AWI provides first seed funding to online ETF provider

Australasian Wealth Investments (AWI) has invested $250,000 of seed funding into an online investment advice and managed funds supplier via a subsidiary of the group.

AWI Ventures made the first of 10 similar investments to Australian financial services start-ups, supplying the seed funding to Stockspot which provides investments via automated advice and portfolios of exchange traded funds (ETF).

Stockspot chief executive Chris Brycki said the funding, which would secure a small stake in Stockspot for AWI, would be used to scale up the online investment service and to compete in the established market space, which he said "has historically been dominated by Australia's big four banks and their distribution networks".

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Brycki has been critical of the current model of financial advice and funds management, claiming that active funds management fees were akin to double dipping clients, while financial planning advice would be undercut by online advice providers.

AWI chief executive Ben Heap said the investment in Stockspot and its approach was consistent with the themes of providing diverse low cost and low risk investments that AWI focused on in financial services.

The move by AWI is the third investment of its kind. The group recently purchased Intelligent Investor Publishing, an online self-directed investor service and a sizeable stake in van Eyk Research.

The funding of Stockspot follows the announcement of a program of similar investment — the AWI Ventures Accelerator Program — which will invest $1 million in 10 early-stage Australian financial services start-ups.

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