Singlife is one of the start-ups that has travelled from founding to success. Walter de Oude shares with us how he took his startup to extraordinary heights, imparting some wise words for small businesses everywhere.
Walter previously was the CEO of HSBC Insurance, and at the time, he was motivated to discover a better way to execute insurance and wealth management. He believed that Singapore, having a secure and well-respected environment, was a prime destination for wealth management. He also felt that technology could help people get more out of their finances. Those were the principles behind Singlife and how it got started. From there, Walter and his team tapped on their established background in the industry, using their experience and connections to get the start-up off the ground. A mentality that Walter stands by is ‘go big or go home’. With strong ambition, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck, success will eventually come.
One of the benefits of being a start-up is that you have the freedom to grab opportunities as they emerge. While the company was first called Singapore life, users preferred to use the shortened name: Singlife. Understanding that familiarity and engagement with customers are important, the company decided to embrace change and call itself Singlife. Similarly, when an opportunity presented itself for Singlife to acquire Aviva, the team could jump at the chance and make the deal happen.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Walter understands the importance of listening to the needs of clients and recommends everyone do the same. After his clients expressed their sentiments of wanting a better return on shorter-term money, the company provided a digital solution that addressed this need. Fostering a strong relationship with clients will enable the company to evolve those bonds into a deeper and more meaningful wealth relationship. This allows the company to continue building on existing solutions to address new needs that emerge. Walter shares that historically, finance was managed by banks, long-term protection was managed by insurance companies, and asset managers managed assets. Nowadays, the differentiation between these providers is becoming a lot more blurred, making it pivotal to listen to clients’ needs and design targeted solutions that might span across these services.
For the future of Singlife, Walter notes that there is no fixed roadmap for the path ahead. Nobody can predict the future and what options will become available for him and his company. He trusts that success will breed more success; that doing good work will create new opportunities for other things. Whether that might be further acquisitions or new business lines remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Walter highlights that he will continue to focus on providing the best products, advice, and digital framework for the most extensive customer base possible. As a final word of advice, Walter shares that the success of a startup lies behind having a good story and being able to convey that.