An Australian-based digital brokerage is hoping to give 20,000 Kiwis a helping hand to invest in sharemarkets in the United States.
More than 5,000 New Zealanders have already signed up to trade shares through the company, Stake, since May (almost 700 a week) many doing so using a simple app on their phone.
But the firm's global head of marketing Bryan Wilmot says it expects to have 20,000 New Zealanders using the platform by the end of the year.
He says Kiwis are "pretty savvy" investors – and they are young. He says people aged 25 to 40 make up the largest segment of Stake's New Zealand clients with a majority aged 30 to 35.
"We have this real gravitational pull toward the younger investor," he says. "They're up-and-coming, they're professionals. They're living in the city, they're earning a decent wage, and they are on the path to having a high net worth."
Wilmot says he believes young investors are attracted to Stake because it's an innovative company offering an innovative, sophisticated brokerage experience - and bringing commission-free trading to New Zealand.
"I guess they are 'new generation investors' who are really active in the markets," he says. "It's interesting how technology influences people's expectations of the products and services they use.
"As soon as you see how technology can make things easier, you start to demand that across all the products you use, and our audience really doesn't want to be part of a broken category – old school sharebroking."
Wilmot says young investors don't want to be part of a system where it's big and slow, and customers "aren't given the benefits they should have because of a lack of transparency or innovation".
He says there is a strong investment community in New Zealand. "We have been in Australia for three years and being so close to New Zealand, we had people constantly contacting us asking when we would be available here."
"People are actively looking outside New Zealand for investment opportunities and trends, and they stay across them through all sorts of publications. I think it's the sort of diversity of opportunity that makes global trading so interesting."
During the recent lockdown Wilmot watched as the firm's Kiwi clients bought shares in companies such as video conferencing site Zoom, Facebook, Google and vaccine makers, as well as Carnival Cruise Lines – one of the most popularly traded stocks on the platform during the lockdown.
Wilmot says: "Even though Carnival was absolutely tanking, some investors figured they will bounce back at some point and bought shares when they were rock bottom.
"Our members are enjoying easy access to global markets that offer a much wider range of investment opportunities than local exchanges such as the NZX and ASX can offer," he says.
"And of course members are trading in the evening for the US market. They're really engaged."
Wilmot sees a broad mix with people using the Stake platform. Some buy shares to hold long-term while others are day traders planning to turn a profit by buying at night and perhaps selling over breakfast (if their portfolio has risen).
Stake helps 100,000 clients trade around 10 million shares a month with a combined value of US$300 million.
"We don't charge a commission so clients don't pay a transaction fee to trade," says Wilmot. "There are some firms charging $15 to buy or sell and that can really add up."
While trades are commission-free at Stake, there is a one per cent fee ($2 minimum) to convert New Zealand dollars into US currency – needed to buy shares on US markets. But this fee only applies when moving funds in and out of the Stake platform – not per trade.
Wilmot says Stake is not about providing financial advice or share market tips: "We love to see that people are in chat forums, sharing ideas and strategies; we love having such a passionate community, we're all about our customers."
The company also has a help desk available by phone and email for people facing technical issues or who want to ask questions.
"Customers can always access a member of staff who will address any concerns they might have or help them understand a certain process a little bit better," says Wilmot.
"We think that people should understand the sort of products that they're buying into, and so we really try to make sure that we're transparent."
For more information go to: hellostake.com