Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 12 December

Product Updates
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BetaShares launches ESG fund
The BetaShares Australian Sustainability exchange traded fund (ETF) has been created to reflect Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) standards. Screening will be carried out for ASX stocks that engage with the fossil fuel industry as well as tobacco, uranium and nuclear energy, animal cruelty, armaments, gambling, mandatory detention of asylum seekers, junk food, alcohol, human rights and supply chain concerns, destruction of valuable environments, chemicals of concern, payday lending, and pornography.

Anti-sexual harassment ETF rolled out
Equileap and Impact Shares have collaborated to make the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF, which will invest in companies promoting women’s rights in the workplace. This ETF is due to launch early 2018.

Fee free LIC fund to be reopened
Affluence Funds Management will be reopening its Affluence LIC Fund for December. The Fund invests only in ASX-listed companies (LICs).

Company Updates
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AIST merger
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) is to merge with Industry Funds Forum to remove duplication and improve efficiency, while maintaining a forum to meet and develop policy.

PineBridge expands offering
PineBridge Investments has announced the launch of its second Australian fund, PineBridge Senior Floating Rate Income Fund. The fund will target investors looking to diversify higher-yielding investment portfolios.

Insurance platform launched by Energy Super
MLC Life Insurance’s new group insurance platform, LifeView, is being rolled out by Energy Super. This platform aims to offer a single place for members to apply for and increase cover online, lodge and track claims, submit claim notifications, and engage with their life insurance cover.

Women locked out of property investments
Build in Common is an online information portal established by Justine Teggelove, chief executive of Rodine, and Pia Turcinov, a tech entrepreneur. The portal was designed to empower women to build their financial independence and wealth through property developments and upgrades.

Regulatory Updates
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Merrill Lynch infringement notice penalty
Merrill Lynch Equities has paid a penalty of $140,000 to comply with an infringement notice given by the Markets Disciplinary Panel. The notice was given due to failure to conduct adequate periodic review to ensure it could comply with instructions given regarding wholesale clients opting out of the best exception rule, and other infringements.

Poor super fund ultimatum delivered by APRA
Helen Rowell, deputy chair of Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) said the authority will issue a consultation package designed to put pressure on poor performing super funds. The funds that do not meet the framework requirements will be expected to improve their framework or exit the industry.

Aurora RNY unitholders left unpaid
Unitholders in the RNY Property Trust have not been compensated following the Aurora Funds Management takeover. ASIC has declined to intervene after $1 million vanished from a listed Aurora trust fund.