Clover appoints top investment academic


By Kristen Crawford

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Start-up automated investment service Clover, which aims to launch mid-2016, has begun establishing an investment committee with the announcement of Jack Gray as head.

Gray will join the Melbourne-based group’s chief executive Harry Chemay and head of investments Sahil Kaura on the committee, which will be responsible for the composition of Clover’s investment portfolios and for maintaining its approved products list (APL).

The appointment was an important step for Clover as it geared up to go to market next year, Chemay told financialobserver.

“Jack Gray was voted one of the top 10 investment academics in the world in 2013,” he said.

Gray’s previous roles had included chief investment officer at SunSuper, executive director at AMP Asset Management and most recently an adviser and executive director at Brookvine, a group that specialises in the introduction of investors to fund managers.

Meanwhile, apart from establishing the committee, Chemay said Clover had been in the process of gaining its own Australian financial services licence (AFSL) and was busy working with ASIC towards that.

“From what we see, there will be other robos launching and even since we made our announcement of our intent to launch, there have been a couple more that have come to market,” Chemay said.

“There will be some very efficient models but we think our key value proposition is that we will operate under our own licence rather than being an authorised representative of someone else, which only a few are trying to do.

“Having our own AFSL will allow us to be fully in control and responsible for our code and our algorithms, which we see as the best and most risk averse way to operate.”

Chemay said Clover went to ASIC at the start of 2015 and introduced what the group was all about.

”We lodged our AFSL application during the year which is currently going through the ASIC process and hopefully we will get our licence in the early part of 2016,” he said.

“That’s different from a lot of other robos out there – it’s a big task and it’s not easy.

“We have had to bring in people with the right skills because we are requesting an MDA [managed discretionary account] licence.”

Financialobserver previously reported in September that the start-up had gained support and funding from $7 billion industry superannuation fund Equipsuper, and had plans for further partnerships moving forward.

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