Online investment platform Stake wants to reinvent super for millennials by letting them take the reins of their retirement savings

Stake is reinventing self-managed super.
  • Stake is trialling a new self-managed super fund (SMSF) that promises to allow Australians to control their superannuation investments.
  • The online investment platform is promising to slash the cost of owning an SMSF, opening up access to a younger generation.
  • CEO and founder Matt Leibowitz told Business Insider Australia that while he was an early investor in super fund disrupter Spaceship, challengers had failed to shake up the market.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

You might not be able to access your nest egg until your twilight years, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t have total control over how you grow it, according to investment broker Stake.

The Australian platform, which made its name pioneering zero-commission trading on Wall Street, is diving into superannuation as it looks to shake up the $3 trillion sector for a new generation.

“If you’re in your early 30s, you want to manage your own money, not pay a percentage point to someone else to do a worse job,” CEO and founder Matt Leibowitz told Business Insider Australia.

“This is what the new generation wants. To finally shake up super and turn it on its head.”

Therein lies the pitch for what Stake promises will be an all-digital self-managed super fund (SMSF) that puts millennials back in the driver’s seat.

With SMSFs able to buy everything from houses and art to wine and even crypto, the investment vehicle is largely only limited to an individual’s imagination.

Lowering the drawbridge

While SMSFs have been knowing around for years, they’ve long-been the domain of an older and well-heeled class. It’s no wonder. Rules of thumb posit that individuals require anywhere between $250,000 and $500,000 in savings to make them worth the trouble, raising the drawbridge for most people under the age of 35.

With 65% of Stake customers firmly in that demographic, Leibowitz wants to change all that. He believes that members will need just $50,000 in super, or $25,000 each for couples, for Stake’s service to make financial sense, with annual fees to run under $1,000.

An early investor in super fund Spaceship who has since “taken some money off the table”, he said he was disappointed in how other challengers had all fallen flat.

“I think the disruptors need to be disrupted because they have not delivered on what they promised customers. That’s why we’re doing this,” Leibowitz said.

“They just haven’t been able to give customers what they’re actually after, which is control, transparency, fee reduction, and an ability to invest in what they want.”

Likening it to putting “lipstick on a pig”, Leibowitz said the newer players had tried to build nice interfaces on top of the old SMSF model.

Of course, they disagree. In a statement to Business Insider Australia, Spaceship said it had grown to $550 million in funds under management and 100,000 members.

“When it comes to super, more choice and education for consumers is a good thing,” CEO Andrew Moore said.

But regardless, Stake is striving to do it differently. To do so, it has hired chartered accountant and SMSF veteran Kris Kitto to help create Stake’s own super product, with an eye to launch by the end of March next year.

“We’re basically going to rebuild from the ground up over a period of time,” Kitto told Business Insider Australia.

Currently trialling the platform with Stake staff and 100 customers, the idea will be to offer a service that automatically takes care of all the boring administrative and auditing aspects of owning an SMSF, so as to allow Australians to focus on investing.

“Once we’re up and running we’ll start adding more and more investment options, and basically just build up this catalog of available investments in a way that we haven’t been seen before,” Kitto said.

“Stake investors aren’t amateurs. They’ve got experience and they want control so now we just need to make self-managed super accessible for them and then watch them go.”