Acorns Grow Australia readies for soft launch

Acorns Grow Australia is ready to start beta testing on its micro investing app, with plans for a soft launch by early next year.

The app, which emanates from a joint venture between boutique fund manager Instreet Investment and US-based investment and personal finance start-up Acorns Grow, has now passed regulatory and legal requirements and received over 15,000 sign-ups.

"We are putting the final touches onto the Acorns technology and optimising it for Australian use – our biggest priority is making sure our product provides the best possible experience to our Australian investors, and we're taking the time to make sure the technology reflects this," an Acorns Grow Australia statement said.

"We're very close to having a product that is ready to go into Beta testing."

Speaking to ifa, Instreet managing director George Lucas said the app allows investors to invest a small amount of money into ASX-listed ETF portfolios ranging from aggressive to conservative risk profiles.

"We're not saying it's replacing broking accounts or super funds or anything like that, it's just another investment product that you can have; it's like a virtual piggy bank," he said.

Mr Lucas said it was useful for advisers because it can be used as tool for them to introduce the idea of behavioural change.

"Advisers often have more mature clients who will have kids, and often those clients will ask advisers how they can get their kids into the discipline of saving. Advisers can then show them the app," he said.

"It's also a tool for advisers to engage their younger clients. The goal is about a behavioural change; this will allow you to save money before or while you're spending. You'll see the small amounts do add up, but it doesn't have an effect on your lifestyle."

Investors will be able to download the app for free and then pay a flat $15-a-year fee, with no penalties for switching between portfolios.

The US version of the app went live last August, currently has over one million members and is accumulating about 100,000 new members each month.

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