Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 30 May 2017

Product Updates

CFS improves managed accounts capabilities
Colonial First State has released new managed accounts capabilities in its FirstWrap and FirstChoice platforms. Clients benefit from brokerage fee-free trading from inside their account and won't see any further platform admin fees when using the new solutions. 

Company Updates

New sustainable trading platform launch
An ESG-friendly trading platform is been launched by Tom Culver and Emily Taylor, called Goodments. The venture is backed by H2 Ventures and the startup was put into a startup accelerator. The platform targets millennials and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) owners with investment decisions that are ESG-driven. 

Regulatory Updates

ATO guidance on death benefits released
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released its final guidance on superannuation death benefits with more information regarding insurance and reversionary and non-reversionary death benefit pensions. 

Divitiarum Audax AFSL suspended
ASIC has suspended the Australian Financial Services licence (AFSL) of Divitiarum Audax for failing to lodge financial statements and auditors' reports for four years, breaching their licence conditions. The licence suspension applies until 8 November 2017. 

Inadequacies found in Macquarie Bank's wholesale FX business
ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Macquarie Bank after inadequacies were discovered in its wholesale FX businesses. ASIC was concerned that the bank had failed to ensure that systems and controls were adequate relating to inappropriate conduct by employees identified by ASIC. Conduct included divulging confidential information to outside parties and triggering trades inappropriately. 

Courtenay House companies wound up
After an application by ASIC, orders have been made for the winding up of Courtenay House Capital Trading Group Pty Ltd and Courtenay House Pty Ltd. Liquidators have been appointed to both companies. An ongoing investigation by ASIC found that the companies had offered returns to investors on capital allegedly invested in foreign exchange and futures commodities without a proper licence. 

ASBFEO intervention sees banks accountable for unfair contract terms
An intervention by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) and ASIC involving the big banks, the banks are taking action to protect small businesses from unfair loan terms. A series of changes are now in progress to remove 'entire agreement clauses', material adverse event clauses, limiting the operation of indemnification clauses, and many others. 

Gallop International AFSL cancelled
Gallop International Group Pty Ltd has had its Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence cancelled from 24 May 2017. Gallop has been found to have repeatedly failed to comply with its obligations relating to late lodgement of financial statements, audit reports, breach reports, notifications of change in control and the appointment of an auditor. 

GROW Super launched
A boutique direct superannuation product, GROW Super, has been launched straight at millennials. The product is being offered through LESF Super in association with Diversa Trustees. GROW Super's MySuper fees are 1.33 per cent. The process works via an app, connected to a bank account, allowing for 'round-up investments' where spare change is diverted to superannuation. 

SMSF association merger
Two self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) associations are merging to form SISFA - the Self-managed Independent Superannuation Funds Association. The two associations merging are and the SMSF Owners Alliance are now forming SISFA.