Two home-grown Australian companies that have tapped into the trend of convenient, low-brokerage digital finance have today announced a merger to establish a $1.5 billion financial powerhouse.
Sydney-based share trading and superannuation platform Superhero and Brisbane-headquartered digital broker Swyftx will join forces with an estimated 800,000 customers once the merger goes through.
Swyftx was co-founded in 2018 by Alex Harper and Angus Goldman, who last year won the Australian Young Entrepreneur Trailblazer Award, having already won the same honour in Brisbane following a year in which their motto of delivering an "Australian cryptocurrency exchange that cares" resonated with the public and translated to aggressive growth for the self-funded enterprise.
As the country's highest rated digital asset exchange, the company's investor base grew by around 1,200 per cent last year.
Superhero was founded in the same year as Swyftx by John Winters and Wayne Baskin, and later secured backing from buy-now pay-later heavyweights Larry Diamond who founded Zip Co (ASX: ZIP) and Nick Molnar who co-founded Afterpay, among other high-profile investors including Regal Funds Management, Ophir Asset Management and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group.
In October last year Superhero slated plans to expand overseas following a $15 million capital raise, and in the last 12 months it has grown its investor base by more than 600 per cent to more than 200,000 people eager to trade Australian and US stocks at lower minimum sums and with low or no brokerage depending on the investment.
This is facilitated by Superhero holding users' shares under a joint custodian account whereby traders don't actually own them with a holder identification number (HIN) under the CHESS system.
"The proposed merger represents a significant step for both businesses in terms of their evolution from disruptive tech players into a single, major financial institution that can grow across domestic and international markets," says Alex Harper of Swyftx.
"There is a deep level of mutual respect and alignment between our teams and the experience that the Superhero team has in the regulated business will be enormously important in shaping the future of the combined entity, especially with digital currency going through its own journey towards regulation."
In July 2021, Superhero also released its flagship superannuation offering, Superhero Super, allowing Australians the opportunity to invest their retirement savings in a range of portfolios, including direct ASX listed shares and ETFs.
"This is an incredibly exciting day – both for the Superhero and Swyftx teams as well as all of the investors who utilise our combined services," says John Winters of Superhero.
"We are thrilled to announce this merger and offer our customers the opportunity to invest in traditional and digital assets across a single platform.
"The Swyftx team has achieved amazing things since launching in 2018 and we can’t wait to join together to offer investors an even better investing experience."
Superhero and Swyftx will continue to operate their separate platforms while plans are made to offer both service offerings to all investors. The combined business will support its 800,000 investors across Australia and New Zealand, with offices in Sydney, Brisbane, London and Vancouver.
Alex Harper, Swyftx co-founder, and current Swyftx CEO, Ryan Parsons, will become co-CEOs of the combined business. John Winters will lead the financial services arm of the business and take a position on the Board.
Swyftx is being advised by Ashurst, while Superhero is being advised by Arnold Bloch Liebler. The merger is expected to be completed in early FY23.
It is yet to be determined what the combined entity will be called. A spokersperson for Superhero confirmed both brands would continue but there was an intention to unite under one brand in the future.
The spokesperson said Superhero would not be commenting on the terms of the merger.
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