The government-owned Kiwi Wealth has confirmed buyer-interest in its US share-trading platform Hatch but denied a sale was imminent.
Last week industry sources confirmed Hatch, which has accrued about 120,000 members and traded over $1 billion in US stocks since launch three years ago, was on the block.
In a statement, Kiwi Wealth said: “The digital investment platform Hatch, which has been successfully incubated by Kiwi Wealth since its inception in 2018, is trading well and continues to grow.
“As a result, it attracts offers of interest from time to time, however, there is nothing to report at this stage.”
Natural buyers for Hatch would include fellow NZ platform stars Sharesies and InvestNow as well as Australian rival, Stake.
InvestNow had not made a play for Hatch, the group said, while Sharesies is preoccupied with its Australian growth strategy, putting Stake in the prime position.
According a Stake spokesperson, the company was “not in a position to comment on [a Hatch offer] specifically at this stage”.
“However, we can say that we are deeply committed to the New Zealand market, and propelled further by our recent capital raise, we will do whatever it takes to ensure that Kiwi investors have the right type of access to investment opportunities in the US market, and beyond,” the spokesperson said.
In May this year Stake secured a A$40 million capital injection from US private equity firm Tiger Global and Hong Kong investor DST Global. At the time Stake founder, Matt Leibowitz, said the new funding would help drive growth for the platform “with a real focus on New Zealand”.
“Having external shareholder capital is a vote of confidence in Stake but it also puts an obligation on us to do great things with it,” Leibowitz said.
Launched about the same time as Hatch and Sharesies (which also emerged out of the Kiwibank incubator), Stake last reported about 350,000 users globally including about 40,000 NZ members for its US share-trading service.
All three providers ultimately feed through orders to US online broker, DriveWealth.
Offshore the hyperbolic growth of direct investing platforms has culminated in the US listings of both no-brokerage trading service Robinhood and cryptocurrency specialist Coinbase.