Instreet Investments Limited has entered into a joint venture with U.S. start-up Acorns Grow, Inc., to bring the company’s hugely successful savings and investment app to Australia.
Acorns is a free app for iPhone and Android smartphones that allows people to round up their daily purchases and automatically Invest the Change® into a diversified portfolio of index funds.
The Australian Acorns app will allow people to invest their virtual spare change in an investment portfolio. Users simply link the app on their phone to their bank account and/or credit card, and as they make purchases they invest the virtual spare change by rounding up transactions to the nearest dollar. For example, if you buy a coffee for $3.50, the app pushes 50 cents into your Acorns account to be invested.
Australia is the first country outside North America to secure a partnership to co-develop and launch a local version of the app. It will go into beta testing in Q4 of this year and will be available for download in Q1 2016.
After nearly two years in development, Acorns launched in the US August 2014 by father and son founders, Jeff and Walter Cruttenden. Since launch, Acorns has grown to more than 750,000 members and opened hundreds of thousands investment accounts on mobile platforms.
“Acorns has always wanted to take the app to international markets and do so with a company that has strong local knowledge in the financial services sector,” said Acorns co-founder and CEO Jeff Cruttenden. “We were introduced to Instreet and quickly realized they shared our vision of solving the worldwide savings and investment problem, through simple technology.”
“Acorns is a disruptor within the financial services sector and this will be no different in Australia, where smartphone penetration is high and where there is room for a micro investing platform like Acorns. Dubbed the new millennial savings and investing strategy, Acorns provides a unique, low entry-point for anyone to get started saving and investing.
“The good news is that Acorns is not an either/or proposition. Rather, it complements current investment and saving strategies that people use, such as share trading, saving and superannuation,” Cruttenden adds.
Instreet Investments Limited has created a new company for the app called Acorns Grow Australia Limited, led by finance veterans George Lucas and Tony Fay. The company has hired a dedicated Chief Operating Officer, Brendan Malone, former CAO for RBS’ APAC investment banking presence, and will invest in further talent in the coming months. This will include marketers, programmers and customer service staff.
Commenting on the joint venture, George Lucas, Instreet Investment’s Managing Director, said: “In a very short period of time in the US Acorns has revolutionised how people perceive investing in shares, making it simple and making it appealing to those either new to investing or those who don’t want to deal with a broker or financial advisor.
“For a small monthly fee and no commissions on trades, users simply use their smartphone to watch their portfolio grow. The app is free and for the first AUD$5,000 in an account, the expected annual fee is just AUD$15.00. The flat fee also means users will be able to add or withdraw money without incurring extra costs, and for savings beyond $5,000, a small fee of 0.275% will be charged.”
In the US, the Acorns investment portfolios were created in consultation with world- renowned Nobel Laureate economist, Dr. Harry Markowitz, who is the father of modern portfolio theory that is now the basis of what many fund managers use globally. The Australian portfolios have also been constructed in consultation with Dr. Markowitz and will consist of Australian listed exchange traded funds covering Australian, International and Fixed Income markets.
“We strongly believe Acorns will be a game changer in Australia,” adds Lucas. “The Australian financial services market is focused on superannuation and advice around superannuation, whereas Acorns is concerned with investing outside superannuation for small and large investors.
“The Acorns app is also perfect for people who know little about the financial markets and will provide a selection of portfolios from low risk to aggressive. It is fast becoming an educational tool for younger or new savers and is an easy way to start building wealth,” adds Lucas.
Users can register for the beta program at www.acornsau.com.au
Acorns Grow Australia Limited
Instreet is an independent investment house that works closely with the financial adviser community to conceive and distribute retail investment products. After identifying adviser needs and market trends, Instreet builds customised investments sourcing quality wholesale providers. By doing so, Instreet makes institutional assets available to individual investors. The end result is a range of investment solutions designed to better achieve the goals of clients and advisers. For more information: www.instreet.com.au
About Acorns Grow, Inc.
Acorns is the largest and fastest growing investment app that allows people to round up their daily purchases and automatically Invest the Change® into a commission-free diversified portfolio of index funds offered by the world’s top asset managers. Founded in Newport Beach, CA in February 2012, by son and father team Jeff and Walter Cruttenden. Acorns takes the guess work out of investing and provides a simple entry-point for anyone to get started using the Acorns app on iPhone or Android. The app and financial engine were built with natural human behavior in mind to help inspire realistic investment strategies that can be held for the long term.
For more information: www.acorns.com
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