Vested Finance is a Silicon Valley, California-headquartered U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) that provides an online investment platform that enables Indian investors to invest in the US stock market. The company’s mission is to enable sustainable wealth creation by allowing local investors to go global.
A winner of Berkeley's most prominent start-up accelerator (LAUNCH) in 2019 (https://www.uclaunch.com/blog), the company is founded by four co-founders – Mr. Viram Shah, Mr. Darwin Arifin, Mr. Eric Huynh and Yinghan Lin with global backgrounds from India, Indonesia, HongKong, and Singapore respectively.
How the platform works
Vested’s investment service is accessible through multiple digital platforms: Their web app (desktop and mobile) and native mobile apps (Android and iOS).
The user journey:
1. Paperless onboarding: Upon signing in, the user undergoes an online KYC process. This allows Vested to open a US brokerage account for them. For verification (as per US regulations), they require the user to answer a series of suitability questions and upload two documents: proof of DOB (PAN card scan) and proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, or Aadhaar card). The process can be completed in minutes and accounts are approved within one or two business days.
2. Remit USD: Once the account is approved, the user funds their account via their Indian bank account under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). They have partnered with multiple banks to simplify this investing process.
3. Buy/sell stocks, ETFs or pre-built portfolios: Once the account is funded, the user can start investing in US-listed stocks, ETFs, and pre-built strategy and theme-based portfolios called Vests via their platform. The buying and selling process only requires a few clicks from initialization to order completion. Orders are completed in real-time when the US market is open.
4. Withdraw: Users can withdraw the funds in their account whenever user wants to. The company collects users’ Indian bank details and work with their partner bank in the US to transfer the money, in INR, directly into the user’s Indian bank account.
5. Taxes: When the user opens an account, they help the user fill the necessary paperwork so that no capital gain taxes are held in the US (there is a 25% dividend tax withholding, however, which can be redeemed as credit to reduce the tax burden in India, as the US and India have a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA)). Vested helps track cost basis for tax reporting at the end of the India fiscal year.
Along with the above, they provide proprietary educational content to the user. This includes information on investing, updates on US markets, as well as deep-dives into specific companies. The company currently has 30,000+ readers of their newsletter and has found their educational content to be crucial in developing awareness and educating users to diversify their portfolio abroad.
Vested Finance also provides multi-channel customer service to the user; this includes connecting with them across email, SMS, and Whatsapp. This has enabled their users to gain comfort and trust, which in turn leads to increased investment volumes.
Key strengths of Vested Finance include:
Commission-free fractional investing
Vests: Pre-built thematic and strategy-based portfolios that simplify investing beyond FAANG
State-of-the art encryption, security, redundancy, and recovery
Localized solution for Indian investors
Dedicated customer support
Simplified fund transfer process
Vested is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. They have also partnered with DriveWealth, a well-reputed SEC-registered broker in the US. This broker serves clients in 150 countries and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which insures securities in their customers’ accounts up to $500,000.