Fund Product, Company, and Regulatory Updates as at 6 December 2016

Product Updates

IOOF launches new adviser portal
A new online portal for IOOF's financial advisers using IOOF Employer Super is now functioning. Advisers and support staff can access employer information, conduct deeper searches, get standard reports, self-validate forms online, and use new trading and flexible investment instruction functionality. 

Cbus launches employer app
Cbus, in conjunction with Link Group, have developed a super contribution application for employers. The Employer Mobile App allows the addition of new employees, creates receipts, and allows account administration, all for small businesses - 97 per cent of the superannuation fund's base of members. 

Company Updates

Netwealth and Stanford Brown team up in MA offering
Netwealth and boutique wealth manager Stanford Brown have joined forces to create a private label managed accounts offering, with the new models managed by The Lunar Group. 

Mercer buys Pillar off the NSW Government
Mercer has acquired Pillar, a superannuation administration company owned by the New South Wales Government, for $35 million. Mercer is now one of the largest outsourced superannuation providers in Australia with funds under administration over $100 billion and two million members and counting. 

Franklin Templeton announces new operating structure
Franklin Templeton Investments Australia has a new distribution team operating structure, with three groups focusing on i) institutional, ii) financial institutions, and iii) family office/independent financial adviser client segments. New leaders have been appointed to lead each team - Charles Levinge (institutional), Louise Thompson (financial institutions), and Stuart Devlin (family office/IFA). 

Macquarie merges two groups
Macquarie Group has merged Macquarie Securities Group (MSG), and Commodities and Financial Markets Group (CFM). Andrew Downe will step in as head of the newly-formed Commodities and Global Markets Group (CGM). 

HSBC opens new Sydney office
HSBC Australia is opening a new private banking arm with its eye on the growing number of high-net worth individuals in Australia. 

BTFG merges business areas: advice research with investment research
BT Financial Group is combining divisions Advice Research with Investment Research and Governance. Some functions of the Advice business were more fitting with the other division, so are being moved across. 

Regulatory Updates

JPMorgan Chase pay bribery penalties after hiring family and friends
JPMorgan Chase & Co are to pay over US$130 million after charges were brought against the company by the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company won business from clients and corruptly influenced government officials in Asia-Pacific by employing relatives and friends. This was at the request of foreign government officials, with over 100 interns and full-time employees added to the payroll over a seven-year period, resulting in the winning or retaining of business worth over US$100 million in revenue. This is in contravention of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Total sanctions paid add up to US$264 million. 

Budget Super Tax Package passed in Parliament
Legislation has passed enabling the government's superannuation tax changes to be put into action. The changes address issues in equity and sustainability of Australia's superannuation system, and have been welcomed by industry groups. The Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO) provides incentives for low-income-earners to save for retirement, gives people (especially women) time to step out of the workplace without being overly penalised, and offers better capacity for self-employed to make voluntary contributions. 

CommSec pays $200,000 infringement notice
Commonwealth Securities Limited has paid $200,000 in penalties after it was given an infringement notice by the Markets Disciplinary Panel (MDP). The details of the contravention regard CommSec having received a formal notification of the death of a client who held two accounts at CommSec, an equities account and a margin loan account. CommSec failed to apply a holder record lock on either of the accounts, and entered into 59 market transactions on behalf of the deceased on request by a family member of the deceased. The family member was authorised in relation to the trading on the margin loan account in the event of a margin call, but was not authorised to provide instructions to enter into any market transactions. 

Banking and financial services inquiry voted in
The Federal Opposition has set up a Senate inquiry into banking and financial services industry wrongdoings. The Senate voted the move in, which will examine the impact of misconduct on victims and consumers, the impact of remuneration of top executives, culture, failures, and victim support, advocacy and redress.