Pearler review

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 15th September 2021

pearler review
  • Invest for the long-term with Pearler, a share trading platform focusing on long term investing.
  • Offers a number of useful features not found in most competitor platforms that are useful for newbies and seasoned traders alike.
  • Competitive brokerage fees are lower than most top bank investment platforms and on par with other competitive online platforms.

Pearler’s goal is to help everyday Australians "invest in shares the right way", that is, in incremental amounts in diversified portfolios over the long-term.

If you are looking to build wealth and invest for your future, Pearler’s investment platform is well worth considering. But before you set up your account, find out everything you need to know with our in-depth review.

Pearler

On Pearler's website

Highlights

  • Enjoy low, transparent fees.
  • An option to Autoinvest. Set-and-forget your investment strategy.
  • Simply invest into any ETF from one of Pearler's ETF managers for at least one year, and it's free.
  • Clearing House Electronic Sub-register System (CHESS) sponsored.

Quickly compare Pearler against the competition with our share broker comparison.

What is Pearler?

Unlike other trading platforms, Pearler is focused on long-term investing.

It was founded in 2018 by three friends from Sydney as an alternative to confusing, expensive micro-investment apps and bulky, brokerage platforms.

Pearler's mission is to "build a one-stop shop for personal finance” with “investments, savings, loans and insurance from multiple providers, all in the one place". For now, they are focusing on investing to help people reach their long-term financial goals.

Reading their mission reminds me of another long-term investor, Warren Buffett, the ultimate value investor. He did not start big either, but is now among the top 10 richest people in the world according to Forbes magazine. Value investors buy for the long term (often when prices are low) and hang on to shares without falling victim to the whims and fancies of and wild rides of market price fluctuations.

Who is it aimed at?

Pearler is for Australians who want to invest in shares and do it the easy way. They have features that would help both newbies and seasoned investors.

Pearler will help anyone who wants to "invest in shares the right way," and that means creating a diversified share portfolio for the long term.

It is not geared towards active traders who get in and out of trades within a short period of time.

Tradable assets

At present you can only invest in Australian stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). They promise to extend this to US stocks and ETFs in the future.

This is a relatively narrow set of available trading instruments compared to their competition.

Notable features

Compared to similar, and more established investing platforms, Pearler offers a number of distinctive features that others (like CommSec, NABtrade, CMC markets, CommSec Pocket and Selfwealth) do not offer.

  • Autoinvest frees you from constantly having to worry about your share portfolio and puts it on autopilot. The first step is to choose the amount, frequency, and the specific shares you want to invest in. The most recent version lets you pick from two options: make a deposit and invest immediately, or leave your deposit to grow and invest once it reaches a certain value. Once you set your autoinvest strategy, the portfolio will look after itself. Pearler offers you three investment strategies to choose from: Lowest share, Rebalance portfolio and Equal invest.
  • Autodeposit works via one-off or recurring direct debit to top up your cash account.
  • Goal Tracking enables you to set an investment goal and then track progress towards it becoming reality.
  • Shareable profiles and portfolios are similar to eToro’s social community. You’ll find many well-known “Finfluencers”. You can become one yourself if you choose to share your portfolio, although you can keep it private if you wish.
  • Template portfolios are ready-made portfolios based on the most commonly invested ETFs, life insurance companies (LICs) and shares popular with the Pearler community. Templates come by theme. For example, you can pick the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) portfolio or one focussed on sustainability. You can use a template and customise it to suit your needs.
  • Sharesight Integration. Pearler now integrates with Sharesight, the reporting tool. This makes performance and tax reporting easier.

Fees

Pearler’s fee structure is in keeping with their overall ethos of transparency and fairness.

  • Flat brokerage fee of $9.50 per trade transaction.
  • Free brokerage on select ETFs if you hold them for more than 12 months.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Safe and secure, with ASIC license, CHESS sponsorship and cash held with a big bank.
  • No starting, maintenance, inactivity or other hidden fees.
  • No minimum investment order size.
  • Competitive flat brokerage per transaction.
  • Long term investment focus, a key feature differentiating Pearler from others.
  • Suitable for beginners and seasoned investors alike.
  • Manual and Autoinvest modes when building your portfolio.
  • Finfluencer portfolios to watch and learn from.
  • Joint or individual accounts. You can have both.
  • Sharesight integration for ease of reporting and taxes.

Cons

  • Limited to Australian ETFs and shares, although additional markets will come.
  • No mobile app, but the website is very clean and easy.
  • No research reports to help decide what to invest in.
  • No SMSF or trust accounts, but they are coming.

Alternatives

  • CommSec Pocket. Wide range of tradable assets (including ETFs, Fixed Income Securities, Margin Loans, Options, Shares, Warrants) and access to several international markets. Expert recommendations and a range of research and trading tools.
  • eToro. Best known for social trading — Pearler's Finfluencer portfolios are a simplified version of this — eToro is a low-cost broker that also offers crypto trading.
  • Betterment. ETFs and fractional trading. Zero minimum balance with a low annual fee. Excellent mobile experience.
  • Raiz. ETFs only and limited to ASX. No brokerage fees. No minimum amounts. Amounts can be set to recur daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Spaceship Voyager. ETFs only but tradable indices include ASX, NASDAQ, and NYSE. No minimum investment required.

Comparisons

See how Pearler compares with competing investment platforms.

FAQs

How do I get started on Pearler?

You can create an account with Pearler by using the "Sign up" and complete their online application. You will be asked for the following to open an account:

  • Name, phone number and email address
  • Gender and marital status
  • Current annual income and the source of funds coming to your account
  • Employment status, occupation and place of work
  • If you have affiliations with government bodies or publicly-traded companies, the details
  • Citizenship and tax residency details and your tax file number
  • ID document details for online ID verification via the Australia Post DigitalID service

To begin investing, you need to link a bank account to your Pearler share trading account and transfer money to your Pearler account. Since this occurs via direct debit, all you need to do is give Pearler authority to get money from your bank. It can take a few days for funds to get cleared to your trading account before you can begin investing.

Is Pearler safe?

Yes. Investing through Perler is safe and secure for a number of reasons.

  • Registered as Pearler Investments Pty Ltd (ACN 625 120 649), Pearler is an authorised representative of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd. Sanlam holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Both Sanlam and Pearler have a lot of rules to follow and an extensive set of general, financial, and security obligations if they want to continue holding their AFSL.
  • Pearler has documented policies and procedures that fulfill ASIC's licensing requirements. The following helps manage security and privacy:
  • Modern cloud infrastructure and security systems.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) to approve or modify financial transactions.
  • Users are required to have appropriately complex passwords.
  • Phone call confirmation required to change bank details.
  • Internal control best practices, such as separation of duties across tech and financial actions including opening accounts, authorising direct debit requests, and settling trades.
  • Pearler works with a handful of technology and other partners to manage their operations. These include OpenMarkets, a broker responsible for CHESS holdings, US broker DriveWealth and Macquarie Bank which holds all customer cash funds.

Does Pearler have a demo account?

No. But, until you are ready to invest, you can check out Finfluencer portfolios and use template portfolios for a dry run.

What investment accounts does Pearler have?

Currently, Pearler offers two types of investment accounts and you may open either type or both.

  • Individual accounts (single person)
  • Joint accounts (when a couple shares account ownership)

How do I reinvest dividends from Pearler?

To reinvest your dividends, you will have to nominate it for dividend reinvestment (via the share registry for your stock). At present, dividends cannot be paid into your Pearler cash account.

If you happen to have a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) with another broker, you will have to set up the DRP again once you transfer your shares to Pearler.

Is Pearler CHESS sponsored?

Yes. Pearler is a CHESS sponsored broker. CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Sub-register System) sponsorship makes you the legal owner of your investments. ASX tracks your personal name and ownership with reference to your Holder Identification Number (HIN) against your share holdings.

Verdict

Pearler is not for purely speculative investors, but it is great if you are interested in incremental, diversified, long-term investing in a hands-off way.

On Pearler's website