Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 14 November

Product Updates

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KSI launches landbanking managed fund
Under a deal for retail investors, KSI Investments, a Sydney investment management firm, has acquired 11.55 acres of land in Rossmore, South-West Sydney. The land is expected to be rezoned in the next five to seven years and accommodate between 110 and 140 houses. KSI Sydney Landbanking fund is a retail managed fund overseen by ASIC, and has engaged Perpetual Australia Limited to be custodian for the fund.

Face ID available for My AMP and Bett3r customers
Apple’s iPhone X’s facial recognition technology can be used to securely log in to AMP’s Bett3r and My AMP wealth management apps. This follows the early adoption of fingerprint technology for log-ins.

Company Updates

Westpac sells asset manager
Westpac has entered an agreement with UK-based firm Northill to sell its infrastructure manager subsidiary, Hastings Fund Management. This agreement is subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals, and the terms are currently confidential.

Push for affordable housing asset class by Industry Super
Industry Super Australia’s latest whitepaper shows that if a new asset class targets institutional funds and can offer affordable rental housing, it could help curb the housing affordability crisis. The paper highlights a number of solutions that could help to tackle the affordability crisis, such as co-ordinated efforts across federal, state, and local government, limiting personal grants and tax concessions, restricting foreign ownership to new dwellings, and replacing stamp duties with land taxes.

ANZIIF wins award overseas
The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) has been awarded the Educational Services Provider of the Year 2017. ANZIIF won this award at the 21st Asia Insurance Industry Awards in Singapore.

Regulatory Updates

Australia and China cooperate on fintech
ASIC and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) have entered an agreement to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets. The Information Sharing Cooperation Agreement provides a framework between the two regulators for information sharing.

ASIC obtains freezing orders
ASIC has obtained interim injunctions from the Federal Court against Gallop Asset Management (GAM), Gallop International Group (GIG), and Mr Ming-Chien Wang. This order will freeze the money held in bank accounts and restrains them from carrying on any financial services business in Australia. ASIC believes that GIG, GAM and Wang are carrying on unlicensed financial services

Two companies lose financial services licences
ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of NSW-based Mackellar Financial Services and cancelled the AFS licence of NSW-based Divitiarum Audax. Mackellar’s licence has been suspended for failing to lodge auditor’s reports and financial statements for two years. Divitiarum Audax’s AFS Licence has been cancelled for continued failure to lodge auditor’s reports and financial statements for four years, following a suspension in May 2017.

Citibank refund credit card customers
Citibank will refund roughly 39,500 current and former customers more than $3.3 million for failing to refund customers any outstanding credit balance when credit card accounts were closed.  The errors occurred on accounts as far back as 1994, but not every time an account was closed.

Citibank refunds following misleading statements
Roughly 4,000 current and former Citibank customers have been refunded more than $1 million after the bank's obligations surrounding unauthorised transactions on customers’ accounts was misstated. Citibank has refused requests from customers to investigate unauthorised transactions as it has claimed the requests were made outside the permitted time period.