SMSF investment platform begins, announces senior hire

The outgoing chief executive at the Australian arm of an $800 billion global asset manager is joining the board of a newly-launched SMSF investment platform in 2019.

Joining OpenInvest as a non-executive director in the New Year is current Schroders Australia chief executive Greg Cooper. His appointment was combined with the platform's recent launch.

OpenInvest is an investment platform enabling self-directed investors, including self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) trustees, to engage with and select an investment management company to help manage an investment portfolio.

The platform will give SMSF trustees and other investors the choice of several managers, including foundation partners Schroders; Shaw and Partners; SG Hiscock; JBWere; InvestSense (in collaboration with Magellan and PIMCO); and Clime Investment Management.

The managers will provide content explaining their thoughts on key issues influencing investment decisions. OpenInvest believes this transparency will be "particularly valued by investors who don't have a financial adviser but want help with their portfolios."

The firm cites data that suggests 85% of Australians do not get financial advice, and a Productivity Commission report showing about 70% of SMSF trustees make their own investment decisions without advice. Yet "these unadvised investors consistently say in surveys they want professional help with their portfolios."

Co-founder and chief executive Andrew Varlamos said investors can compare information then choose their preferred manager only when they feel ready and "when they believe they have sufficient knowledge and trust in that manager."

OpenInvest will then manage the investor's portfolio based on ongoing instructions from their chosen manager, who will also keep the investor informed on the rationale behind investment decisions. "

Each investment manager sets their own investment fee; OpenInvest then adds its administration fee to arrive at a total management fee.

The platform was recently launched on the Class technology suite. Other integrations will be available soon, OpenInvest said.

Cooper said the platform will provide an opportunity for managers to promote themselves in their own words in a way that resonates with investors.

"The investment management industry in this country has, until now, largely communicated to its retail audience via intermediaries, such as financial advisers. OpenInvest gives us a chance to reach the many investors who don't have a financial adviser," he said.

SG Hiscock managing director and chief investment officer Steve Hiscock said the investment management industry is "very aware of the size of the unadvised investor market."

"The issue has been that without an online marketplace, it has been very difficult for such investors to find us, and for us to present our credentials to them. We look forward to engaging with these investors on the OpenInvest marketplace."

Read more: OpenInvestSG HiscockGreg CooperSchroders AustraliaAndrew VarlamosClassClime Investment ManagementInvestSenseMagellanPIMCOProductivity CommissionShaw and PartnersSteve Hiscock
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