Why your cash is protected with pearler

By Nick Nicolaides

Pearler operates a Client Trust Account, which means your cash remains yours.

If you're wondering about how safe your cash deposited into pearler is, or what happens to your cash if something happens to pearler, you've come to the right place.

Knowing how your money and investments are protected should be a question everybody asks themselves when selecting any financial services provider, and particularly one that’s a startup!

So congrats on asking these great questions! As you’re about to find out, we have structured our platform to remove undue risks as much as possible for you, our customers.

You also might be wondering  what Autoinvest has to do with how pearler holds your money. The short story is that  when we started pearler, instead of doing things the way they’ve always been done, we imagined the best long-term investing process and built our technology platform around that. 

When it comes to cash, this means cutting down the time and steps you need to take to get your hard earned savings invested.  We help you do this with a feature that automates dollar-cost averaging (DCA) in a few clicks, spanning banking and investing.

Pearler's Client Trust Account Structure

You might be wondering what dollar-cost averaging has to do with understanding how pearler holds your cash? Or if not, you're probably at least interested in understanding how we hold your cash in the time between you making a deposit and then making an investment. 

Let's get something straight before we get into it, if you want to build up a large pile of cash and not invest it, there are better places to do that than here. We are all about investing regularly, so to us, it doesn't make sense to keep heaps of cash lying around, whether it's in the bank or not. 

At pearler, customer deposits are physically held in a Macquarie Bank Client Trust Account in pearler's name on trust on behalf of our customers. The Client Trust Account contains an individual sub-account for each customer. The Client Trust Account only holds customer deposits and is not commingled with pearler business bank accounts. In fact, we've chosen to use a different bank altogether for pearler's operating business (like wages, rent etc).

If you want to get more technical, our custodian policies & procedures dictate that pearler will not deposit, move or withdraw any monies from the Client Trust Account, except as directed by you in accordance with our T&Cs.  In developing our custodian policies, we refer to the ASIC Client Money Money Reporting Rules 2017 , Division 2 Part 7.8 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and Sections 981A  through C and also the ASX Clear Operating Rules Guidance Note 12.  Further, Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (AFSL: 337927), as the authorising licensee for pearler, holds Professional Indemnity Insurance cover for the activities conducted under its AFS Licence.

The Client Trust Account is what allows us to set up a direct debit from your everyday bank account to your pearler sub-account according to the investment rules and frequency you set. The more popular alternative for online brokers - Cash Management Accounts - do not have the ability to direct debit from one account to another, but they do have some benefits like individual account numbers. At the end of the day, it came down to automation or not - which made the choice very easy. 

But for completeness, we’ve put together a table to show how the two stack up.

Client Trust Accounts vs Cash Management Accounts


Client Trust Account

Cash Management Account

Account holder

Account held in broker’s name on behalf of customer governed by ASIC 

Account held in broker's name in bare trust on behalf of customer governed by ASIC

Account ID

Each client is allocated an account within the Client Trust Account and the Client Trust Account is reported to APRA by the operating Bank

Each client has its own BSB and Account number and is reported individually to APRA by the operating Bank


Same Day 

2+ days - Depends on the operating Bank 

Use of funds

Can only be used as directed by a customer or to repay monies to a customer. 

Can only be used as directed by a customer or to repay monies to a customer. 

Direct Debit 







Closing Remarks

There’s one final topic we’d like to cover. In Australia, there have been a handful of situations over the years where a financial institution has collapsed under too much debt (or hedging) for complicated trading instruments or simply from doing the wrong thing.

Unfortunately, this has meant client monies have been lost, which you can read about here, here, here and here. Some of these failures have been caused by excessive debt, so whilst we’re on the topic, we are are a cash-funded startup and in true FI spirit, we are #debtfree.

Since then, protections have been put in place specifically to protect retail (everyday) investors from this risk and that's why customer monies now have to be held in a separate account.  Now there can’t be any confusion about who owns what money - you! 

We take our responsibility seriously and want to make sure our customers are comfortable, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via or on live chat during trading hours.  

If this was helpful, you might also be interested in reading our blog on how pearler keeps your shares safe.

Thanks for reading,



At Pearler, we pride ourselves on the quality of the general financial advice we give. Please note though, that this advice has not been tailored for you. You have unique financial goals, circumstances and needs which may make this advice inappropriate, and it is important that you know whether it applies to you. If you are unsure we urge you to speak to someone you trust who is competent with money and understands your individual needs, whether they be a trusted friend or accredited professional

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