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Picture: 123RF/GUI YONGNIAN
Picture: 123RF/GUI YONGNIAN

The power of offshore investing is being put in the hands of the average SA investor, thanks to Shyft and Standard Bank.

Offshore investments used to be the preserve of a fortunate few. Easy-to-access apps and digital technologies are changing that, opening the world of offshore investing and changing the industry. Standard Bank’s Shyft mobile app, for example, will soon enable South Africans to easily invest offshore in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more than 100 investment options — and empower them to do it on their own.

“Part of becoming a global citizen is having global investment exposure,” says Brett Duncan, head of retail equities at Standard Bank. “If people choose to do that themselves, they now have access to the necessary tools and mechanisms.”

How to buy shares in Zoom and Netflix

Once the update is rolled out in early 2021, Shyft will provide access to 105 global investment options, including companies from Alibaba to Zoom, with Amazon, Facebook, Nike, Netflix and more in between; with 11 ETFs that provide exposure to indices such as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100.

Offshore investments are nothing new; but the shift is that investors can now access those markets directly. “In terms of ETFs, there’s nothing that a fund manager provides that you can’t get yourself,” says Duncan.

“You can get broad-based market exposure and niche market exposure, and choose which markets you want to be exposed to. Tracking an index such as the MSCI World Index is as simple as two clicks. The ease of the app technology combined with the emergence of ETFs, which provide cheap, accessible and diversified investment opportunities, makes a strong case for taking investments under your own control.”

Keep the adviser, dump the middleman 

Digital investment technologies should not replace the guidance of trusted, registered financial advisers. “We’re not saying you should abandon your financial adviser,” he says. “This is supplementary to a good, trusted adviser,” says Duncan.

Offshore investments form part of a balanced, diversified portfolio appropriate to your time horizon and risk profile. “ETFs are simple tools to help you meet your retirement goals,” he says. “There are now simple methods to access broad diversification, and these tools are at your fingertips. It’s very empowering.”

The reward for managing a portion of your investments yourself — even if it is only 10% of your overall portfolio — is that it’s a good way to learn about financial markets and what moves them. “It takes time to become familiar with the concepts behind investing, but if you follow a few simple principles, you could add to your long-term returns,” says Duncan.

Get Shyft now

Shyft is an app for global citizens based in SA. It helps you buy, send and store local and foreign currency any time, anywhere, directly from your mobile phone.

Visit getshyft.co.za to download the app.


This article was paid for by Standard Bank.

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