New Zealanders now have more choice and control over their investments with the introduction of an innovative digital wealth solution called Kernel. Through the smart use of modern technology, Kernel provides ambitious individuals with the information, tools, and products they need to reach their long-term investment goals.
But the innovation doesn’t stop there, because the company also creates new index-tracking funds providing more diverse market exposure.
CEO Dean Anderson says Kernel is targeted at investors who understand the benefits of investing in the capital markets, are looking beyond rental properties and who have an eye on the future. “While we’ve seen a revolution in fintech, the investing space to date hasn’t seen much in the way of digital transformation,” he points out.
Kernel is challenging that with an entirely digital operating model with an intuitive and informative investment experience. “Convenience and accessibility are king for Kernel’s customers”, says Anderson.
“Kernel empowers users with the tools to take control of their investments with ease. This makes investing accessible for the newcomer while delivering a highly satisfying experience for the seasoned professional. From there, our platform equips the investor to buy and sell investments at the literal click of a button, with no transaction fees.”
Kernel is also addressing what it believes is a gap in the market in terms of vehicles available to investors and advisers. Anderson, who spent several years as head of product for a large ETF provider, explains: “Fund development and innovation isn’t keeping pace with the growth in market opportunities and customer expectations,” he says.
“Fund options have stagnated. We’re here to change that by growing the range of investments available so our investors can customise a portfolio to suit their own risk tolerance and objectives.”
At launch, the company is offering three NZ equity index funds namely the NZ 20, NZ Commercial Property, and NZ Level 9.
NZ 20, explains Anderson, tracks twenty of the largest and most liquid companies listed on the NZX (NZ stock exchange). “Until now, nobody has offered a Top 20 fund, yet these companies have strong historical performance. It gives our investors unique exposure to a basket of the country’s big utilities and other corporates.”
The NZ Level 9 fund, on the other hand, tracks the newly developed S&P/NZX Emerging Opportunities index, holding around 40 companies. “This lets our investors put their money into an innovative mix of small and medium sized companies on the NZX, and becomes the first index fund to invest beyond the 50 largest companies.
The S&P/NZX Emerging Opportunities Index takes a unique and innovative approach to defining small and mid-sized companies by including the smaller companies in the existing S&P/NZX MidCap Index and the larger, more liquid companies in the S&P/NZX SmallCap Index.
“This new index aims to highlight companies outside of the S&P/NZX 50 Index, commonly viewed as the investable universe in New Zealand, and foster growth and liquidity in a currently nascent area of the domestic equity market,” said Michael Orzano, Senior Director, Global Equity Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The range of funds are distributed direct to retail through the Kernel investor dashboard and are also made available to a nationwide network of advisers and wholesale investors.
Anderson describes Kernel as ‘a digital wealth solution’. “We’re taking a traditional index fund management approach and delivering it with a modern experience. Kernel makes investing easy, accessible and engaging,” he concludes.