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Malaysia’s emerging golden boys

The chief executive of Malaysia’s HelloGold is on an important mission: to make the global gold market accessible to all.

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Ridwan Abdullah and Robin Lee are the brains behind HelloGold

With a classics degree from Oxford University, Robin Lee could have chosen a career as an academic or the curator of an important museum – or perhaps even as a prime minister, following in the footsteps of Herbert Asquith, Harold Macmillan and Boris Johnson.

Instead, almost 30 years after graduation, Lee runs one of Malaysia’s fast-emerging fintechs: HelloGold, an app-based platform for gold bugs, with a high-minded ideal to democratise investor access to the international gold market, providing cheap and simplified entry for anyone to one of the world’s most alluring commodities.

But Lee says the gulf between classics and HelloGold is not so enormous.

“Classics are basically PPE [philosophy, politics and economics] but in Latin and Greek,” he says. “So you’re studying the social economy, human behaviour, that sort of thing. And it taught me that we haven’t changed, we haven’t evolved that much.”

He is, of course, referring to mankind’s obsession with gold, whether as a store or measure of wealth, investment instrument or insurance against tough times.

“Regardless