Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at August 14

Product Updates

AustralianSuper combating unpaid super
AustralianSuper updated its mobile app, first launched in 2015, to allow members to receive alerts when their most recent superannuation payment goes into their account. This alert system will allow members to see when their super has not been paid, meaning they can act to rectify the problem with their employer.

The app also allows members to:

  • view their super balance;
  • view their transaction history;
  • view and download their last financial year statements;
  • view their investment options and returns;
  • view and change their insurance cover; and
  • edit and change their investment options.

XTB launches first floater model portfolio
Quantifeed and XTB have partnered to launch the XTB Active Cash Australia model portfolio. This is the first model portfolio of exchange-traded bond units linked to floating rate notes available to the Australian and Asian markets.

Intrust Super to reduce premiums
Intrust Super has announced that premiums will drop by 12 per cent on its income protection policy, PayGuard. PayGuard premiums will drop from $7.00 per $1,000 of cover to $6.15 per $1,000 of cover as of 1 October 2017.

Company Updates

Former investment bankers launch investment platform
Rob Nankivell and Travis Miller have launched iPartners, an online investment platform for investors seeking a wide range of asset classes in Australia. After investors have selected a transaction amount and confirmed the investment, iPartner constructs a bookbuild based on investor demands. Investors can join iPartner for a minimum investment of $10,000.

iPartner has 13 other shareholders including media personality Craig Hutchison and former Virgin co-chief David Baxby. iPartner is expected to raise roughly $75 million in the short-term.

Class partners with Countplus
Software provider Class has joined with accounting and financial advice network Countplus to provide self-managed super fund and wealth accounting software. Class will provide Countplus practices with centralised billing and supportive services when using Class Super and Class Plus and resources for transitioning portfolios to Class and implementation assistance resources. 

SMSF auditors announce merger
Adelaide-based ASF Audits and Newcastle-based Super Auditors have announced their intention to merge.

ASIC updates OpenMarkets licence conditions
ASIC and OpenMarkets Australia Limited have agreed to independent expert monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the application of recommendations arising from an independent review of trading and compliance arrangements by OpenMarkets. OpenMarkets has undertaken remedial action to address the recommendation made.

ASIC extends software partnership
ASIC has extended its partnership with Nuix, an Australian software company, after a competitive tender process. ASIC is investing roughly $60 million into expanding its analytics and e-discovery platforms with analytics, IT systems, surveillance and enforcement capabilities to be a more data-driven and intelligence-led law enforcement agency.

In-house UniSuper investment option
UniSuper is changing its once passively managed sustainable investment option to an active strategy. The management of the Global Environmental Opportunities investment option will be internalised and the MSCI ESG Research Sustainable Impact Metrics database will be adopted for portfolio construction.

Regulatory Updates

ASIC calls for expressions of interest for members of a new panel
ASIC is calling for financial services and consumer credit industry participants who are interested in becoming members of the new ASIC Financial Services and Credit Panel to come forward.

ASIC’s Australian bank audit reports
ASIC has outlined the results of an audit conducted by eight Australian banks following the regulatory action taken against Wells Fargo in late 2016. The audits did not find evidence of any systematic unlawful conduct, or indicate improvements should be made to the sale of consumer credit insurance (CCI). ASIC required audits from:

  • ANZ
  • Bank of Queensland
  • Citibank
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • HSBC
  • NAB
  • Suncorp
  • Westpac

The audits reviewed:

  • account and product on-boarding processes, with a focus on customer acknowledgement and account activation controls;
  • details of the processes in place to proactively detect potential misconduct arising from sales incentives;
  • analysis of complaints where customers claimed they had not applied for an account or product;
  • details of internal reporting processes to ensure senior management had visibility of potential issues; and
  • organisational whistle-blower processes and protections.

ASIC accepts FIA enforceable undertaking
ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) offered by Financial Index Australia (FIA). ASIC found that FIA had moved clients to more expensive FIA-branded products without sufficient explanation or justification. Under the EU, FIA has agreed to enlist an independent expert to review client files and amend client accounts where appropriate.

Unlicensed trading apps in the firing line
ASIC conducted a review on mobile apps associated with binary options trading. Over 330 apps were highlighted that appeared to be unlicensed. ASIC was also concerned that:

  • many of the apps contained misleading information about the profitability of trading;
  • the majority failed to outline the risks of trading binary options; and
  • some binary option review sites only collected personal information to be used for high-pressure cold calling.

Apple and Google removed the apps after being contacted by ASIC.