A global fund manager which until now has required individuals to have $2 million to deal directly with it is opening up its funds to retail investors through its new digital advice platform.

Nikko Asset Management which manages $5.5 billion mainly on behalf of community trusts, iwi and superannuation schemes, will now make its funds available investors with a minimum of $250 through its GoalsGetter tool.

George Carter, managing director of Nikko, said it had a never dealt directly with the public before, although it did launch a KiwiSaver fund last year whose members are mainly staff and family.

"Our entire business model has been about servicing institutional clients. As I came into the business it became clear we would like to offer what we do for institutions for individuals. Why should you have to have $5m to access Nikko?


The online tool allows people to select a savings goal for things like a holiday, house or retirement and work out how much they would need to save within a certain timeframe to get there.

Users can ask for an investment fund recommendation and the tool will recommend a fund from one of Nikko's range based on the goal and timeframe but they don't have to use those funds.

"The purpose for us is to help people make really good financial decisions," Carter said.

Those that do will go through a process to be identified and then invest the money which will take around two working days.

The tool has taken two years to design and has only been made possible through gaining an exemption for digital advice from the Financial Markets Authority.

The FMA decided to open up the exemptions last year ahead of a law change which will mean financial advice no longer needs to be given by a "natural person" to make it easier for consumers to get access to personalised financial advice.

Nikko is one of four businesses so far to get an exemption. KiwiWealth was the first and it launched a tool in September last year. Financial adviser National Capital also went live this week to give advice on KiwiSaver funds.

Life insurer Cigna also has an exemption but it yet to publicly launch a tool.

Carter said it couldn't offer investment to the general public before because it didn't have the resources the handle paper based applications.

He is hoping the tool will help boost its KiwiSaver members which only has around 50 people in it at the moment.