Watch the Self-Directed Investor Fintech Expo

AWI Ventures has released videos from the Self-Directed Investor Fintech Expo they co-hosted with ASX back in November. So if you missed the event, you can check out the presentations by the fintech companies that exhibited on the day.

AWI Ventures - Australia's only Fintech Accelerator

Here’s our General Manager Doug Morris, doing a brief Sharesight demo for the audience:

And as we mentioned in our roundup of the event, these are the presentations that stood-out for us on the day:

Chris Brycki – Founder & CEO Stockspot

Alistair Bentley – Founder & CEO Simply Wall St

James Marlay – Co-founder Livewire Markets

Jason Prowd – COO Intelligent Investor

All of the day’s videos are available from AWI Ventures’ YouTube Channel, so have a look for yourself and decide whether your investment portfolio could benefit from the services and ideas presented by these innovative companies.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the Sydney and Wellington startup scenes, and especially the global fintech space. Thanks again to AWI and ASX for hosting the event and for letting us present alongside these great fintech companies!

More choice for investors (our feature in the ASX newsletter)

Check out our contribution to the year end bumper edition of the ASX Newsletter. Our Executive Director, Andrew Bird comments on how technology is coming to the rescue for investors looking for choice. While self-managed super and investor-friendly securities such as ETFs and mFunds have helped unpack the bank-owned, vertically integrated bundle, it’s connected applications that are making this a reality.

Screenshot: Sharesight ASX Newsletter Article

We’re excited and honoured to be featured by an institution of ASX’s calibre. Very happy to see that the top end of town is beginning to recognise that fintech firms are for real.

Join us at the Xero Roadshow, February 2015

Calling all accountants and financial advisors: if your clients have investment portfolios, you need Sharesight. It’s really that simple. Just imagine complete client portfolios, automatically updated with dividends and other corporate actions, and 1-click performance and tax reports. Sharesight simplifies day-to-day portfolio management, while providing valuable data-driven insights – so you spend less time doing the mundane stuff, and more time providing valuable insights to your clients. And if you’re looking to spend less time reconciling bank statements and/or chasing paperwork come tax-time, you’ll want to look at synching those Sharesight portfolios to Xero.

If you read our Silver Xero Partner & Certified Advisor blog post, you know that our love for Xero goes way back. So we’re honoured to be part of a select group of Xero Add-Ons who’ve been invited to participate in the Xero Roadshow taking place throughout Australia in February.

Xero Roadshow 2015

Xero will be hitting up 20 cities in all, and Sharesight will be exhibiting at the following dates/locations:

Monday, February 2 — Newcastle
Tuesday, February 3 — Parramatta
Wednesday, February 4 — Sydney
Thursday, February 5 — Canberra
Tuesday, February 10 — Wollongong
Wednesday, February 11 — Brisbane
Thursday, February 12 — Gold Coast
Tuesday, February 17 — Frankston
Wednesday, February 18 — Melbourne
Thursday, February 19 — Adelaide
Monday, February 23 — Perth

Whether you’re an existing Sharesight user or not, stop-by for a one-on-one demo of Sharesight and our beautiful Xero integration which won us Xero Add-On Partner of the Year in 2014. See first-hand how easy it is to push purchase, sale, and dividend details to Xero so they can be easily reconciled against bank statements and included in financial accounts. And watch as Sharesight pulls-in cash balances from Xero, letting you view your clients’ complete financial positions directly within their Sharesight portfolios – automatically, and in real-time. Sharesight + Xero literally eliminates the paper-chase traditionally associated with managing and reporting on investment portfolios, letting you focus on high-value activities such as tax planning and advice instead.

For more information and to register, visit the Xero Roadshow 2015 website and follow all the excitement at #xeroroadshow.

Looking forward to meeting you!

A Tale of Three Aussie Funds

We’re proponents of managed funds. Several of us began our careers in the funds management industry. Trusting a professional to provide sector or regional diversification continues to create wealth for millions of people around the world since managed/mutual funds took off in the early 1980’s.

But there are pitfalls to avoid and Aussie share funds are responsible for some of the most hazardous.

Kangaroos

When you part ways with 2% of the assets you invest (remember that 2% might represent 25% of your total return!) you want confidence that the person/team you’re entrusting your money to is worth it. You want them to have ideas. You want them to have conviction.

The trouble is that this conviction looks awfully similar from one manager to the next. By opening the bonnet* on three of the most popular Australian share funds we can see just how similar they are. Purposefully, we’ve picked three fund companies headquartered in different corners of the globe, each running an Aussie share strategy. Here are their top 10 holdings:

Perpetual

Perpetual Australian Share
($1.6 billion under management – Australia HQ
Fidelity

Fidelity Australian Equities
($3.9 billion under management – U.S HQ)
Schroder

Schroder Australian Equity Fund
($1.7 billion under management – U.K. HQ)
Westpac 9% CBA 10% BHP 10%
NAB 7% ANZ 8% NAB 8%
BHP 7% Suncorp 6% CBA 8%
CBA 6% BHP 6% Westpac 6%
Telstra 5% Wesfarmers 5% ANZ 6%
Wesfarmers 4% Telstra 5% Woolworths 6%
Rio Tinto 4% Westpac 5% Wesfarmers 5%
Aurizon 4% Seek 4% Telstra 4%
Crown Resorts 3% Rio Tinto 4% Rio Tinto 4%
ANZ 3% Oil Search 4% Woodside 4%

In an equally weighted portfolio of these three funds, 9 of the top 10 holdings are common across all three. The only “outlier” is Woolworth’s, which is held by Schroder and Perpetual.

Of the 30 shares held across the funds’ top 10 positions, 23 are the same.

When you compare these active managers to the index (Vanguard Australian Share ETF), only one (one!) company is not represented by the managers: CSL Ltd.

Basically, this means you’re paying a manager 2% to not buy CSL.

If you’re looking for a dramatic twist, you’ll be disappointed. This isn’t an intriguing tale of nefarious corporate collusion, or even one of lacklustre fund managers. The companies held by these funds, especially the larger positions, are simply some of the most high quality companies in Australia. These are world-class companies. The fund managers are right to hold them. These positions aren’t risky bets on companies from disparate sectors. They’re simply the best representation of the Australian economy.

This isn’t a story about holdings, but one about fees. The question is why should you continue to pay a fund manager for ideas that have been public knowledge for years?

These ideas can be easily replicated using a DIY strategy, an mFund (which will hopefully be cheaper), or via an ETF. The Vanguard Australian Share ETF (ticker: VAS) that we used for benchmarking above charges 0.15% per annum.

Assuming you can get an 8% annual return from an Aussie share strategy, you’re giving up 2% of your return versus 25% using a traditional managed fund. And the only sure thing in investing are the fees you pay.

*this data is available from the fund companies’ websites.

The Sharesight Story

Seven years ago my son Scott and I developed Sharesight. We began by asking ourselves a few basic questions, which turned out to be awfully relevant for investors of all stripes.

When you have finally paid off your mortgage and you ready to do some serious saving, where is the best place to put your hard earned cash?

In the bank? Debentures? Bonds? Buy a rental property? Or maybe you could stick it in the share market? Surely not the share market. Everyone has heard of the Wall Street crash and the periodic crashes that have followed.

When I eventually became mortgage free I did some research to answer the big “where to invest” question. To my surprise I discovered that over the long term the share market was hard to beat despite the well-publicised crashes.

Next question: Who should I use to manage my share investments? More research and another surprise. Most investment advisors struggle to outperform market averages. Worse still they charge like wounded bulls but provide you with a very basic record of your investments to say the least and no meaningful performance information at all.

The solution was obvious. I’d do everything myself. Problems solved. Well… not quite. Two things drove me nuts.

  1. Record keeping for tax and accounting purposes was a time-consuming pain in the neck.
  2. How could I be certain share market investing was the best option? Working out the true, annualise return on my shares was damn tricky. No wonder investment advisors don’t do this for their clients.

To solve these problems Scott and I developed Sharesight. Not just for me but for all investors who have the problems I did.

In Sharesight your record keeping is automated. Your trades, dividends, share splits, dividend reinvestments and much more are all recorded for you.

You will love our tax reporting and you can see the true annualised return of every share you own and for your total portfolio over any time period you choose.

But wait – there’s more. Sharesight has been going 7 years now and has developed a host of other features over that time. Many of them kindly suggested by our customers, so please keep the feedback coming.

Sharesight Early Days