Behind the scenes: Sharesies’ custodial service

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? How does it all work?!

It’s called ‘custody’

To put it simply, custody is about how we keep your money and investments safe.

We’ve got a custodial system so that we can keep track of your money and investments over their entire journey—from the moment you top up your Wallet and your investments are sitting safely in your account, to when you decide to sell your investments and withdraw your money.

Your money and investments are in our care, but we can’t do anything with them unless you instruct us. It’s sort of like if you were to give us physical cash that we were going to exchange for goods. We’re holding onto the money and the goods on your behalf until you tell us to do something else with them.

Our custodial service gets audited every year by an independent auditor. For the past two audits, this has been done by KPMG. The audit is a thorough process where KPMG looks in detail at all of the systems and controls we’ve put in place to keep your money and investments safe, and makes sure they’ve always worked and continue to work effectively.

It’s super important that we do this—firstly, because it’s a legal requirement! And secondly, because keeping your money and investments secure is vital. We want assurance from external experts that we’re doing that in the best ways possible! Sharesies customers can get a copy of the latest audit report by emailing [email protected].

How does it work?

You own all of the money and investments you have in Sharesies. To make sure your money’s always safe, we’ve set up Sharesies into two separate companies:

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  • Sharesies Limited employs our staff, develops and maintains the platform, produces these blogs, and does everything else in between to run the company. Our Board and team all work for Sharesies Limited, and investors in the company own shares in Sharesies Limited.

  • Sharesies Nominee Limited holds all the customer money and any investments in managed and non-listed funds. This is great because it means that anything we’re holding for our customers can’t get mixed up with the money we use to run our business.

Any investments that you make in companies or funds listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) are held in the NZX Depository under the name New Zealand Nominees Depository Limited.

If anything were to happen to Sharesies Limited, your money would still be safe because it’s held completely separately in Sharesies Nominee Limited and the NZX Depository! We hold your money and investments in Sharesies Nominee Limited and the NZX Depository ‘on bare trust’. This means we’re holding it on your behalf and in our name, but they still belong to you. We can’t do anything to your money or investments unless you tell us to (e.g. when you use Sharesies to deposit/withdraw money, or buy/sell shares).

All investments made through Sharesies are purchased and held under Sharesies Nominee Limited, or under the Common Shareholder Number (CSN) of New Zealand Nominees Depository Limited. A CSN is used to identify you as a shareholder across all New Zealand share registries. At the moment, we don’t have personal CSNs available for Sharesies customers. Even though your investments aren’t held under your personal CSN, they still belong to you.

Wrap-up

  • You’re the owner of your money and investments, and that never changes. You’re an investor—woohoo!

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

  • Sharesies is highly regulated. There are laws and rules in place to make sure that we look after your money and investments.

  • All NZX-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and companies are held under Sharesies Nominee Limited’s name, and under the CSN of New Zealand Nominees Depository Limited.

If you have any other questions about this, get in touch at [email protected]!