Fund Product, Company, and Regulatory Updates as at 21 June 2016

Product Updates

Suncorp launches online-only super product
Suncorp has launched a superannuation product that is only available online, Suncorp Brighter Super. The product has less-engaged clients in mind, with the intention to act more like a bank account than a separate superannuation account. 

Company Updates

QSuper and LGIAsuper membership now open to the public
After legislation changes in Queensland, QSuper and LGIAsuper will have their membership opened to the public as of 30 June 2017. The two funds remain the default super funds for Queensland's state and local government public sector employees respectively, with current contribution rates to remain unchanged. This brings Queensland into line with most of the rest of Australia, and enables choice for public sector employees. 

OneVue intending to merge with Diversa
A scheme implementation deed to merge has been signed by OneVue, with Diversa, a major provider of superannuation trustee, administration, and investment services. OneVue will buy all of Diversa's ordinary shares, with the joint business having a market capitalisation of $177 million. 

RBF-TAS and Tasplan merger approved
A new reform bill was required to be passed for the fund transfer of the Retirement Benefits Fund's (RBF) Tasmanian Accumulation Scheme to Tasplan to be successful. This reform bill has been passed without incident, allowing successor fund transfer (SFT) arrangements. The RBF's defined benefit scheme is now under a newly created Superannuation Commission, with three Treasurer-appointed people. The process is complex, and not complete just yet, but progress is being made. 

Regulatory Updates

ASIC and Singapore sign agreement
ASIC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed an agreement that will enhance regulatory actions between the two countries. The Innovation Functions Co-operation Agreement offers fintech companies in Australia and Singapore access to regulatory and licensing help and facilities in both locations, and will help to reduce excess time and uncertainty. This means expansion into these markets for both is easier. 

ASIC warning
ASIC has issued a warning for the following entities, because they offer binary option trading services, but none are appropriately licensed or authorised in Australia. These services may be being marketed to Australians. 

  • GOptions (Go Trading Technologies Ltd)
  • Porterfinance (Oracle Stone Limited)
  • Boss Capital (Cheshire Capital Ltd)
  • MaxOptions (Changecapital SM Ltd)
  • Bloombex Options (Bloombex Ltd)
  • Citrades (CIT Investments Ltd)
  • RBoptions (Zulutoys Limited)
  • OptionsXO (Omni Capital Ltd/Omni Global Solutions SRL)

ASIC: Best interests duty enacted
Melbourne-based NSG Services Pty Ltd (previously known as National Sterling Group Pty Ltd) has had proceedings commenced against it by ASIC after alleged breaches of the best interests duty introduced recently in the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms. This is the first use of this new regulatory power. NSG was licensed to offer personal advice on risk insurance and superannuation to retail clients. ASIC has alleged that NSG didn't take reasonable steps to ensure that its advisers complied with the best interests obligation, and on numerous occasions, NSG advisers did not act in the best interests of their clients. 

ASIC: Civil penalty proceedings commenced against NAB
ASIC has commenced civil proceedings in the Federal Court of Melbourne against National Australia Bank (NAB) for unconscionable conduct and market manipulation. The conduct relates to the setting of the bank bill swap reference rate (BBSW) several years previous, and relate to a change in methodology. ASIC alleges that NAB traded in a manner that was intended to create an artificial price for bank bills on 50 occasions during a two-year period.