Money Tree
    Category: 10 Inspiring Women: Honor Roll By : Marella Putri Read : 705 Date : Monday, June 20, 2016 - 02:42:20

    In Sanskrit, bareksa means tree, an apt symbol for the ambitions of PT Bareksa Portal Investasi, which operates Bareksa, the first site to offer mutual funds for sale online. The site’s symbol is a stylized tree. The two founders of the site, launched in 2013, want to grow it from a small startup into a mighty tree with many branches offering a wide variety of online financial content, data and services.

    “Indonesians are losing money every day,” says Bareksa President Director Karaniya Dharmasaputra, who co-founded the company with Ady F. Pangerang. “Right now Indonesia has around Rp 4,300 trillion just lying in saving accounts and time deposits, but if it was brought to the capital markets, it would be very good for our economic development.”

    The pair have a deep background in financial services. Karaniya, who remains the majority shareholder, has a long experience in media. He was managing editor of Tempo, before becoming chief executive of, an online news portal. Ady worked for many years in IT for financial firms.

    Bareksa is now of the hottest firms in the white-hot sector of financial technology (fintech). The pair see plenty of growth ahead, as the number of retail investor accounts is still quite low, with only about 300,000 (which includes some duplicates, as some investors may hold two accounts). As a percentage, less than 1% of Indonesia’s population have invested, while in neighboring Malaysia, the figure is 51%. That said, total assets under management in mutual funds has been growing rapidly, standing at Rp 284 trillion in March 2016, according to OJK, a huge rise from under Rp 100 trillion in 2008. The mission of Bareksa is supported by the government, which has a stated goal of having five million investors by next year.

    Thus, Bareksa and other online sites selling mutual funds are helping with that goal by offering an alternative distribution channel for funds, rather than the tradition method of being sold through banks. Some banks, such as Australia’s Commonwealth, are also selling mutual funds online, as well financial firm IndoPremier Securities.

    Helping also is the growing use of smart phones and Internet accounts, which means more opportunity for Bareksa. The site had around 4,000 investors by the end of April (its online mutual fund marketplace launched in January 2015). The number is quite an achievement, since the startup company doesn’t market itself.

    Starting with Rp 25 billion as its initial capital, the company sees good prospects. Bareksa now sells 74 mutual funds from 20 fund managers, with many requests from others hoping to list on the site. Karaniya is selective, however, since he wants to make sure he offers quality over quantity. Most of the existing fund managers are well-recognized names such as Danareksa and Bahana. “I was surprised that such big companies would want to be our partner, as we are only a startup. So this trend tells us that mutual funds need an alternative distribution channel from the banks,” he explains.