Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 22 May 2018

Product Updates

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XTB Emerald Fixed Income Managed Portfolio launched, on HUB24
Australia's first fixed income ESG-managed portfolio has been launched, available soon on HUB24. The portfolio consists of companies that have an ESG focus and reporting system in place, while ensuring viable investments. Examples of company metrics used in reporting are total greenhouse (GHG) emissions, water intensity per sale, and renewable energy use. 

BlackRock confirms closure of five ETFs
BlackRock is to delist five exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from June 22, with investors warned to divest prior to close of trading on June 15, or apply to BlackRock to convert CHESS depository interests into shares in the corresponding US-listed iShares ETF. Deadline for these applications is August 28. 

Company Updates

PIMCO partners with financial tech firm
PIMCO is partnering with Beacon, a quantitative research and analytics firm that works specifically in financial technology. PIMCO is to integrate with the platform for valuation models, risk analytics, and technology, with post-implementation application to 240 portfolio managers. 

Australian Ethical ditches AMP investments
After AMP's spectacular failures were brought to the fore in the Royal Commission, Australian Ethical has made the decision to divest itself of AMP stocks. Current AMP stock held by Australian Ethical is estimated to be at about $8 million. 

CareSuper partners with Mercer
CareSuper is to partner with Mercer, to manage the industry super fund's administration functions, including customer and fund support services, after a six-month-long tender process. CareSuper is moving on from Link Group, an administration partnership that spans many years. 

Macquarie merging private wealth arms
Macquarie Group is looking into consolidating its private bank and private wealth businesses, to focus on its high net-worth strategy. Australia now has over 1.2 million adults with a net wealth of $1.3 million or more, creating a hub for high net worth individuals. 

Regulatory Updates

ASIC and RBA introduce new BBSW calculation methodology
ASIC and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) commence the new bank bill swap rate (BBSW) methodology as of May 2018. The BBSW rate is a major interest rate benchmark for the Australian dollar, and is referenced regularly in financial contracts. 

Wealth & Risk Management AFS licence cancelled
The Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Wealth & Risk Management Pty Ltd has been cancelled after numerous breaches of financial services laws and obligations. An order was made by the Federal Court of Australia to stop the company from running for 18 years. 

Intiger closes Sydney office
ASX-listed Australian fintech company Intiger is closing its Sydney office's doors after a strategic review, with three people to lose their jobs. The company is to focus on financial services' licensees to provide large-scale advice.