käärmann gave more details.

“We launched the borderless account to let people receive money in-roads and to hold money,” he said.

“We added the debit cards so that they can use that money that they hold in places where they can use the card. And this is, in some ways, no different.”

He also appeared keen to cast the product as a natural extension of the firm’s current offer to its customers.

“Clearly they’ve already figured out that TransferWise works for them…and not merely as a medium of sending money from one country to another but also to get paid internationally, to kind of run their international part of banking, if you like,” he said.

“For businesses, for freelancers, for ex-pats, for people that have just moved countries. So this is another feature along the same string of things that people want us to do for them,” he added.

Finally, he ruled out the possibility of offering a tool designed essentially for speculation. 

“I can say now that we’re not building an active trading product, that’s not the goal. Our customers aren’t asking how can they speculate on the markets,” he added.

The move from TransferWise is understood to be ready to happen in the next year or so – though, as the quote from Käärmann shows, there was no big reveal of intricate details about the investment products on offer.

The firm specifies that it intended to provide funds from providers with good reputations, and that this would be “simple” and “affordable”, and claims that it won’t become a bank.

However, beyond that, it seems that the firm wants to play its cards close to its chest for now.

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