Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 27 November 2018

Product Updates

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BetaShares launches first active fixed income ETF in Australia
BetaShares Legg Mason Australian Bond Fund is Australia’s first active fixed income exchange traded fund (ETF), and is to mirror the Legg Mason Western Asset Australian Bond Fund.

UBS launches emerging markets equity fund
Australian investors will now have access to offshore investments via the UBS Asset Management’s Emerging Markets Equity Fund. This is the company’s third global equity offering for underrepresented sectors in the Australian market.

Company Updates

Vision Super divesting from thermal coal, tar sands, tobacco
Industry fund Vision Super is divesting from controversial industries such as tobacco, thermal coal, and tar sand producers, after already divesting from controversial weapons investments.

Regulatory Updates

Women’s Economic Security Statement 2018 released by government
Kelly O’Dwyer, the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, has released the Women’s Economic Security Statement 2018 which extends the early release of superannuation to circumstances of domestic and family violence. Escape from these abusive situations is regularly impeded by a lack of available funds, with domestic and family violence a major cause of homelessness in women.

ASIC extends relief for non-cash payment facilities
ASIC has amended the expiry date that would have seen the instrument ending operations in March 2019, however the amendment allows continuation of operations beyond this date for the ASIC Corporations (Non-cash Payment Facilities) Instrument 2016/211. This instrument provides relief for non-cash payments such as travellers’ cheques, loyalty schemes, road tolls, mobile prepaid arrangements, and low value payment products.

UBS Securities pays $120,000 MDP infringement notice
The Markets Disciplinary Panel (MDP) has given an infringement notice to UBS Securities Australia Limited after a contravention of Market Integrity Rules. Six on-market buy-backs conducted by UBS on the ASX market in 2017 were not in the ordinary course of trading, and not in accordance with client instructions.

Dampier Finance convicted and fined for failing to lodge financial statements
Sydney’s Dampier Finance Australia Limited, an Australian Financial Services licence holder, has been convicted and fined $240,000 for failing to lodge its company annual reports and financial statements with ASIC from 2012 to 2017.

State One Stockbroking breaches cost company $500,000
A Federal Court has found contraventions of Market Integrity Rules by State One Stockbroking Limited, and imposed fines of $500,000 - $350,000 in fines and $150,000 in ASIC’s legal and investigative costs. State One Stockbroking has admitted to the contraventions in a Statement of Agreed Facts.

ASIC now free to hire gun staff as needed
ASIC is now under no obligation to hire staff under the Public Service Act, allowing it to pay more for better qualified and experienced staff. The Turnbull government removed legislation in March 2018, bringing ASIC in line with APRA and RBA. The rigid payscale that the public service approach insists upon has been a burden and hindrance in hiring people who are in hot demand with specialist skills.