Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Update as at 3 November 2017

Product Updates

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StatePlus partners for retirement transition
StatePlus has partnered with Perth-based specialist organisation Life Time Wise to help those retiring complete the transition seamlessly. This collaboration will help superannuation members and their employers manage the physical, mental, and financial transition from the workforce to retirement.

GROW Super cuts fees
The millennial-focused superannuation fund GROW Super has made cuts to its administration fees. The fee has been reduced from 1.44 per cent to 0.54 per cent plus $1.65 per week. The overall admin fee will be 0.71 per cent per year based on a $50,000 balance.

BTFG life insurance APL widened
BT Financial Group (BTFG) has expanded their life insurance approved product list (APL) from one to three. Westpac Life is currently the only insurer on the BT Financial Advisers APL. The APL will have a minimum of three formally included insurers by March 2018.

AB reduces retail fees
AllianceBernstein (AB) is to cut management fees for two of its retail funds from 0.70 per cent per annum to 0.55 per cent, while the AB Global Equity Fund fee has been cut from 1.05 per cent to 0.85 per cent.

Melbourne boutique terminates fund
Concise Asset Management has terminated its only fund, the Concise Mid Cap Fund. The Melbourne-based equities boutique has attributed this in part to the rise of passive investment and superannuation fund internalisation. The termination process of Concise Mid Cap Fund will begin on 1 December 2017.

Fund launched by Charter Hall, consumer spending backed
Charter Hall is betting on Australians maintaining their spending patterns by launching a direct, multi-sector fund that targets precincts tied to consumer staples. The Charter Hall Direct Diversified Consumer Staples Fund (DCSF) will be launched with four industrial and two retail properties in its portfolio.

First boutique partners named by Bennelong subsidiaries
BennBridge, Bennelong Funds Management’s UK-based subsidiary, has entered a strategic partnership with two boutique firms, Tellworth Investments and Pembroke.

Impact fund launched by Standard Life
Standard Life Investments is to launch its first impact fund under the Standard Life banner. This fund will be co-run by Aberdeen Standard Investment’s Dominic Byrne and Sarah Norris.

Fintech start-up launches world-first
Martin McCann and Dr Matthias Born are to launch a world-first lending technology, for traditional lenders and banks, to help equip them against tech giants who want to enter financial services. Trade Ledger is a lending platform that will transform digital data from business supply chains in real time. This will allow banks to regularly update and assess credit and default risk of businesses they lend to.

Acorns tool to invest in the future
Micro-investing app Acorns Australia has launched a new feature that will make it easier for parents to save, invest, and build a fund for their children, grandchildren, and other dependents under the age of 18. Little Acorns will allow account holders to allocate a percentage of their current balance to a child and track the performance of their allotment individually.

Company Updates

Equity Trustees enters super fund merger
Equity Trustees has entered into a partnership with Aon to facilitate a $5.2 billion superannuation fund merger. Under the terms of the partnership the Aon Master Trust and EQT’s Executive Superannuation Fund will combine. EQT will take responsibility for the merged fund’s trustee services and Aon will oversee distribution and products, should approvals be received.

Australian trustee hits top 10
Australian superannuation trustee, the Australian government’s Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, has made it into the top 10 list of the world’s most responsible allocators. The trustee was deemed the 10th most responsible asset allocator in the world.

New Insurer named for VicSuper
MetLife has been named to take over as insurance provider for VicSuper, taking over from AMP, which had a long-running partnership with VicSuper.

AMP departs platform
Class chief executive Kevin Bungard has flagged AMP’s plan to depart from the Class Super platform. There has been no specified timeframe due to AMP’s SuperConcepts business, which functions as a ‘competitive software solution’.

Midwinter partners with management platform
Midwinter has entered a strategic partnership for a business platform that will specialise in the financial services industry. The partnership will integrate Midwinter’s AdviceOS with PractiFI software.

Equity research firm expands
Equity and performance analytics research firm Style Research have opened a Melbourne office. Style Research provides portfolio communication tool and factor-based equity analytics globally for 300 investment firms.

Regulatory Updates

Funds management guidance overhauled by ASIC
ASIC released six new and updated pieces of guidance for the funds management industry. The guidance is for consultations that have been undertaken in advance of the upcoming Asia Region Fund Passport and corporate collective investment vehicle legislation. ASIC wants to consolidate its core guidance for the funds management industry to six regulatory guides:

  • Asset holding
  • Constitutions
  • Establishing and registering a fund
  • Entry and ongoing requirements for foreign passport funds
  • Compliance and oversight
  • How we may exercise our exemption or modification powers and common forms of relief we may grant

Trans-Tasman fintech collaborative approach confirmed
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and ASIC have re-affirmed their commitment to cooperation and collaboration on expanding opportunities in fintech and innovation. The FMA and ASIC entered a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012.