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In this Pearler App review I will discuss the fees involved with making an investment through Pearler. The cool features such as Pearler’s free ETF invest functionality and auto-invest feature. I will also highlight their educational content and desire to help users reach Financial Independence. I hope you enjoy this Pearler review.
What is Pearler?
The Pearler investment app is an investing platform designed to be different from the start. Founded in Sydney by three mates wanting to reach FIRE, Pearler Investments Pty Ltd (Pearler) offers lots of great features.
These include free ETF securities, auto-invest features, US investing & my favourite, micro investing. Additionally, Pearler has a strong investing community and educational platform for investors.
Pearler’s aim was to provide an easy to use, long-term wealth building platform for its users. Rather than focus on the usual stock trading features most investing platforms have. With the recent addition of Pearler Micro investments, I now have a new favourite investing platform.
You can invest automatically in CHESS sponsored and US listed shares. Pearler provides free ETF securities to encourage a buy and hold strategy. As well as their amazing new micro-investing feature. Not to mention you are able to invest via a trust, SMSF, individually or jointly and on behalf of a minor. The Pearler investment app has lifted to another level and is an amazing option for Australian investors.
When heading over to the Pearler investment app you will notice a distinct lack of charts and candlesticks showing the price of stocks. I like the approach that Pearler has taken with this. As it encourages you to invest based on your strategy rather than being influenced by a chart or emotions.
You will also notice a community and “finfluencer” presence, to help show how other users are investing through the platform. I will go further into this feature later on, but the transparency of the platform and its community is very refreshing. Always remember these “finfluencers” are not providing investment advice or personal advice. They are just showing you their approach to their personal finance and investment strategy.
What is Financial Independence (FIRE)?
For those reading that haven’t heard the term FIRE before, it stands for Financial Independence Retire Early.
It is a movement for people to take control of their finances through budgeting, investing and living frugally. With the goal being they can retire from their jobs significantly faster than at retirement age of 67.
There are many different types of FIRE, and I will have to do a post on this later. However for this Pearler investment app review it hopefully provides context around who the platform is trying to help and why.
How Does Pearler Work?
Pearler, like a majority of other Australian Financial technology companies operates as an authorised representative of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd, who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Under this licence Pearler is able to provide its online brokerage platform for listed securities and managed funds. You can read more about their responsibilities and requirements from their Financial Services Guide.
Pearler is an online investing platform that provides CHESS sponsored investments for $9.50, as well as an auto-invest feature and free ETF invest features too. Not to mention US equities and micro investing.
Their CHESS sponsored investments mean that each time you buy or sell a share it is recorded via the Australian Stock Exchange and reflected on your HIN (Holder Identification Number).
CHESS sponsorship means at all times the underlying shares are registered in your name. Whereas with custodian platforms like Stake, the underlying shares are in the name of the custodian, with you as the legal rights holder of those shares.
They each have their pros and cons, but CHESS sponsorship has a price to pay for the extra layer of security it offers shareholders. That is why most CHESS sponsored platforms have a brokerage fee while custodian platforms don’t.
Pearler App enables its users to invest in both Australian and US equities as well as ETFs for a low cost fee of $9.50. It is important to note that the brokerage free ETF options are only for a select few Australian ETFs, not US listed ETFs.
Pearler Review Fees- ASX
As mentioned previously, the Pearler brokerage fee is a flat $9.50 for all trades. Pearler also offers free purchases of ETF securities currently on 44 ETF investment options.
They have partnered up with ETF managers EInvest and VanEck to provide these options to their investors. These free ETF investment options provided by the ETF managers are great options for long term investing.
They clearly show that these ETFs will be brokerage free, provided you buy and hold the investment for more than 12months. If you sell part or all of your investment within 12 months, then you will be charged the brokerage for both buying and selling.
This arrangement is clearly a great way to get users to commit to long term investing. Not only does it often produce great results, but in this case it also helps save you money too!
One thing to be really aware of is the fee you are paying relative to your investment. The investment fee wasn’t cost effective for small amounts of money. That is why Pearler introduced their Micro investing option. For the brokerage free ETF option you are required to invest a minimum of $500.
ASX Fee Example
For Australian equities you are just required to buy a minimum of one unit, plus the brokerage fee. For example if you wanted to invest $15 and buy 1 share of Qantas you can. Qantas is around $4.71 plus the fee of $9.50 which means you would have spent $14.21.
This example has the $9.50 equate to about a 66% fee of investment through the platform. So if you are planning on investing small amounts of money like this you should consider Micro investing instead. You can do this either through Pearler Micro Invest or Spaceship and Raiz.
If however, you want to save up small amounts of money to invest less frequently and invest large sums of money this will reduce your fee of investment significantly. For example a $300 investment in Qantas with the $9.50 fee would equate to 3.16%.
Either way, with a $9.50 fee for investing directly in Australian equities, it certainly makes their brokerage free ETFs option significantly more attractive for long term investors looking to build wealth.
Pearler Review Fees- US
The brokerage fee involved with US equities is a flat $6.50. However, you are able to own fractional shares.
Pearler also offers Pearler credit. This pretty cool feature allows you to prepay through your linked bank account or debit/credit card. If you buy $100 of Pearler credit, you will receive an additional $50 put aside for your buys, in your Pearler account. This equates to a 33% discount on your brokerage fee.
Pearler Review Fees- Micro Investing
The Pearler Micro has a pretty simple fee structure. It is free to open a Pearler Micro account, free to buy/sell, free to deposit & withdraw and switch between funds.
If you only want to invest in one of the funds provided it is a flat $1.70 fee per month. Which is considerably cheaper than both Spaceship & Raiz. Therefore making them expensive micro investment apps in comparison.
If you want the ability to be able to invest in 2 or more funds, then it will cost $2.30 per month. There is also no fee charged while your account has less than $100 in it.
Pearler Review – Pearler Micro
Up until now, Australian investing apps have stayed in their own lane. Micro investing platforms were just that, and share trading platforms only offered that. Pearler has changed the investing landscape within Australia with the release of their Micro investing option.
They will now directly compete with the amazing products on offer from Raiz Invest & Spaceship Voyager. The massive value add here, is that Pearler users can micro invest and invest in shares from the one platform.
Pearler micro will provide users with 8 funds to choose from, they fall into four different categories. All-in-one, Core, ESG and Big Ideas. These categories are very similar to how Raiz and Spaceship operate.
It is important to note, that just like Raiz and Spaceship, Pearler Micro is offering a managed fund through this product. This means the users don’t own the underlying assets.
I love how the different funds have been named. “Diversify & Chill” is VDHG which invests in multiple global & Aussie funds. Or, an “American Buffett” is IVV, after the legend himself Warren. Buffett famously made a bet backing the S&P500 to outperform fund managers.
When you compare the fees for Pearler Micro to Raiz and Spaceship it’s clear to see the cheaper option. Pearler are obviously able to offer a cheaper price through the revenue they derive from their other products.
The decision around which micro investing platform to choose will likely come down to whether you can invest in the assets you want to. Although with such a diversified option, and a cheaper product I can see a lot of people using Pearler Micro.
Pearler Review – Auto Investing
Perhaps the Pearler App’s greatest feature, is their auto invest option. For those of you familiar with micro investing platforms like Spaceship and Raiz this may not seem like a big deal.
However, there are no other main brokerage platforms that offer this auto investing feature as an option. The more cynical readers may point out this is because they make money the more you buy and sell shares. You would also probably be right.
However, there is a greater reason. The auto investing feature enables users to select from 3 auto invest investing strategies.
- Lowest Share
- Rebalance Portfolio
- Equal Invest
Lowest share investment strategy invests in the lowest weighted asset from within your portfolio. So it will invest in whichever asset makes up the smallest slice of your portfolio pie come auto-invest time. This one incurs the least amount of fees and as such has become the most popular option for Pearler investors.
Rebalance Portfolio investment strategy will automatically rebalance your entire investment portfolio to your predetermined asset allocation. So if you had 4 ETFs and had a target weight of 25% for each, when you select this option it would sell or buy these underlying assets accordingly to maintain 25% each. Be careful with this option as it could end up being quite expensive.
Equal invest strategy will invest your funds equally across all your assets within your chosen portfolio. So if you had $500 on auto invest and had 4 underlying assets, it would invest $125 in each asset. Note it would also incur brokerage on each trade.
The lowest share auto invest feature is a great option for those looking to build up a portfolio of free ETFs through the Pearler App.
There are many different account structures you can open with Pearler, which is really great to see. Other investing platforms don’t quite have the full suite of options that Pearler provides.
- Trust/SMSF for Individual
- Trust/SMSF for Company
Given the vast options to choose from you should do your own research or seek advice from a professional help if you want to use options other than Individual or a minor account. I love that Pearler App have so many options, especially the ability for the minor account. Helping build generational wealth is one of my big investing goals.
Pearler Investing Options
This Pearler review shows that users can trade both Australian and US equities and ETFs.
You can invest in all of your favourite Australian companies and some selected ETF options. Within these Pearler ETF options some are also free to buy. However, some of the more popular ETF options aren’t currently available.
US investing incurs a $6.50 fee, but there is also a small currency conversion fee. You will buy the US stock in USD, but the $9.50 fee is in Australian Dollars. Pearler also announced their Micro investing option. I have already covered this in my Pearler investment app review.
Pearler Review – Community
Have you ever been to the gym with a friend or lifting partner, and experienced greater results and accountability? That’s part of the benefit of Pearler community investments. It helps open up the investing world so anyone can get great results.
While it isn’t a great investing strategy to blindly invest how others are also investing. It can certainly help you learn more and even observe how other successful people are growing their wealth.
Humans love to be part of a group or community and belong with others. So I really like this concept Pearler has put out there for others to see “Finfluencers” portfolios and their investing goals and progress.
Not that you should blindly invest the same way others do, but it is great to watch, learn and review other Pearler users investing strategies. This can help you understand how others are building their wealth plan.
This transparency is great to help people get talking more about investing and how they are building their wealth. The more open we are about investing, the more people can learn and take action!
One of the things I love about Pearler is their push to help educate as many people around their finances and investing as possible.
Their platform has some amazing free resources to help users better manage their investments. They have an Investment frequency calculator, Franking credits calculator and Financial freedom calculator available.
These tools are a great addition to their investing platform. Combined with their blog content and the FIRE E-book and its fair to say Pearler genuinely cares about their users financial education.
It is definitely worth taking a look at their free educational tools. As it will help you review Pearler’s mission and transparency towards its user base.
Keeping tabs on dividends received and franking credits, along with any purchase or sale of investments can be hard to keep track of and often confusing. Obviously Pearler encourages its investors to buy and hold for the long-term, but you need to keep records of this.
Fortunately the Pearler investments app has partnered with Sharesight to help track and manage your investment platform and tax reporting.
You can sign up for free here to Sharesight and track your portfolio and make it easier come tax time!
An automatic portfolio tracker and tax reporting platform. Get your true portfolio returns including currency fluctuations, broker fees and dividends.
- Automatically Track Your Entire Portfolio
- Compliant Tax Reporting
- Free Solution
- Only 10 Crypto’s Available
Pearler really is about helping its users build their wealth over time, as such it was great to see they had commissioned an e-book all about FIRE.
This E-book was written by some of the top Financial Bloggers within Australia and the Pearler founders themselves. Within this E-book is some amazing content that will help educate Pearler users on all things FIRE related.
Whether you just want to get a better understanding of the FIRE movement, dip your toe in or dive head first, this free E-book is definitely worth downloading and having a read through. You can find this E-book on their website or through signing up to the platform here.
Another great feature about Pearler is their transparency. They acknowledge that the Pearler platform may not be the best option for people due to fees and small cash balances available for investing.
The transparency and honesty surrounding this is very refreshing. Rather than enticing users into a platform that is obviously not appropriate for them, instead listening to users and creating suitable options is a great way to show great brand values.
Upon further review Pearler and their management team really are great people that truly want what is best for their community. It really is great to see founders putting such effort into providing honest and transparent information.
Pearler Review FAQ’s
Hopefully you are enjoying this Pearler investment app review so far. In case you had further questions regarding the Pearler investment App and what the platform is about I have compiled a list of FAQs below.
Is Pearler safe to use?
Yes it is. Pearler holds an Australian Financial Services licence and Pearler is CHESS sponsored. Therefore that means the shares held in Pearler are equally safe. In general, CHESS brokers are the preferred option for Australian investors. You can learn more by reading their Financial services guide.
What is Pearler used for?
The Pearler platform provides investment opportunities and financial services to Australians. The platform provides an integrated source of investments and other products for the investment community. Pearler is not a credit provider, nor is it a bank account. It’s goal is to help people improve their financial lives.
Is Pearler good for beginners?
Investing in Long-Term is an essential attribute of Pearler. It distinguishes the Pearler investment app from others. Pearler is very suitable for beginners as well as experienced investors.
Can I trust Pearler?
Given Pearler operates as a corporate authorised representative under their Australian Financial Services Licence. They have very strict compliance and regulations to follow. On top of this, users investments are CHESS registered. Adding another layer of trust for Pearler users.
Who is Pearler backed by?
All Pearler purchases will be CHESS sponsored, so you have the opportunity to own them. Free eTFs. With the help of eInvest ETF Securities, Van Eck Pearlers can now offer 43 broker-free investment opportunities across the world.
Is there a Pearler app?
Pearler has mobile apps for iPhone & Android, with a 4 star review on the Apple app store.
What is a Pearler account?
An investment account essentially is the entity that will hold legal ownership of the assets. If yo invest individually in your name you will own the assets. If you invest with your Trust, then the Trust is the entity that will own the assets and any benefits. Likewise, if you invest with joint accounts, then you and the other person own the assets jointly.
Pros & Cons
- Autoinvest Feature
- Australian, US & Micro Investing in one platform
- FIRE Community
- Free ETF securities
- CHESS Sponsored
- Encourages Long Term Wealth building
- Require $500 minimum order for Free ETFs
- Require Large purchases to make fee cost effective
- Auto invest Feature can be quite expensive if selecting an inappropriate option
Alternatives To Pearler
Previously I would have said there were only two other share trading platforms to the Pearler investment app. These alternative brokerage platforms are Stake and Superhero. However, since Pearler has released Micro investing this means the Pearler investment app has a few others to consider. Raiz Invest and Spaceship Voyager are also micro investing apps. I will break down the alternative platforms based on the strategy they represent.
- Swyftx – Most Trusted Australian Crypto Exchange
- Digital Surge – Buy, Sell & Trade Crypto in Australia
I will start with the share trading platform I love just as much as Pearler, that is Stake. Stake provides users with an array of investment options to choose from. You can invest in ASX listed equities, or ETF securities for competitive brokerage fees of $3 per trade. While the added bonus is Stake is a CHESS sponsored broker.
You can also invest in the US with free brokerage on equities and exchange traded funds. Stake also offers an in house SMSF creation service, for the long term investor. The downside of Stake is that it doesn’t offer automated investing like the Pearler share trading account. Also the Pearler brokerage fees are slightly higher than with Stake.
Your investment strategy has a big part in dictating which platform will suit your personal finance situation. Some people like to be active traders, while others prefer diversified portfolios and long term investing.
Superhero were the first of the brokerage platforms to offer brokerage free ETFs. As with the Pearler investment app there is a fee if you sell the ETF. However, with Superhero all ETF securities are free, while Pearler has a limited amount.
Pearler differentiates from Superhero due to CHESS sponsorship. CHESS sponsorship means you are the legal owner of the assets. Superhero acts as custodian of the Australian investors assets. Superhero also provides their own Superannuation product within their platform, for long term investors. Ensure you read the relevant product disclosure statement if this is an option you are considering, or seek professional advice.
Alternative Micro Investing Platforms
Both Spaceship Voyager and Raiz Invest encourage long term investing and are not targeted at the seasoned investors. They are great financial products to get people to start investing. Prior to Pearler Micro invest it made sense to use multiple providers. Either Spaceship or Raiz for micro investing and either Pearler, Stake or Superhero for Equities and international shares.
Now you can have Pearler as your long term investing platform. Where you can work to your investment goal by building a share portfolio and micro invest all in the one app.
Who Is Pearler For?
Pearler is providing a platform that enables users to build wealth without thinking or doing anything. Utilising their auto invest feature, users can set it up once and not look back knowing the platform is doing the heavy lifting for them.
This platform is great for people that want to build their wealth over time, and especially those that don’t want to dedicate much time to it.
It is also a great platform that enables Australian users to invest in both US andAustralian equities and Micro invest within the same App. No other platform on the market offers these three options in the one app like Pearler. There are great apps out there like Stake and Superhero that offer US and Australian equities. However, Pearler differentiates itself due to their Micro investing option.
After doing this in-depth review, I can say Pearler is a great option for anyone wanting to invest. Their all in one app caters to beginners, long term investors and seasoned investors. I highly recommend the Pearler investment app.
Is It Worth It?
Before deciding if an investing platform is worth it, you first need to decide on your investing goal and investing strategy. This will enable you to select a brokerage platform that suits your goals and investing strategy.
Pearler is most definitely worth it for anyone wanting to invest. Their choice of Micro investing, US and Australian equities and ETF securities provide the most choice in Australia. Not to mention their amazing investor community helping each other on their journey to financial independence.
You should also review Pearler’s fees relative to your investment size and make sure the numbers make sense. Make sure your strategy aligns with your goals and that the platform you choose is a perfect fit too!
Digital Surge is the Cheapest place to Buy, Sell & Trade Crypto in Australia. Especially through a Trust or SMSF.
Sign Up Bonus
If you enjoyed this Pearler review and think that the platform matches up with your investing goals. Then you can sign up on their website and receive a free brokerage credit to get your investing journey started.