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Sharesies plans self-selecting KiwiSaver plan

Sharesies is planning to lure more of the nearly 600,000 people who use its trading platform into its KiwiSaver offering by allowing them to self-select up to half their portfolios.

Tuesday, August 8th 2023, 6:42AM

by Jenny Ruth

Sharesies co-founder and chief executive Leighton Roberts says his team started thinking about developing a KiwiSaver option about six months after the firm's 2016 launch but the KiwiSaver launch didn't happen until late last year when the company received its licence.

“It was always not if, but when,” Roberts says. “We want to be the biggest wealth development platform in New Zealand and Australia. Superannuation makes up a huge part of people's wealth and, in our view, it should make up more,” he says.

The lack of adequate retirement savings represents a big macro risk for New Zealand and market research shows that engagement with KiwiSaver is lacking.

“A lot of people are in the wrong funds and they don't know that it's an investment – they think it's a savings vehicle because of the name. But for a lot of people, particularly younger people, KiwiSaver is the biggest asset they have,” Roberts says.

Sharesies members tend to skew under 40, making them a likely target for the company's KiwiSaver plans.

It currently offers three passive funds, conservative, balanced and growth, which are managed by NZX's Smartshares, a more aggressive growth fund managed by Pie Funds and a conservation-oriented option managed by Pathfinder.

Roberts says Sharesies will be putting “guardrails” around its self-selection offering when it launches.

The Sharesies KiwiSaver schemes currently have 1,800 members and between 27,000 and 28,000 on its waiting list.

As to how many Sharesies members the KiwiSaver plans might attract, Roberts says he really doesn't know and doesn't want to put limits on it, although the banks manage to attract between 20% and 40% of their customers into their KiwiSaver plans.

Currently, Sharesies is attracting more than 30 new customers a day and Roberts says his focus is on increasing that to 40 a day.

Sharesies registered Sharesies Investment Management in August 2021 and during the year ended March this year invested seed funding of $1.35 million.

That vehicle recorded a net loss of $433,956 for the latest year, leaving it with equity of $918,599 and actual cash of $878,382.

Tags: Sharesies

« Startup experts asks govt to ease KiwiSaver private equity rulesKiwiSaver nudges $100b, Generate celebrates »

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