Former stockbroker set to shake up the financial services industry

A former stockbroker and fund manager is hoping to improve the financial services industry by leveraging the internet to streamline compliance processes for investors.


Peta Tilse, the founder of Sophisticated Access, is using her 20 years of experience in the financial sector to make the compliance process for certifying sophisticated and wholesale investors more efficient. Earlier this month, she launched Cygura – a secure, real-time registry for investors, advisors and accountants.


Developed in consultation with Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the startup is a way for accountants to certify sophisticated investors under the Corporations Act.


To become a sophisticated investor, an investor’s accountant must sign an Investor Certificate verifying the investor has earned at least $250,000 per annum for the past two years, or has at least $2.5 million in assets. Each adviser and product provider must hold a certificate.


Tilse told StartupSmart investors and their accountants have been “trapped” in an inefficient paper-based system for too long.


“It’s fragmented, it’s messy, it’s a piece of paper and it’s just cumbersome,” she says.


“From a pure efficiency standpoint and seeing customers missing out on some deals… We thought we’d build a central hub.”


Tilse says Cygura replaces and streamlines the manual certification process with a central, electronic online system that is transparent, compliant and up-to-date.


“Most people are on devices these days and we travel more,” she says.


“Investors want more and being bogged down by paper-based administration issues is just 20th century stuff. Everyone wants to have customised, personalised solutions.”


There is a huge potential for digital disruption in the financial services space, according to Tilse.


“I think the Murray Inquiry will draw quite a bit of this out because that’s setting Australia’s financial industry up for the next 10-15 years,” she says.


“The regulations are the tough bit and you got to be sure of how things work – hence why working with regulators and so forth is the right to go. We built this originally from an efficiency perspective, but the fact an investor has greater transparency through the process… I think it’s going to help bring back some credibility to this area.”


Toby Heap, the head of Australia’s only fin tech accelerator AWI Ventures, told StartupSmart Australia is starting to see an ecosystem develop where our profitable banks and institutions are acting as “fantastic breeding grounds” for people to gain the confidence to start their own ventures.

“There’s a lot of interest from the big end of town to know what we’re up to and be involved with what we’re up to,” he says.


“All of them are really starting to get very active in their own internal kind of venturing or internal incubation processes.”


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