Today’s wide range of savings and investment solutions can often leave the everyday New Zealander disorientated and vulnerable when it comes to making informed financial decisions. Awareness of, and appetite to be involved in, one’s financial wellbeing is higher than ever. However, seeking out financial advice is still typically seen as ‘out of reach’ and tilted in favour of the intermediaries. Kernel wanted to create an all-in-one wealth-building solution that combined both savings and investment opportunities to remove unnecessary friction and empower all New Zealanders to effectively grow their wealth.
To overcome these challenges, we endeavoured to create a standardised solution that felt bespoke to an individual's needs, no matter their previous investment experience or understanding. This involved months of rigorous user testing with a core beta group of 120 existing investors. The end result: Kernel; a simple, gamification-free investment platform supporting educated investment to foster a wealthier, more financially literate New Zealand. With Kernel, there’s no transaction fee; accounts under $25,000 are free; and parents can invest on their children’s behalf – making Kernel, we believe, the most accessible investment platform in the country.
Since launching Kernel’s new platform, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We've seen a +36.43% increase in average customer balance; >40% of users are now utilising passive investment tools; and 95% of those surveyed responded as being “highly satisfied” with their experience. To date, Kiwis have invested over $350M in Kernel funds, and in 2021, Kernel was named the Fastest Growing Fund Manager in New Zealand, with 690% year-on-year growth. Kernel’s key difference of reducing noise, lowering costs to increase accessibility, and focusing on long-term investing might not be flashy, but it works, and we’re proving it every day.
For Kernel to achieve its purpose, we needed to present reliable and effective financial assistance, while catering to all investor types. Providing a seamless onboarding experience, free of paperwork, was crucial to breaking down barriers for those looking to get started. We adopted an elegant AML verification system into a carefully structured onboarding process, allowing users to become investment-ready in under five minutes. Automating where possible—like our Pause-Start Auto-invest function—meant we could remove unnecessary noise or gamification, helping us effectively deliver important information to all financial literacy levels. Catering to entry-level investors, Kernel provides pre-selected investment bundles, helping users warm up to making independent decisions. Plus, our insights section keeps investors in control by reviewing their portfolio across different industries, companies, and funds. Kernel’s 13 funds, including Clean Energy, Green Property, and the first NZ 50 ESG index fund, systematically assess investments according to highly-considered criteria, including sustainability – a consideration rarely encouraged. To become truly all-inclusive, Kernel also supports KiwiSaver via pre-made investment funds, or DIY investing options, to suit any savings goal. Kernel also offers users high-interest savings options, allowing them to get familiar with the platform and work towards short-term goals, without sacrificing their returns.