Fund Product, Company, and Regulatory Updates as at 27 September 2016

Product Updates

Legg Mason launch macro bond fund
Legg Mason is launching a new macro bond fund for those Australian investors looking for fixed-income exposure. The Legg Mason Western Asset Macro Opportunities Bond Fund has been designed to take advantage of market dislocations typically out of reach for traditional investors. 

BetaShares launches Cybersecurity ETF
BetaShares has announced the launch of the BetaShares Global Cybersecurity ETF (ASX: HACK), in a new growth area - cybersecurity spending is set to increase at a rate of eight per cent per annum, reaching US$82 billion this year, projected to grow to over US$100 billion by 2019. HACK is part of the Global Sector Series from BetaShares, joining five others: 

  • BetaShares Global Energy Companies ETF – Currency Hedged (ASX: FUEL)
  • BetaShares Global Gold Miners ETF – Currency Hedged (ASX: MNRS)
  • BetaShares Global Banks ETF - Currency Hedged (ASX: BNKS)
  • BetaShares Global Healthcare ETF – Currency Hedged (ASX: DRUG)
  • BetaShares Global Agriculture ETF - Currency Hedged (ASX: FOOD)

Company Updates

Zurich acquisition of Macquarie approved
The Federal Court of Australia has approved Zurich's acquisition of Macquarie Life's risk business after six months. 

IRESS acquires Financial Synergy super software provider
IRESS is to buy Australian superannuation software provider Financial Synergy for up to $90 million, with 7.49 million shares launched to raise the money. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October. Financial Synergy is being sold by owner and founder David Orford and the senior management team, who will remain on board. 

Westpac changes staff incentives structure
Employee incentives have been removed on product sales by bank tellers in Westpac branches. Instead, incentives are to be based on customer feedback related to quality customer service. Staff in specialised sales roles will not be receiving any variable reward values based on the different products, but will be rewarded for meeting customer needs. All financial advisers are to undergo ethics training. 

Vision Super divests three more carbon companies
Vision Super is making good on its promise to make low-carbon investments, replacing three carbon-rich companies with low-carbon options. This reduces their carbon load by 75 per cent of the benchmark carbon footprinting. 

TA Associates to buy Aus Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Global growth private equity company TA Associates is to buy out Goldman Sachs Asset Management's Australian company and platform, rebranding the company and completing a restructure. The company currently has $8 billion in assets under management. Post-purchase, Dion Hershan will be managing director, Katie Hudson will co-head the small and mid-cap investment team, and Roy Keenan is to be fixed income portfolio manager. 

Regulatory Updates

Westpac refunds $9.2m in fees
Westpac has refunded over 150,000 customers about $9.2 million after it failed to waive fees on Westpac and St. George savings and transaction accounts over a six-year period due to this being a manual process. Westpac reported itself. 

CBA pays $180,000 in penalties for unlawful/inappropriate overdrafts
The Commonwealth Bank is to pay $180,000 in penalties and will write off $2.5 million in loan balances after breaches in responsible lending, due to programming errors in an automated calculator. Over 9,500 customers were approved for overdrafts in circumstances where they would normally be declined, with 1,150 given higher overdraft limits unlawfully.