Who owns the investments I have through Sharesies?—Sharesies Australia

Who owns the investments I have through Sharesies?

24 May 2021

A love heart padlock locked to a fence.

As an investor with Sharesies, you might be wondering who looks after the money in your Wallet and the investments in your Portfolio. Are they safe? Do you actually own them? (Yes!) How does it all work?!

It’s called ‘custody’

To put it simply, custody, or a custodial service, is how Sharesies keeps your money and investments safe.

Using a custodial service means Sharesies can keep track of your money and investments over their entire journey—from the moment you top up your Wallet and invest, to when you decide to sell your investments and withdraw your money.

Sharesies Limited provides custodial services and takes care of the paperwork and other administrative requirements that come with buying and selling shares. 

This arrangement also allows us to keep you in the loop if you’re eligible to take part in corporate actions through the platform, and to organise your dividend payments when they’re allocated to you. 

Sharesies holds your money and investments ‘on bare trust’. Meaning, they’re held by Sharesies Nominee Limited on your behalf and for your benefit, through a bare trust relationship. You’re in control and provide the instructions on what to do with them (such as buying or selling shares). 

Do I own my investments?

Yes, you own all of the investments you have through Sharesies. In legal terms, you’re referred to as the ‘beneficial owner’ of your investments—you get the benefits of owning them. For example, you’re entitled to the full value of your investments, and if you make a gain, it’s yours. If anything were to happen to Sharesies—it’s still yours.

How are my money and investments protected?

Business structure

Sharesies works hard to keep your money and investments safe. To do this, your money and investments are kept separate from the money Sharesies uses day-to-day to develop and maintain the platform. 

  • Sharesies Limited provides the custodial services and employs the New Zealand-based staff, develops and maintains the Sharesies platform, and does everything else in between to run the New Zealand company. 

  • Sharesies Nominee Limited holds investors’ money and investments on their behalf. Keeping your money with Sharesies Nominee Limited means that it isn’t mixed up with the money used to keep the Sharesies platform running!

If anything were to happen to Sharesies Limited, your money would still be safe because it’s held completely separately by, or on behalf of, Sharesies Nominee Limited. 

Audits

The custodial service is audited every year by an independent auditor. The audit is a thorough process where the auditor looks in detail at all of the systems and controls we’ve put in place to keep your money and investments safe. Sharesies investors can get a copy of the latest audit report by emailing help@sharesies.com.au.

How are my Australian, US, and NZ investments held?

Your investments are held in custody within Sharesies Nominee Limited. The custody arrangement slightly differs for Australian, US, and NZ investments. 

Australian shares

If you buy shares listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), they’re held on your behalf in the name of Sharesies Nominee Limited.

A Holder Identification Number, or HIN, gets allocated to those who trade ASX-listed investments. A HIN allows the ASX to identify the new share owner each time shares are bought. Because your investments are held in the name of Sharesies Nominee Limited, there’s one shared HIN for all Sharesies investors. This shared HIN also means that you can invest with no minimum amount!

The main thing to remember is that even though your investments aren’t held under a personal HIN, they still belong to you

US shares

Custody for US investments works a bit differently.

Sharesies works with DriveWealth to execute your trades on the three US exchanges we provide some access to—the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).

DriveWealth also organises the custody of your US investments on behalf of Sharesies Limited. Investments are held in the name of Sharesies Nominee Limited. This arrangement means we can offer access to these US exchanges with no minimum investment and competitive pricing.

Remember, you have control over your investments, and they belong to you

NZ shares

Shares you buy on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) are held on your behalf in the name of Sharesies Nominee Limited.

When you buy NZX-listed shares, the trade is linked to the NZ equivalent of a HIN—this is called a Common Shareholder Number (CSN). Again, as your investments are held under Sharesies’ name, we use one shared CSN for all Sharesies investors.

Your investments aren’t held under a personal CSN, but they still belong to you

Wrapping up 🌯

You own the investments you have through Sharesies. You’re an investor—woohoo!

We’ve built a custodial service to make sure we’re taking care of your money and investments the entire time you’re using Sharesies. We can’t use your money or do anything with your investments unless you tell us to.

If you have any other questions about this, get in touch at help@sharesies.com.au!