Commonwealth Bank is ramping up its push into the lucrative market serving self-managed super funds and retail investors, as banks expand their presence in wealth management.
In a move planned to deliver CommBank a bigger slice of the $440 billion self-managed super sector, the bank has launched an online platform that aims to make it easier for the general population to invest in shares, fixed income and other financial assets.
The platform allows customers to invest in shares, exchange-traded funds, bonds and term deposits. It also provides access to internet banking services and financial news.
The push is the latest instance of banks seeking to expand deeper into wealth management, an industry that is tipped to grow strongly as the population ages and people pour their savings into the $1.4 trillion pool of superannuation.
Banks are especially keen on the self-managed sector, into which investors ploughed some $26.5 billion last financial year, according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
The majority of SMSF assets are invested in shares and cash – sparking claims the sector has too little exposure to fixed income assets such as blue-chip corporate bonds.
Stephen Karpin, CommBank's executive general manager of equities and margin lending, said the platform – known as MyWealth – would allow investors to invest in a broad range of asset classes through one place.
While there are no extra fees for using the platform, it may benefit CommBank by directing new customers without experience in share investing towards its dominant online broking house, CommSec.
NAB has been aggressively targeting CommSec customers through its own platform that links customers' share portfolios with their bank accounts.
"It will serve the deeply involved CommSec customer ... but also the novice investor who is a bit concerned about getting into the market," Mr Karpin said.
In total, CommBank believes there are 3 million Australians who actively manage their own wealth, ranging from younger people with spare savings to those nearing retirement.
Mr Karpin said the product was aimed at a broad range of people, but superannuation customers who took an active interest in their investments were particularly valuable and the bank would be doing more to pursue this group in the future.