Pearler, Australia’s leading long-term focused wealth retail management platform, has launched the Pearler Exchange, an online forum for its investors to chat alongside verified licensed advisers, to ask questions, test their ideas and share experiences in a professionally moderated general advice environment.
Nick Nicolaides, Co-founder of Pearler, says: “Social media has helped millions of young people develop an understanding of, and even excitement for, their finances. But there are pitfalls on any social media platform – layers of anonymity, data and advertising runs most forums, but the Exchange will be the exception.”
As foreshadowed by the Financial Review, the ad and bot free platform will also introduce a unique rewards scheme to encourage educational content from investors. The rewards don’t apply to advisers, who Pearler point out, contribute for free like on any other social media platform.
It has become common for sharetrading platforms as well as financial podcasts typically leverage Facebook or reddit group functionality to build community alongside independent groups such as ASXBets, which does come with moderation capabilities but where data and advertising aren’t controlled by the moderator. These forums have also created controversy, typified by the meme stock post-covid era but also used as pump and dump tools.
“The difference here is that we have the verification and moderation processes in place to shine a light on advisers, rather than them relying on algorithms, clickbait topics or in the case of TikTok, dancing ability. The soul of the forum is still our passive-investing community, but the quality of discussion is heavily weighted to experienced voices.” Nicolaides explains.
“We don’t get any kickbacks, for us it’s about finding organic ways to educate investors about advice. The more informed our investors are, the more prepared they’ll be for what the market throws at them, and the happier and longer they’ll be with us.” Adds Nicolaides
The rewards scheme was likened to ‘back-alley’ advice from the industry establishment, but it appears Pearler has pivoted from this to focus more on licensed advisers.
“We’ve seen the difference a supportive online community can make, particularly during market drawdowns. And online discussion of money isn’t going anywhere, this is about leaning into that and improving the quality of the discourse. We can’t rely on multinational corporations, so this is our attempt at contributing.”
Some of the posts that have already received a lot of interest during the Pearler Exchange pilot phase included questions for experts like:
“Pearler Exchange does not allow product spruiking, sales or stock tips that could be interpreted as personal advice,” Nicolaides adds. “We are keeping out the bots and the sales reps by asking people to set up a Pearler account before they ask a question, and we are verifying the ID of anyone who wants to participate in the forum.”
Pearler moderates all content to ensure it is general, educational, transparent and objective. Pearler does not sell user data to third parties.
Another key difference, compared with other forums, is that people offering comments will be “badged” – identified as an “Financial Adviser”, “Investment Adviser” or simply “Investor” so the audience will know if someone is licenced.
Ben Nash, Financial Advisor and Founder of Pivot Wealth, says, “There is a huge volume of information available online, but there are a lot of mixed messages and hidden agendas that lead to confusion and frustration. Consumers are looking for a place where they can find information from experienced investors and professionals they can trust, so an easily accessible, reliable source of this information will help Australian investors make more confident and effective investment choices.”
Nicolaides points out that “most forums take your content for free and use it to sell you ads. We’ve flipped that and instead Pearler rewards people for contributing – it’s all part of our aim to raise the quality of online discussion.”
Nicolaides says: “What continues to attract investors to Pearler is our emphasis on helping young investors navigate their wealth journey over the next 20, 30 or 40 years, while giving them the tools to navigate any market environment. Pearler Exchange will be a game changer for a generation of investors.”
Key links for the Exchange
Pearler is an investing app designed to help you reach your financial goals, within a supportive community. Our mission is to help everyday people become successful long-term investors.