Following the Royal Commission into the banking sector, investors are looking for transparency and responsibility when choosing where to put their money – with Managed Discretionary Accounts (MDAs) emerging as an increasingly preferred option.
‘‘People are now much more well informed with investments and want to know what’s going on with their money,’’ says Michael Walker, principal of Sydney-based investment management firm Walker Capital.
‘‘Investors are moving away from traditional and less transparent funds into MDA structures because they want to maintain ownership of their investments. They want transparency and real-time access to their accounts.’’
The Institute of Managed Account Professionals reports that in 2018 MDAs experienced year-on-year growth of 31 per cent, representing $14.85 billion, thereby increasing funds under management in MDAs in Australia to $62.43 billion.
When setting up Walker Capital three years ago, Walker says he aimed to create an investment company that is ‘‘transparent and secure’’ while simplifying the sign-up process with ‘‘digital onboarding’’ to streamline applications.
There is growing demand for investments into alternative asset classes as investors seek to diversify and de-risk their portfolios, he says.
‘‘In alternative assets like Forex and CFDs [contracts for difference], investors need to understand the MDA investment and what the risks are,’’ Walker says. ‘‘There is leverage in many of these investments and investors need to understand these risks against the potential rewards.’’
With a mix of retail and wholesale clients and a team of veteran traders, analysts and investment managers, Walker Capital aims to ‘‘balance the risks’’ and give its customers a healthy net return on their money, he says.
The MDA structure allows each client to have a separate investment account.
‘‘Our investments are not correlated to the market,’’ says Walker. ‘‘We use a mix of fundamental and technical analysis to target positive return in a rising and falling market.’’
‘‘Using derivatives in Forex and CFDs allows us to take advantage of that opportunity.’’
Walker says the team provides a professional product in an alternative space with transparency and accountability.
‘‘Client funds will be held in a segregated trust account with an external counterparty. We utilise either Pepperstone or Interactive Brokers to hold the funds.’’
Walker Capital clients, who sign up with a minimum of $20,000, are also able to watch in real-time how their investments are performing.
‘‘In a normal managed fund you’ll get your statement, but you don’t necessarily see what is going on,’’ says Walker. ‘‘With us, you can log into your account at any time and actually see what’s happening with your money.
‘‘We also don’t have any lock-in periods and there are no exit or entry fees.’’
Clients who sign with Walker Capital benefit from the insight of brokers across the globe, he says.
‘‘We’re a small team,’’ says Walker. ‘‘But there is a value that we add for our clients because we have our own money invested in our own strategies too. And, as such, our interests are aligned with our investors.’’