Equity crowdfunding a slow burn, advisers say

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The Australian Financial Review | By Michael Bailey | Sept 17, 2017

The legalization of equity crowdfunding has met with enthusiasm from those hoping to raise money with it, but financial planners say it will be years before it is taken seriously by investors.

Leading advisers contacted by The Australian Financial Review said no clients had approached them in relation to the new crowdsourced equity funding legislation, which was introduced by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Thursday.

With Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos set to open The Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit in Sydney on Tuesday, the government is hoping equity crowdfunding will help bring start-ups and innovation closer to the average Australian, and boost support for the "ideas boom" agenda blamed for nearly losing it the 2016 election.

See: Australia: Minister Kelly O'dwyer Details Equity Crowdfunding Laws

Once the legislation passes the Senate with opposition support as expected, all proprietary and unlisted public companies with an annual turnover or gross assets of up to $25 million will be able to advertise their business plans on licensed crowdfunding portals and raise up to $5 million a year to carry them out.

Investors can put as little as $50 and up to $10,000 a year each into an unlimited number of ideas.

However, a principal at Bravium Financial Planning, Scott Farmer, did not expect a rush.

"Equity crowdfunding is a new asset class, and diversification is usually a good thing for investors, but we saw things like exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts take years to catch on in Australia versus the US or UK, and I think this will be no different," Mr. Farmer said.

See: Australian SMEs Are Turning To Alternative Sources Of Funding

"But there will be two sub-sectors of people in it from day one: the ones who love the companies being crowdfunded and want to be part of their innovation story, and the investors for whom excitement ranks ahead of actually making money."

There was no way most financial planners would have time to research single equity crowdfunding deals on behalf of clients, said Will Hamilton of Hamilton Wealth.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

 

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