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Making global real estate investment accessible

Wealth Migrate’s investment platform gives investors access to offshore real estate opportunities.
Picture: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“We’ve been told all our lives that we don’t know anything about money and need other, clever people to help us invest. I believe that is wrong,” says Scott Picken, founder and CEO of Wealth Migrate.

He’s spent his life around finance, writing his dissertation on technology and the financial industry in 1999, completing his Masters degree in 2001 and then continuing on his path to success by starting International Property Solutions – all before the age of 30. He is also a published author of Property Going Global.

Picken believes that people should trust themselves to look after their own financial wellbeing. “Having dealt with some of the wealthiest people, investment is actually just common sense – something everyone is blessed with.” At its roots, Picken notes that investment shouldn’t have to be all that complicated.

A personal story

“I came across two very wealthy people – South Africans – who were buying medical buildings in Australia.” When he asked why they focused on medical buildings, they told him that no matter what happens in the global economy, people will always need doctors – and doctors will always need space, and while they are great medical professionals, they do not necessarily make great accountants.

“I have an Honours degree and a Masters degree, and nobody taught me that,” says Picken. At the time, he notes this type of investment was only available to their close friends and family. They invested R40 million, and today it is worth much, much more. “But,” says Picken. “That was what we call financial exclusion.”

The world’s wealthy people, Picken says, don’t invest in houses and apartments. “The middle class do. Wealthy people, on the other hand, invest in commercial investments and businesses.” The wealthy, he says, also diversify their wealth over countries and currencies.

He refers to a saying by motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who said that if you want to be something, you have to copy people who are it already. “Copy someone fit, and you will be fit,” notes Picken with a smile. “Copy someone wealthy, well….”

Empowering investment

“In the past, we would find a house and create a structure, then agree on who put in 75% and who put in 25%. Then comes the mortgage, management, agents and more. Since investing personally from 22, it’s a nightmare dealing with all of these factors.” This, Picken says, would only take place if the parties involved knew each other beforehand – and liked and trusted each other enough to take the deal to the table and follow it through.

This is where Wealth Migrate comes in. Its investment platform went live in October 2013 and 46 different countries have signed up. “Through Wealth Migrate’s platform people can invest in institutional grade commercial real estate in England, Australia and South Africa from as little as $1 000.”

“Now,” Picken says, “investors have access to far bigger deals to earn returns on because they have institutional buying power.” Investors complete transactions online and their entire real estate portfolio is housed in one convenient place. “No hassles, management, tax structures or bank accounts to worry about because everything is there.”

This gives everyone access to the best opportunities. “In simple terms, I believe that people should be given the right of choice – and everyone should have access.” When the platform was launched, they began with a minimum investment of $100 000, which they have now managed to get down to a R1 000 for South Africa investments, and $1 000 elsewhere. Picken hopes to see it drop further to eventually a $1 per person.

It’s vitally important that people learn by doing, says Picken. “In the past, you would read a book, attend a course or go to a mentor. But the most important thing is ongoing education.” Wealth Migrate enables people to learn and monitor their investments on the move. “People get to partner with extremely experienced real estate investors while getting their returns and learning as they go.”

It is something Picken believes can solve the world’s wealth gap. “Investors are realising now that they can control their own financial destinies,” he says. “We know for a fact that people will be taking control of their own finances; this will not only empower, but give people the self-satisfaction of being in control.

“The biggest challenge of the wealth gap can be solved with access to simple financial education that allows people to take charge.”

Wealth Migrate, he says, makes it possible for people to dip their toes into the water. “At some point you’ve got to get involved.”

Brought to you by Wealth Migrate.


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