Robo-advice platform secures MDA licence


The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has approved fintech start-up, Clover, for the first robo-advice platform licence in the country.

Melbourne-based Clover has become the first robo-advice platform in Australia to secure an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) with Managed Discretionary Account Capability (MDA).

Clover is set to launch in the second half of the year and will manage clients’ portfolios on their behalf to achieve specific lifestyle goals, such as planning a major overseas trip or a wedding.

As the first robo-advice platform to gain the MDA capability, Clover is not under any specific regulatory framework as a robo-adviser, although that is set for a change when ASIC undertakes a review of the provisions of digital finance advice.

Clover founder and chief executive, Harry Chemay, confirmed that while specific regulations were yet to come into play, the decision to require an MDA licence was made to assure clients of Clover’s accountability and credentials.

“Securing our own MDA-based Australian FInancial Services licence clearly differentiates us from other digital advice platforms and sets a new standard for robo-advice in Australia,” he said.

“I feel strongly that investors should be able to trust digital financial advice as much as they would trust a traditional financial planner.”

Chemay said that the acquisition of the MDA would set Clover apart in the burgeoning industry, one where Australians are continuing to call for digital solutions.

“We’re the only robo-advice platform in Australia to have gone through a rigorous process to secure [an MDA] directly for ourselves,” he said.