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Is RAIZ / ACORNS just missing too many tricks?

Discussion in 'General Investing Discussion' started by JoelVermeer, 12th Jul, 2018.

  1. JoelVermeer

    JoelVermeer Member

    9th Sep, 2016
    New South Wales
    Great article today from Graham Hand on Cuffelinks.

    I’ve always thought RAIZ’s business strategy is muddy. In trying to boost their FUM, I think they’ve missed a trick in releasing a superannuation product that is, whilst reasonably cheap, not competitive with the cheapest in the market. And I think they could have taken the initiative and distinguished themselves by addressing an elephant in the room (there are several) of the ongoing Royal Commission, and walking away from percentage‑based fees, beyond a cap. What precisely is the marginal cost to RAIZ of managing $100,000, rather than $10,000 or even $1000? I am guessing something very close to zero.

    But perhaps the biggest trick I think they have missed is to not recognise all the possibilities their (unique?) platform opens up with fractional share ownership. Imagine a “round-up debt-recycler”: the 50c rounded up from your morning coffee comes out of your current account, pays down a non-deductible debt (eg.,a PPOR mortgage), simultaneously redraws against a deductible line of credit (LOC), and then invests that 50c in fractional ownership of a broad‑based, solid dividend paying ETF or LIC. The fractional dividends would be channelled back to pay down the non-deductible debt… rinse and repeat. All happening essentially instantly, with the money flows visible, but ringfenced, in a smartphone app. Perfect product for the millennials once they get older and become first home buyers. And isn’t the time about right for a product that helps Australians get themselves off the world’s debt leader boards?

    Now, to be clear, RAIZ would have to partner with banks or other retail lenders to do this. But banks are having enough challenges with, um, banking right now - so they would want a third party to handle the complexities of fractional share ownership. But look at the size of the prize here, from RAIZ's perspective: for the last three years there has been about $60 BILLION of new or refinanced mortgage lending in Australia, per year. Assuming only 10% of that is captured and paired with a debt‑recycling product, it would pipeline $6bn to be recycled through RAIZ over the (much shortened) lifetime of the non-deductible loan. That makes RAIZ’s current FUM of only $200mn look like birdseed.

    As I understand it, only RAIZ currently has the technological platform to facilitate fractional share ownership (am I right about this?), and make something like the above a reality. Surely they should focus more on the potentially huge opportunities they have here and now in Australia, and stop wasting their time trying to capture the loose Thai Baht, Singapore Dollars and whatever else the third country’s currency was in their grandiose Asian expansion plans.
    inertia and twisted strategies like this.