Stock market and super fund trading app Superhero, a start-up that is taking on the broking majors with its razor-thin commissions and flexible interface, has scored a major coup with the appointment to its board of James Shipton, the former chairman of Australia’s corporate watchdog.
Shipton, who was chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) from 2018 to 2021, has more than 20 years’ experience in regulation, financial markets, the law and academia internationally and in Australia.
He joins a board led by the Superhero chairman, leading Victorian commercial silk Philip Crutchfield QC, who ironically has defended financial advisors on charges brought by ASIC in the past.
Shipton began his career as a funds and securities lawyer in Melbourne before accepting postings internationally, including a stint at Goldman Sachs and Harvard Law School, before returning to Australia to take on the top job at ASIC, replacing Greg Medcraft.
Shipton, who stood aside as ASIC chairman in 2020 while an investigation was launched into payments he received from ASIC for personal tax advice, decided to leave the corporate regulator in 2021 despite being cleared of any wrongdoing.
The appointment of Shipton to the Superhero board as a non-executive director is seen as a big win for the company’s global expansion plans.
“James’ appointment is a fantastic addition to Superhero,” says Crutchfield. “His extensive experience in financial services made him an ideal candidate to join our board as we continue to innovate and grow.”
Superhero was founded by CEO John Winters and CTO Wayne Baskin in 2018 and launched in October 2020, with the fast-growing fintech currently boasting almost 200,000 users who can access micro parcels of stocks and ETFs totalling as little as $100 for a flat brokerage fee of $5. Superhero offers zero cost trades in the US, including fractional share purchases with a minimum investment of $10.
The Sydney-based company last year expanded its offering to the superannuation sector by launching Superhero Super, a low fee fund that offers users the flexibility of direct investment in traded assets.
“It’s a privilege to have someone of James’ calibre join our board,” says Winters. “James’ experience and understanding of Australia’s financial services sector will be of incredible value to Superhero as we look to develop our product suite, team and market presence in 2022 and beyond.”
Superhero stepped up plans to expand its platform internationally at the end of last year after raising $15 million, adding to $25 million raised earlier in the year.
Among the company’s backers are Perennial Value Management, Regal Funds Management, Ophir Asset Management and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group.
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