International bank Investec buys into local crowd funder Equitise

The stake was sold for an undisclosed sum.

International banking group Investec Australia has taken a 20%  stake in Equitise, the only transtasman equity crowd funder, as it looks to participate in growth in the sector.

The stake was sold for an undisclosed sum but Equitise's co-founder and New Zealand manager, Will Mahon-Heap, said the firm made a significant cornerstone investment, and is now the largest shareholder after Equitise's founders.

"We look at it as a  strategic investment," Mr Mahon-Heap said. "Even in the last three months, it's been hugely beneficial having those guys interested and having skin in the game and wanting to talk to us about what we could possibly achieve together. We're very much looking forward to evolving with their input."

The crowd-funder is looking to expand into Singapore with the money Investec has invested, and now has a minority shareholder with good Singaporean connections, he added.

Investec is an international bank and asset management group, with branches in London, South Africa and Australia. It is dual-listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and is a FTSE 250 company.

The bank's Australian head of direct investments David Philips said it saw Equitise as an important part of changes it foresees in the crowdfunding space.

Mr Mahon-Heap said the Auckland and Sydney-based firm has been frustrated by the slow progress in Australia's regulatory framework, which currently restricts crowdfunding to 'sophisticated' investors with net assets of $A2.5 million, or aggregated gross income for each of the last two years of at least $A250,000.

Investec Australia's chief executive Milton Samios said the bank was particularly attracted to the syndicate business model Equitise has developed, which allows groups of likeminded investors to create their own investor club.

Equitise is continuing to develop that model, which it describes as a sophisticated investor network, Mahon-Heap said.

"At the moment, we're running private transactions in Australia, and those that meet the threshold can invest in New Zealand. Investec is excited about the new era of private investing that we facilitate."


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