Exclusive Interview
Paytren Aset Manajemen, Ayu Widuri’s “Way to Hijra”

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Paytren Aset Manajemen, Ayu Widuri’s “Way to Hijra”

The establishment of PT Paytren Aset Manajemen in 2017 is closely linked to Ustaz Yusuf Mansur. The Famous da’i known for this sadaqah (charity) movement took a bold step to turn Paytren Aset Manajemen into the first shari’a investment manager company in Indonesia. Yusuf Mansur then assigned Ayu Widuri as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and as the President Director of Paytren Aset Manajemen. 

Ayu has more than 20 years of experience in banking and several investment manager companies. Previously, she was the Associate Director of PT Samuel Aset Manajemen. She admitted that her decision to accept Yusuf Mansur’s offer is ‘a way to hijra.’ Ayu should be willing to start from the scratch in setting up the investment company with many obstacles awaiting. 

“But, hijra is meant to be like this. I don’t want to be half-hearted,” she said while having MUC Tax Guide at Paytren Aset Manajemen office in Senopati area, Jakarta Selatan, Thursday (21/2/2019).

What is Ayu’s story in being the captain of Paytren Aset Manajemen, which now has attracted 8,500 investors who hold single investor identification (SID)? Below is the excerpt of our interview: 

How is the history of Paytren Aset Manajemen establishment?

Majority of Paytren Aset Manajemen ownership is on Ustaz Yusuf Mansur. He wanted to have a retail-client-based company or business in the first place. He saw the potential of Indonesian people to be investors in our own country. In 2013, he set up paYusuf Mansyurent gateway Paytren, through PT Veritra Sentosa Internasional and [it] grows rapidly. Further, [he] got an invitation from Financial Service Authority (OJK) to make mutual fund investment management company. Well, it did suit his mission, [ of wanting  to make it possible for people with lower-middle income to be investors.

How far is OJK’s contribution?

From OJK’s perspective, they want to develop an asset under management of shari’a investment in Indonesia. So, both OJK and the Ustaz have the same vision and mission, which eventually interests the Ustaz. In 2017, he, who was not an expert in capital market, teamed up and coincidentally met me and I was trusted to establish as well as handle the licensing and develop [the company]. 

Why were you interested in Yusuf Mansur’s offer as the President Director of Paytren Aset Manajemen?

First, it’s the shari’a ghiroh (spirit). Any mutual fund, though not yet [confirmed as] shari’a mutual fund is actually a product that is in line with shari’a principle. The dream of OJK and Ustaz Yusuf Mansur is very good to apply. If it’s not us who start developing it, who will? So, try not to be half-hearted. It is financially lower, but it is our challenge to hijra.

What are the challenges, ups and downs in establishing Paytren Aset Manajemen?

[In] investment management company, it is not only the mutual fund product that is rigidly regulated by OJK, but also the company itself. So, to establish an investment management company that obtains license from OJK, there are many requirements to meet. 

Is it becoming an obstacle for new-built company?

I think it’s not an obstacle, but a challenge. The challenge is big, for example, on the establishment process, we should make some teams to be parts of Paytren Aset Manajemen with rigid requirements. [They must] hold license. Regarding license, as a practitioner, I will not hire people with license but no experience as we need to move fast. So, I will automatically need experienced professional personnel who has license, which is not easy. Moreover, the company is yet to exist, [it’s] just newly established.

How do you unite the vision in this new company?

One common ground in the existing teams is that we have the same shari’a ghiroh and the hijra is yet to achieve, but just begins. So, I believe that these teams really have the same ghiroh, that’s what keep us moving forward. Although there are so many challenges, Alhamdulillah we can carry on. The deed was issued on 28 April 2017, [we] applied for license in July 2018, OJK supported [us], in October 2017, the license was issued. The products were just released in February 2018. 

How is the company’s development so far?

Culturally, any investment manager company is big because the asset under management is also huge. A new investment manager company commonly faces the challenge in collecting the asset under management. We have two targeted clients, retail and institution. Typically, institutions will participate in investment manager company only when we have big asset under management, [only in such condition that] they want to participate or invest. And we need to have track record, e.g., having been managing assets for at least one year. That’s when we come into their consideration. It means, we have to carry on with retail investors. Paytren Aset Manajemen should be really independent.  

How about the obstacles in retail investors?

As for the challenge in retail client, the process is not fast. We have prepared online mutual fund system launched in April 2018 and [it’s] user friendly. Currently, we have 8,500 SID, which perhaps only 70% of which are active in transaction. The asset under management is indeed still limited since they just start investing from the minimum value of IDR100,000. So, we are first trying to grab the retail clients this year and maintain the management performance. 

How much is the asset under management target until the end of the year?

At the end of this year, we actually expect to manage at least IDR500 billion from retail investors. In this first semester, we will observe whether our prospective institution clients have shown interest in us. We hope to get additional IDR500 billion from institution clients. So, hopefully we can get IDR1 trillion. 

Are you optimistic to achieve it?

If asked, is it achievable? It is highly achievable. It means, to encourage them investing at least IDR5 million is quite possible. 

How to reach such achievable target?

Retail client is actually very powerful for investment manager company. Compared to institution clients who need to withdraw large amount of fund during certain periods, which would affect the investment management performance, retail clients are relatively more sustainable. Only one or two years that the literacy is needed and we make periodical investment program that does not complicate them. 

What are the supports from OJK and IDX?

Alhamdulillah we got supports not only from OJK, but also Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX). So, they have The Indonesia Capital Market Institute. This year they make a specific class about mutual fund and we are the first investment management, which, though shari’a, are invited to give lecture on the class. We have been involved in four batches, in March there will be six batches.   

How effective is in attracting retail investors?

We think that the mechanism with IDX is very effective since they require the participants to make SID in the first place. So, not only literacy, but also inclusion and transaction. So, out of the four batches, we got 50 SID from each batch. We hope that it could increase the number of our accounts. Our asset under management still cannot reach hit as other investment management companies, but the number of our accounts insya Allah has been in the ‘hit’ position since for less than one year we have got 8,500 SID. This is a positive start and can be a campaign that our individual investor potential is big, only needs to be directed.

Seems like it’s only local [management investment company] who has strategy to retail? 

I see that big investment manager companies, even foreign ones have started to go retail.

There’s an assumption of ‘fight over retail cake’ because IDX also targets retail for stock investors? Is it a threat for mutual fund?

The condition is leading to that preposition. But we suggest not cannibalizing each other since it can go hand in hand. As previously mentioned, we can buy stock for only IDR100,000, okay, IDR100,000 for stock purchase, IDR100,000 for mutual fund purchase. With IDR200,000 (an investor) can be the clients of both the stock and the mutual fund. I think it is better. So, the investor becomes more advanced and educated. I can’t say that equity fund has lower risk compared to the stock, though the fact says so. But, it still has risk. But, whether investors should be directed to mutual fund or stock, I think it’s not something to be chosen as it can go together. We don’t need to fight over retail investor cake as they can invest in both.    

What are the strategies to maintain the retail customer trust?

We maintain the returns, also the track record. We also keep performing literacy and education. The internal clients happen to be very familiar with social media. So, we are really active in social media for literacy, education, information, and transparency.

What’s the value applied in the human resource development in Paytren Aset Manajemen?  

Surely the license. They should always upgrade their licenses. We encourage them to obtain higher capital market license such as Marketing Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE Pemasaran) and Investment Manager Representative (WMI). Especially for shari’a investment manager, we also have the obligation to own Shari’a Capital Market Expert (ASPM) license and it becomes one of the requirements. We encourage them to keep learning and increasing licenses, as well as gaining more knowledge such as tax. It is because although they have experience, they are still on millennial age. So, their capacity to get more insight is bigger. 

[Profession licenses in capital market are Dealer–Broker Representative (WPPE), Underwriter Representative (WPEE), Investment Manager Representative (WMI), and Shari’a Capital Market Expert (ASPM). The derivative licenses are Marketing Dealer–Broker Representative and Limited Marketing Dealer–Broker Representative]

Paytren Aset Manajemen and Paytren under PT Veritra Sentosa is commonly deemed the same company. Why keep using such brand?

When it’s first established, we had no idea to use any other names. But, after it’s developed, Paytren Aset Manajemen will target the internal partner of Paytren. So, [we] can lead and give them trust. The ‘Paytren’ name is a good branding for us as an investment manager. So, it’s one consideration. Another consideration is that the name of Ustaz Yusuf Mansur is big, though there are so many contrast as well. But, alhamdulillah our first track record has been able to prove that Paytren Aset Manajemen is a professional shari’a investment manager company. Anything happens to the Ustaz or Paytren, may contradicts us, but not a problem from the branding perspective. Because they professionally understand that Paytren Aset Manajemen is a separate entity from Paytren. It’s true that we use the same branding since as one group we will work hand in hand. 

What is the future vision of Paytren Aset Manajemen?

Ustaz Yusuf Mansur’s dream does not stop in the establishment of Paytren Aset Manajemen. He really wants to buy back Indonesia. Always like that. So, as investment manager, like others, we should be able to go international because it is possible. So, we hope that the investment portfolio management is not only locally, but also internationally. Indonesia is also expected to be able to become shari’a business centre in the world. We hope that Paytren Aset Manajemen can grow rapidly and it’s impossible for us to carry on alone. 

Is there any possibility that Paytren Aset Manajemen will list its stock on Stock Exchange?

We have considered that possibility, we may need to. But until now we have not focused on such goal. Our focus is on developing Paytren Aset Manajemen as other investment managers, developing asset under management, contributing to shari’a economy, and going international. For IPO (initial public offering, trading stock in Stock Exchange), we see that potential, but it is yet to realize.

How does Paytren Aset Manajemen see competitors in shari’a mutual fund?

Instead, we wait for other shari’a investment managers as we cannot solely carry on since we need to make people believe. So, [although] Paytren Aset Manajemen owned by Ustaz Yusuf Mansur is powerful, we remain need friends since the emergence of new shari’a investment manager is very positive and we will give them a warm welcome.

How accommodative are the regulations on shari’a mutual fund?

There will be a shari’a investment manager association, in which OJK policies now are still general, covering conventional and shari’a. In fact, in shari’a principle, there are some issues that may not be combined with conventional. Instead, we hope that one of our objectives in establishing Paytren Aset Manajemen is to trigger others to start the same action. Our fellows in capital market understand it and they are quite enthusiastic to move into shari’a although their company’s policies have not planned into shari’a.

What is your response to incentive plan for e-commerce players? 

I highly support it because if we don’t have online mutual fund system, we won’t get 8,500 SID in less than one year since retail investor shall be treated personally. Investment manager company focusing on fintect [financial technology] is not many. That’s what we focus on. We go paperless. 

What are the strategies in developing fintech owned by Paytren Aset Manajemen?

In addition to infrastructure, we surely will add more (platforms) from web to application. It will reach more customers. We will also make innovation, cooperate with sellers having fintech as we know that our ‘cake’ in Paytren group will be handled with Payor (online mutual fund system owned by Paytren Aset Manajemen). But for the ‘cake’ outside [Paytren Aset Manajemen], we may need another fintech. We consider that’s the goal we should set, collaborating as we see that in the future investor demands for one-stop-shopping, and it is being developed by Paytren. 

What is the product differentiation of Paytren Aset Manajemen?

We have three products with different goal and need preferences. There is shari’a money market funds with the lowest risk. Second, we have equity funds. Each investment manager commonly has equity funds to have track record. Third, we have discretionary funds, a result of collaboration with PPPA Darul Quran (Daqu, charity donation management institution). So, because the owner is Ustaz Yusuf Mansur, we certainly have differentiation, one of which is Daqu funds. The objective is so that people not only can invest, but also give charity donation because there is a portion of 1% per annum to be transferred to PPPA Darul Qur’an from any total investment collected. 

What is the product development in the future? 

There have been so many things in the product innovation list. Innovation will be made not only for the three products. Collaborative potential with other business units is highly possible. But, to carry on, we need partners. This year’s target is client accumulation. Without it, there will be no big asset under management and the operational activities will be distracted. We need arranged priority. Literacy. Product innovation will be definitely made. 

How is Paytren Aset Manajemen’s commitment as a compliant taxpayer?

We are really compliant. In every tax reporting month, we are most rigid in reporting. I don’t understand tax in details but I have a team that complies (with regulations). We always emphasize that we should become an investment manager company that complies with OJK, including with taxation as it is our selling value.

What is your perception about the tax?

So, now if the AUM [asset under management] is not yet big, and [we] do not comply, what can we sell? We see and execute all positive potentials that can make the company has a positive branding. So, we hope to get the red carpet [from such potential]. We also initiate to find information, complete any insufficient document, be on time as we hope to get the Unqualified Opinion status. It’s indeed a good image and branding for us. We do also concern about audit report. One thing that I hold on tight, I am personally really rigid with regulation. I don’t want to be half-hearted. Not only that I personally don’t want this company to act incompliant, it is also because we bring shari’a mission. People must believe in shari’a, tackle any negative issue about shari’a, shari’a economy.   

Is there any obstacle or difficulty in taxation?

Alhamdulillah no. I even process the Tax Return before its deadline. The same applies to all teams.

What are the tips for millennial in setting up a business that is halal and full of blessing? 

Based on my personal observation and it might be wrong, I see the millennial fellows so innovative, aggressive, bold, and willing to strive. So, they are good at setting up a start-up, but one thing to note is its sustainability. This needs to be fixed as there are many good start-ups, but only a few that can sustain. It is because not many [start-up] has the idea, ‘ah I will pass it down to my children or grandchildren.’ Second, from the financial arrangement perspective, it may need to be re-arranged to be more effective. In some cases, for example, the company has been big but, in some points, it runs out of expansion budget, and is then sold. After being sold, it grows rapidly, but it cannot be passed down to the next generation. My tips are that in addition to make business, also invest. Business and investment should go together. Why should they be separated?

What are the tips to start mutual fund investment?

It’s definitely by seeing the performance. But it’s not the key. The first is to know our financial goals. Second, see the products. Try to find the ones suit our goals. As a Moslem, choose shari’a. For non-Moslem, choose the shari’a as well since it is more rigid from the stock option perspective. It means that it gives more security. See the return review and the content, portfolio, as well as the track record. Choose the investment manager with undoubtedly good track record, and of course listed in OJK.  

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