General FAQs

 

About Stockspot
Stockspot portfolios
Stockspot Themes
Sign-up process
Accounts
Investing and withdrawals
Fees
Dividends
Reporting
Providers

About Stockspot

What is Stockspot?

Stockspot is Australia's first completely online and automated investment adviser and fund manager.

How does Stockspot work?

Our investment advice process is fully online. We ask you to complete an investment profile about your personal circumstances when you sign-up to determine if investing in a diversified portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) is the right strategy for you. If it is, we will match you with one of 5 Stockspot portfolios.

Once you provide your personal details, complete the online ID check as required by law and sign off on your agreements, we will establish all the necessary accounts for you. You will receive details of your new accounts and you are ready to invest. You’ll be able to view your portfolio online, and we will provide ongoing monitoring and rebalancing of your portfolio.

What is the minimum amount that I can invest via Stockspot?

Our minimum investment amount is $2,000 and our service is free for the first 6 months if you invest $10,000 or less.

Portfolios over $50,000 benefit from a reduction in fees, as well as the ability to personalise your portfolio with a range of investment themes.

How does Stockspot compare to traditional fund managers?

We are less risky than the average active fund manager as we don’t try to beat the market. Traditional advisers and active fund managers will claim that their unique skill allows them to beat the market. In reality, 70% of Australian general equity fund managers underperform the market return after you include their fees.

In the Fat Cat Funds Report we found that only 1% of fund managers benchmarked to the S&P/ASX 200 consistently beat the market for the last 5 years.

Instead of trying to beat the market, we offer portfolios that track a broad range of global assets with low fees. The funds track a wide spread of assets, thereby reducing risk via diversification.

Are the Stockspot portfolios available via other WRAP or SMA platforms?

No. We believe that one of the biggest drags on investment performance is the layers of fees levied by platforms. These include establishment fees, contribution fees, administration fees, execution fees and commissions charged on trades and cash balances. We’ve designed Stockspot to remove as many of these fees as possible so clients end up with a portfolio that is in a greater position to deliver a better after-fee performance. As a result we are unable to offer the Stockspot portfolios on WRAP or SMA platforms as this would result in higher costs to clients.

Why would I use Stockspot versus doing it myself via an online broker?

Stockspot offers the following benefits:

  1. No brokerage costs – we don’t charge brokerage and as such are often a more cost effective solution particularly for people with smaller portfolios.
  2. Re-balancing – we do not charge brokerage to rebalance your portfolio. Over time your portfolio will ‘drift’ away from its target mix when some investments perform better than others. We continuously monitor the performance of assets in your portfolio and periodically rebalance them back to your target mix when this occurs.
  3. Personalised advice – we continually monitor clients financial objectives, liquidity needs and risk tolerance to ensure that the portfolio they own is the most appropriate one.
  4. Portfolio construction and asset allocation – our chosen asset classes and ETFs are not static so you get access to our expertise on investment selection which can make a big difference to your long-term portfolio performance.
  5. Reporting and administration – we provide 9 different reports which are available online, all of the time. Our service is also audited annually.
  6. Tax – we help ensure that you are set up to access the tax benefits of the Double Tax Agreement between Australia and the United States for your overseas investments.
Is Stockspot regulated by the government?

We are a licensed financial service provider and regulated by ASIC.

Does Stockspot operate under an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL)?

Yes, Stockspot Pty Ltd (ACN 163 214 319) operates as an Authorised Representative (AR No. 453421) of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (ABN 18 136 960 775) AFSL Number: 337927.

What happens in the unlikely event that Stockspot stops operating?

If Stockspot stops operating, you simply keep holding your cash and investments. All assets are held in your own name when you invest via Stockspot. Cash is held in an individual Cash Management Account (CMA) at Macquarie Bank (in your name) and all ETFs are held on an individual client Holder Identification Number (HIN) at Desktop Broker.

Is my money safe?

Yes. All assets - cash and ETFs - are held in your own name.

Does Stockspot offer a superannuation product?

Only for Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) at this stage. While we do not currently have a retail super product, we can accept investments from SMSFs, as well as from individuals.

How do I contact Stockspot?

You can contact us at enquiries@stockspot.com.au or call us on (02) 8245 0503, 9am-5pm Mon-Fri AEST. We are also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Stockspot portfolios

How are the portfolios built?

We allocate the percentage of each asset class in your portfolio using Mean-Variance Optimisation, the foundation of Modern Portfolio Theory. The economists who developed this, Harry Markowitz and William Sharpe, received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1990. Today it is the most widely accepted framework for managing diversified investment portfolios.

What is my money invested in when I invest via Stockspot?

We only invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

What is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)?

An exchange traded fund (or ETF) is an investment fund that is traded on Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). ETFs track an asset class such as Australian shares, international shares, bonds or metals. They provide direct exposure to a wide range of investments in their asset class. For example, an Australian equity ETF holds a wide range of shares in the same proportion as each company’s value on the ASX. It gives investors access to a broad range of securities through a single trade.

Do I directly own the underlying ETF securities?

Yes. All securities are held in your name via a unique HIN (Holder Identification Number) that identifies you as the holder of the securities on the CHESS subregister.

How diversified is my portfolio?

The ETFs that Stockspot invests in own more than 1,400 investment holdings from around the world. For more details, please refer to our portfolios page.

How do I view my Stockspot portfolio?

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email with a secure invitation to view your portfolio online. After this you'll be able to access your portfolio via the 'View portfolio' link on our homepage.

How often do you rebalance my portfolio?

Over time your portfolio will ‘drift’ away from its target mix when some investments perform better than others. We continuously monitor the performance of assets in your portfolio and periodically rebalance them back to your target mix when this occurs to help reduce your risk over time. We are not able to predict when we are likely to rebalance because it depends on the performance of each of the assets.

Rebalancing in this way was developed by Nobel Prize winning economists and is now the most widely accepted framework for managing diversified portfolios. We also use deposits, withdrawals and reinvestment of distributions as opportunities for rebalancing your portfolio.

How will you notify me of changes to my portfolio?

We will notify you by email whenever your portfolio is rebalanced.

How can I choose a different investment strategy if my situation changes?

You can make the change by logging into your investment dashboard.

  • Review and update your investment profile under ‘Settings’
  • Select a different investment strategy under ‘Portfolio’

Once you select and confirm the strategy, you will need to review and sign your new investment agreement.

Our team will also review the new strategy before we implement any portfolio changes for you to ensure it is suitable based on your investment horizon and risk profile. There are no fees associated with investment changes.

If I want to invest in more than one Stockspot portfolio, do I need to open separate accounts?

To open another Stockspot portfolio with a different risk profile, you will need to complete a separate application online. So that your investments can be easily audited, another Stockspot-linked Cash Management Account (CMA) will be opened for you so we can map where deposits should be invested and from which account distributions have been received. We can link these portfolios so that you’re able to view and track them using a single login.

Can I add to or replace any of the ETFs Stockspot recommends?

We have made the decision to limit investments to what we believe are the most efficient portfolio allocations for our clients based on different risk profiles. We chose each of the ETFs because we believe they represent the best way to invest in each respective asset class.

The assets we have included work together to provide the best risk versus reward payoff based on our rigorous analysis. Removing assets would change the risk profile of the portfolios and could negatively impact client returns and risk over time. Therefore at this stage we do not offer the ability to change and tailor the portfolios based on personal preferences.

Can I move my other shares into Stockspot (known as an in specie transfer)?

At this stage Stockspot is limited to the ETF investments that we select for the portfolios. This helps to reduce the cost to you.

Is there a portfolio focused on dividend stocks or global shares?

Stockspot’s investment methodology is based on Modern Portfolio Theory. It states that returns are best maximised for any level of risk through the optimal mix of asset classes. Clients in the Silver, Gold or Platinum fee tiers also have the option to add Stockspot Themes to their portfolio which include a dividend shares theme and several global share themes.

Will Stockspot invest all of my money in one go, or will it be invested over a period of time?

Stockspot will invest your money all at once. The benefit of investing in a portfolio of relatively uncorrelated asset classes is that when one asset class is down, it’s likely others may be up to help offset it. Therefore, timing is less important when you invest in a diversified portfolio.

If you would rather spread when you invest over a period of time, you can set up a regular transfer or payment into your Stockspot account. 

Can I choose when to rebalance my portfolio to manage capital gains?

This is not possible as we manage the rebalancing process to maximise return versus risk over the long term.

Why am I not invested in all of the ETFs in the Stockspot portfolio?

For portfolios less than $10,000, we phase-in each asset class instead of buying all of the ETFs with each investment you make. This helps to ensure that all investments are made in ‘marketable’ denominations under ASX rules. During the phase-in period, our investment engine combines assets to balance the risk vs return according to your investment profile. By the time your portfolio reaches $10,000, you will own all of the ETFs as part of your Stockspot portfolio.

The portfolios are constructed in a way that aims to maximise returns vs risk, and your portfolio is still benefiting from exposure to hundreds of different stocks.

Can I trade my funds myself?

Stockspot’s investment methodology is based on Modern Portfolio Theory. It states that returns are best maximised for any level of risk through the optimal mix of asset classes. Our chosen asset classes and ETFs are not static so you get access to our expertise on investment selection which can make a big difference to your long-term portfolio performance. Clients in the Silver, Gold or Platinum fee tiers also have the option to add Stockspot Themes to their portfolio.

Stockspot Themes

How were the Stockspot Themes selected?

The Stockspot Themes have been selected based on our investment criteria. We have selected funds which offer low-cost, transparent and liquid exposure to asset classes, sectors and market factors that compliment the Stockspot Model Portfolios. For more information, see Our chosen ETFs.

Why might I add a theme to my portfolio?

Stockspot Themes enable you to choose areas of the market you want a greater focus on in your portfolio. For example you might want additional exposure to certain geographic regions (such as Japan or the U.S.), asset classes (global property or bonds), or market factors (small companies, dividend shares or socially responsible shares).

Stockspot Themes let you tilt your portfolio to your chosen areas of interest while still ensuring that your portfolio remains consistent with your investment goals and risk profile.

Do I need themes in my portfolio?

The Stockspot Model Portfolios are already diversified across thousands of companies, sectors, regions and industries. Themes can offer additional exposure to a select area of the market but aren't necessary for broad diversification benefits.

How do I personalise my portfolio by adding or changing a theme?

New clients:
You’re able to personalise their portfolio with a range of carefully selected investment themes during the sign-up process provided you qualify for the Gold or Platinum fee tiers.

Existing clients:
Qualifying clients can access Stockspot Themes under the ‘Portfolio’ section of your investment dashboard. Once you’ve updated your themes, you will need to sign your new investment agreement.

How many themes can I add to my portfolio and how often can I change them?

Similar to the Stockspot Model Portfolios, themes should be part of your long-term investment plan and are not suitable to be frequently changed. We encourage clients to consider each theme as a 3 to 10 year investment as this will reduce the impact of short-term market moves and improve the probability of a positive return.

Stockspot clients can have up to 3 themes in their portfolio at any one time including a maximum number of growth and defensive themes based on your investment strategy. The number of theme changes, which includes adding or removing a theme from your portfolio, is dependent on your fee tier.

GoldUp to 4 theme changes per year.
PlatinumUp to 5 theme changes per year.
How much of my portfolio will be invested in each theme?

Themes are optimised for each clients portfolio based on their goals, risk profile and core investment strategy. Each theme will typically contribute between 5% and 10% of your overall portfolio value once fully implemented.

Why are Stockspot Themes only available for Gold and Platinum tier clients?

Stockspot Themes only make up a small part of each portfolio so in order to meet our minimum trade size requirements they can only be offered for portfolios over $50,000. Bronze and Silver tier clients continue to have access to the full benefits of the Stockspot Model Portfolios and are eligible for themes once their portfolio reaches $50,000.

Do you offer smart beta themes?

Smart beta relates to investing in well-known market 'factors' in a transparent and low-cost way. The following Stockspot Themes offer focused exposure to specific market factors: Australian large companies, Australian small companies, Australian dividend shares, Australian socially responsible shares. For more information, see our views on smart beta.

Sign-up process

How do I sign-up to Stockspot?

You can sign-up using the ‘Try it free’ button on our home page.

Once you’ve created an account, the steps in the process are:

  1. Complete your investment profile
  2. Review the recommended investment strategy and select your portfolio
  3. Provide your personal details
  4. Verify your ID online
  5. Review and sign-off agreements
  6. Set-up your bank account
Why do you need details about my income and assets?

Stockspot offers personalised advice and we aim to offer you the most appropriate investment strategy for your circumstances. In order to do this we need to know a bit about your situation. We also need to ensure that a Stockspot investment is in your best interests as investing isn’t suitable for everyone.

Why do you ask for my Tax File Number (TFN) and linked bank account details?

Providing your Tax File Number is not compulsory, but withholding tax may be deducted from your interest earnings if you do not provide your Tax File Number or a TFN exemption code.

We ask for your linked bank account details to allow us to transfer funds back to you when you decide to sell your investments. The account holder name must match with your Stockspot account name. Please note that this does not enable Stockspot to direct debit from your bank account and to invest, you can deposit money to Stockspot via EFT or BPAY.

Can I invest as a SMSF trustee?

Yes - you will need to have the following details handy:

  • Front and Execution Pages of the Trust Deed
  • Schedule A of the Trust Deed, if one was created
  • A company extract if the Trustee of the SMSF Trust is a company
  • All relevant Tax File Numbers (TFN)
What are my options if I have failed the online ID verification process?

If you fail the online ID check process we will contact you with a list of documents we require to identify you. Please contact us at enquires@stockspot.com.au if you need any further assistance.

Do I need to open the new account request email I received from Macquarie Bank?

Yes, you will need to open this email to approve your new Cash Management Account (CMA).

  • Click on the “Review and submit application” link in the email and validate your ID.
  • Resume your application and submit. We have entered the personal details you’ve provided us. If you notice any errors, please contact us at enquires@stockspot.com.au rather than editing the application. This will ensure that there are no discrepancies and avoid delays in setting up your account.
  • Enter the 4-digit PIN supplied in the email to approve the CMA.

Please note that:

i) The minimum investment amount listed in Macquarie’s Product Disclosure Statement is not relevant to Stockspot accounts and our minimum investment is $2,000.

ii) The MDA Operator (Sanlam) has general withdrawal authority on your CMA to transfer funds into the account when you decide to sell your investments. It also enables any Stockspot fees, if applicable, to be deducted each month.

Do I need to respond to the submitting your account email from Macquarie Bank?

No. If there are any issues with verifying your identification, our team will liaise directly with Macquarie Bank.

Accounts

What types of account does Stockspot support?

Stockspot currently supports individual, joint and trust accounts (including SMSFs).

Where are the assets in my Stockspot portfolio held?

All assets are held in your own name when you invest via Stockspot. Cash is held in an individual Cash Management Account (CMA) at Macquarie Bank in your name, and all ETFs are held on individual client HINs at Desktop Broker.

Can I open multiple accounts?

Yes, provided each investment account meets the minimum investment requirement of $2,000. For each account you should submit a separate application using a unique email address.

What if I already have a Macquarie Bank account? Do I need to open another one?

Yes, all clients need to have a separate Macquarie cash management account (CMA) attached to their Stockspot portfolio. This allows deposits, withdrawals, portfolio distributions and fees to be monitored as well as audited each year as part of our service. 

Can I invest with Stockspot if I live outside Australia?

You may be eligible to invest with us if you are currently living outside of Australia. Please email enquiries@stockspot.com.au with information on your citizenship and current residency status and we will let you know if you’re eligible.

Can I invest with Stockspot if I am an overseas citizen living in Australia?

Yes, conditional on passing our ID check process including a copy of your passport and proof of your residential address.

How do I close my account?

You can close your account by requesting a full withdrawal under ‘Transfer money’ in your investment dashboard. The process typically takes 5 business days in accordance with the ASX’s standard settlement timeline.

Investing and withdrawals

How do I deposit into my Stockspot account?

Once you are fully set-up, you will receive details of your Stockspot Cash Management Account (CMA). You can deposit money into your CMA either via BPAY or electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account.

I've opened my Stockspot account and transferred my money into my Stockspot cash account. What happens now?

We'll let you know by email when your money reaches your Stockspot cash account. This can take up to 2 business days - your bank should be able to tell you how long the transfer will take.

Our system will automatically invest the funds into your Stockspot portfolio.. We'll confirm by email when this has been completed and ready to view in your investment dashboard.

What is the minimum investment amount?

$2,000

Why does Macquarie list a minimum investment amount of $5,000 in their product document?

The amount is part of Macquarie’s generic product document and does not apply to Stockspot clients. The minimum investment amount for Stockspot clients is $2,000.

How do I top-up my investments?

You can deposit money into your Stockspot cash account at any time via BPAY or electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account. Our system will automatically invest the funds into your portfolio when your bank has processed the transfer. The transfer of funds can take up to 2 business days to clear - your bank should be able to tell you how long the transfer will take.

Once the funds have been cleared they will be invested within 3 business days as long as the balance of your cash account is more than the ​minimum​ amount required​ for portfolio top-ups​.

Investment balance​Minimum cash balance required for portfolio top-ups
$0 to $20,000$1,000
$20,001 to $100,000$2,000
$100,001+$3,000

The minimum amount helps ensure ​we maintain a small percentage of your investment balance in cash, and all investments are made in ‘marketable’ denominations under ASX rules.

Do I need to let you know once I've made a transfer or deposit?

There is no need to notify us as our system will automatically invest the funds into your portfolio once your bank has processed the transfer. The transfer of funds can take up to 2 business days to clear - your bank should be able to tell you how long the transfer will take.

Once the funds have been cleared they will be invested within 3 business days as long as the balance of your cash account is more than the ​minimum​ amount required​ for portfolio top-ups​.

Investment balance​Minimum cash balance required for portfolio top-ups
$0 to $20,000$1,000
$20,001 to $100,000$2,000
$100,001+$3,000

The minimum amount helps ensure ​we maintain a small percentage of your investment balance in cash, and all investments are made in ‘marketable’ denominations under ASX rules.

How do I set-up a regular investment plan to transfer money into Stockspot?

You can set-up a regular investment plan by creating a periodic transfer or scheduled payment from your bank account to your Stockspot cash account.

Will I receive a confirmation when I've transferred money for Stockspot to invest?

You’ll be able to see the deposited amount in your portfolio summary view once your bank has processed the transfer, and will receive​ an email confirmation once the ​funds have been invested.

Is there a minimum amount required for each top-up?

You can top-up with as little or as much as you like. However the balance in your cash account needs to be greater than the amounts below before we make new investments.

Investment balance​Minimum cash balance required for portfolio top-ups
$0 to $20,000$1,000
$20,001 to $100,000$2,000
$100,001+$3,000

This helps ensure ​we maintain a small percentage of your investment balance in cash, and all investments are made in ‘marketable’ denominations under ASX rules.

Can I choose to leave a larger amount of cash in my Stockspot-linked cash management account (CMA)?

Typically we leave 0.5% to 1.5% of your investment balance in cash. Please contact us at enquiries@stockspot.com.au if you would like to keep a larger amount of funds in cash.

What’s the process for withdrawing my Stockspot investments?

You can withdraw your investments by requesting a withdrawal under ‘Transfer money’ in your investment dashboard. The process typically takes 5 business days in accordance with the ASX’s standard settlement timeline.

Can I request a partial withdrawal?

You can request a partial withdrawal as long as it’s for more than $2,000 and the remaining balance of your portfolio is also more than $2,000.

Fees

What fees will I be charged by Stockspot?

The fees charged will be dependent on your fee tier. Please refer to our fees page for more details.

Are there any other fees that I will need to pay?

In addition to any Stockspot fees, each ETF charges its own management fee. The average ETF fees across the Stockspot Model Portfolios are 0.25% to 0.32% per year. These are indirect costs which come out of the ETF unit price and are not charged by Stockspot. At approximately 0.3%, that’s about $30 per year for a $10,000 portfolio.

Will I pay additional fees if I invest more regularly?

No, all brokerage and execution charges are covered by our service. Our fees are calculated monthly based your average investment balance over the month.

Do you charge exit fees?

We never charge entry or exit fees.

Do you pay commissions to advisers?

No. We don’t believe in kickbacks and commissions.

How are Stockspot’s fees different to competitors?

Please refer to our fees page for an explanation of our fee tiers and how we compare to other investment services.

Dividends

Will I receive dividends from my Stockspot investments?

Yes. The Stockspot portfolios accrue dividends and distributions which are paid quarterly. Over the 12 months to January 2015, the estimated distributions paid by the Stockspot portfolios including dividend and interest income were: Topaz (4.08%), Emerald (4.06%), Turquoise (3.81%), Sapphire (3.54%) and Amethyst (3.30%). Please note that past returns are no assurance of future performance as distribution income varies each year.

Are dividends reinvested or paid out?

Dividends are automatically reinvested and used to rebalance your portfolio. You can elect to receive your distributions as income rather than have them re-invested by contacting us at enquiries@stockspot.com.au

Can I elect to receive dividends as cash rather than re-invest them?

Yes, you can elect to receive your distributions as income rather than have them re-invested by contacting us at enquiries@stockspot.com.au.

Do I receive franking credits?

Yes. The level of franking credits will be indicated in your annual tax statements from us.

Can I elect to participate in a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) if one is offered by the ETFs I am invested in?

Since dividends are used to rebalance your portfolio we do not allow participation in DRPs.

Reporting

Does Stockspot provide administration and reporting?

Yes - Stockspot provides a suite of reports that are available online via our website.

What reports are available?

The following reports are available:

  • Taxable income report
  • Performance report
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) report
  • Unrealised CGT report
  • Historical cost report
  • Future income report
  • Diversity report
  • All trades report
  • Sold securities report
What do the reports show?

The reports show important information including income received for the year, a summary of the performance of your portfolio, distributions received and capital gains.

Providers

Who are Stockspot’s service providers?

We are fortunate to have strong providers to help us deliver our service. You can find out more about them on our providers page.

Does Stockspot receive any kick-backs or commissions from our service providers?

We strongly advocate against receiving payments from product providers as we believe it causes major conflicts of interest in the industry and is bad for consumers. Our relationships with the service providers we use are clearly explained on our providers page.