Fund Product, Company and regulatory Updates as at 18 April 2018

Product Updates

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FirstWrap adds CFSGAM model portfolio
FirstWrap users can now access Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM) Top 20 Index Portfolio. The self-managed accounts (SMAs) provide clients and advisers with direct access to the sharemarket while maintaining risk management benefits and active stock selection.

Equities strategy launched by Man Group
The Man Group's Numeric Australia Core strategy looks for areas of potential market inefficiencies through information flow stock criteria and propriety valuation, with the new product aiming to beat the MSCI Australia index. 

Global ESG bond fund launched by Dimensional
Dimensional’s new global environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria will invest in fixed interest bonds of companies that don’t invest in alcohol, gambling, and tobacco, among a number of other ESG factors.

Sunsuper slashes premiums, signs super code
Sunsuper is the latest industry fund to sign the Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice. Sunsuper aims to be fully compliant with the code from its commencement on 1 July 2018. Sunsuper is set to drop its total and permanent disability insurance premiums by an average of 20 per cent for all life policy holders. From 1 July 2018 tiered cover will be adopted to combat the erosion component of the code. This cover will allow low-income workers, young people, and part-time and casual staff to have insurance cover without diminishing their super balance.

ESG global equities fund unveiled by Natixis
Natixis Investment Managers is launching a new global equities fund that will assess companies on eight sustainable development themes: building, cities, health, energy, mobility, ICT, finance, and resources. 

Two active ETFs launched by Vanguard
The first of Vanguard’s two new exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Global Value Equity, has been launched, focussing on investing in global equities with value characteristics. The second ETF, Global Minimum Volatility, will deliver a return with lower volatility than the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) Global All-Cap Index before tax, fees, and expenses.

Crypto-heavy fund launched by DigitalX
DigitalX Investments, DigitalX’s inaugural fund, will mainly invest in cryptocurrencies, but allow crypto derivatives, managed investment schemes, cash, and ICOs.

Company Updates

Digital advice compliance business acquired by IRESS
IRESS will acquire Lucsan, a regulatory technology and data analytics provider, after making a minority investment in the business last year. Lucsan provides a comprehensive compliance coverage to financial advisers, including targeted adviser auditing, automated statement of advice vetting, best interest metrics, and daily oversight.

Pathway sold by Netwealth
Netwealth offloaded Pathway Licensee Services to IRESS for an undisclosed amount on 1 April.

OneVue education platform acquisition
An online education platform for consumers and financial advisers, No More Practice Education, has been acquired by OneVue. The sale is initially valued at $1.1 million in non-contingent payments.

BTIM to rebrand
BT Investment Management (BTIM) has proposed a rebranding as Pendal Group and is to change its ASX ticker code to PDL. BTIM has called a general meeting to be held on 27 April to make the name change official.

Nationwide Super reduces fees, creates Russell alliance
Nationwide Super has joined Russell Investments’ superannuation alliance to help the fund reduce fees for its small business owner members. Nationwide Super will be cutting fees for its members and will leverage the alliance to expand member services, including expanded education, additional advice services, and communications.

CFSGAM strategic review outcome
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has finished their strategic review of Colonial First State Global Asset management (CFSGAM), its global investment management business. The review shows that CFSGAM has shown significant growth, diversification, and scale under the current ownership structure, however, an independent ownership model would provide greater benefits. CBA intends to pursue an initial public offering on the ASX by the end of 2018, subject to necessary approvals and market conditions.

Regulatory Updates

ASIC more than doubles fees
The cost of doing business with ASIC has risen after their new funding model was supported by newly-released draft legislation. The hourly rates charged by ASIC have more than doubled under the new draft reforms from $70 to $170.95 for 1 July. The new structure will see substantial amendments made to the caps placed on how much ASIC can charge in total fees. The $10,000 cap will increase to $200,000, the $50,000 cap will increase to $300,000.

AUSTRAC regulates cryptocurrency service providers
AUSTRAC has implemented new cryptocurrency laws to regulate digital currency exchange providers. The law ensures the exchanges will face the same regulatory requirements as other regulated financial institutions.

British and Australian fintech cooperation agreement enhanced
ASIC and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have signed an Enhanced Cooperation Agreement between both Innovation Hubs to extend the existing cooperation and coordination agreement.

Octani’s AFS licence cancelled
ASIC has cancelled Octani Capital’s Australian financial services licence for non-payment of fees as of 2 March 2018.