The app, which emanates from a joint venture between boutique fund manager Instreet Investment and US-based investment and personal finance start-up Acorns Grow, has now passed regulatory and legal requirements and received more than 15,000 sign-ups.
Acorns Grow invests the 'change' from everyday electronic purchases into an index fund by rounding up transactions to the nearest dollar.
“We are putting the final touches onto the Acorns technology, and optimising it for Australian use – our biggest priority is making sure our product provides the best possible experience to our Australian investors, and we’re taking the time to make sure the technology reflects this,” an Acorns Grow Australia statement said.
“We’re very close to having a product that is ready to go into Beta testing.”
Instreet managing director George Lucas said the app allows investors to invest a small amount of money into ASX-listed ETF portfolios ranging from aggressive to conservative risk profiles.
“We’re not saying it’s replacing broking accounts or super funds or anything like that, it’s just another investment product that you can have, it’s like a virtual piggy bank,” he said.
Mr Lucas added that it is useful for advisers as it can be used as a tool for them to introduce the idea of behavioural change.
“Advisers often have more mature clients who will have kids and often those clients will ask advisers how they can get their kids into the discipline of saving; advisers can then show them the app,” he said.
“It’s also a tool for advisers to engage their younger clients. The goal is about a behavioural change, this will allow you to save money before or while you’re spending. You’ll see the small amounts do add up, but it doesn’t have an effect on your lifestyle.”
Investors will be able to download the app for free and then pay a flat $15 a year fee, with no penalties for switching between portfolios.
The US version of the app, which went live in August, has more than one million members and is accumulating about 100,000 new members a month.