Product Watch - Balmain Discrete Mortgage Income Trusts

The Weekend Australian

WHAT IT IS: Possibly the safest way to invest in commercial real estate debt for self-managed superannuation funds that we've come across.

Balmain has devised a system that gives investors the chance to build up a portfolio of holdings in separate first mortgage loans against small commercial properties.

WHAT IT DOES: Invest a minimum of $50,000 in a National Australia Bank cash management account and Balmain Funds offers a pipeline of individual mortgages using an easy-to-operate website. Rates on fixed-term investments are 6-8 per cent annually, with income paid quarterly. 

Balmain Funds, the investment management arm of the Balmain Group, Australia's largest non-bank commercial loan manager, sees the product as a way for investors to "be the bank" in the conservative small end of the property loan market.

WHAT IT COSTS: Management costs are estimated at 1.65 per cent a year of the principal amount for each loan.

WHAT WE LIKE: You get to choose precisely which projects you have an exposure to and are made fully aware of all the risks of the property you lend against. Balmain is throwing up the best pick of loans and also has the skills to go in fix up any problems that may arise.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE: This is one for people who know what they're doing and regularly log on to see how their portfolio is faring. It's not a product for the set and forget crowd.