Who owns the investments I have through Sharesies? (Hint: you do!)—Sharesies New Zealand
Skip to main content

Who owns the investments I have through Sharesies? (Hint: you do!)

Explainers

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?!

30 September 2019

4 min read

Who owns the investments I have through Sharesies? (Hint: you do!)

It’s called ‘custody’

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

Using a custodial service means we 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.

It’s through this custodial service that we take care of the administrative requirements that come with buying and selling shares. 

We keep you in the loop if you’re eligible to take part in corporate actions facilitated through Sharesies, and to organise your dividend payments when they’re allocated to you. 

We hold your money and investments ‘on bare trust’. Meaning, we hold them on your behalf and for your benefit. You’re in control and provide the instructions on what to do with them (such as buying or selling shares). 

You own your investments and have control over them

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. In other words, you’re the owner entitled to the full value of your investments, and if you make a gain, it’s yours. 

You control when you want to buy, sell, withdraw or participate in corporate actions made available on Sharesies. We act on your instructions. We don’t make investment decisions for you.

How are my money and investments protected?

Business structure

We work hard to keep your money and investments safe. To do this, your money and investments are kept separate from the money we use day-to-day to develop and maintain the platform. 

  • Sharesies Limited 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. Your money and shares are held separately to the money used in the operation of the business.

Audits

Our custodial service is audited every year by KPMG—our independent custodial 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 email our Investor Care team to get a copy of the latest custody audit report.  

Is custody the same for my NZ, Australian, and US investments?

The process of buying and selling shares works differently around the world. So our custody arrangement slightly differs for NZ, Australian, and US investments. 

NZ shares

Shares you buy on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) are held by NZ Depository on behalf of Sharesies Nominee, on your behalf. A Common Shareholder Number, or CSN, gets allocated to those who trade NZX-listed investments. We use one shared CSN for all Sharesies investors so 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 CSN, they belong to you

Australian shares

Shares you buy that are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) are held on your behalf, in the name of Sharesies Nominee Limited. When you buy ASX-listed shares, the trade is linked to the Australian equivalent of a CSN—this is called a Holder Identification Number (HIN). Again, as your investments are held under our name, we use one shared HIN for all Sharesies investors. Your investments aren’t held under a personal HIN, but 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 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. 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 through our service, and they belong to you.

Wrapping up

You own the investments you have through Sharesies and have control over them. 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, get in touch at help@sharesies.co.nz.


Ok, now for the legal bit

Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Start investing with just 1¢