Fund Product, Company, and Regulatory Updates as at 11 October 2016

Product Updates

La Trobe Financial launches new online retail platform
A new retail platform is available to investors, La Trobe Direct, providing online investment capabilities along with direct investments in the La Trobe Australian Credit Fund. The new platform will be accessible 24 hours a day, with two portfolio account products available: the Classic 48-hour Account (3.2 per cent per annum) and the 12 Month Term Account (5.2 per cent per annum). 

BlackRock launches smart beta ETF product suite
BlackRock's latest product suite launch is a group of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The iShares Edge Smart Beta suite includes:

  • iShares Edge MSCI Australia Minimum Volatility ETF
  • iShares Edge MSCI World Minimum Volatility ETF
  • iShares Edge MSCI Australia Multifactor ETF
  • iShares Edge MSCI World Multifactor ETF

Company Updates

Global merger creates Janus Henderson Global Investors
Henderson, and Janus Capital, will soon be known as Janus Henderson Global Investors as a combined entity offering investment management services. Equal numbers of directors from each company will remain, though some restructuring will occur. 

Christian Super launches its own fund manager
Christian Super is setting up a funds' management and consulting firm, Brightlight, to outsource its portfolio to, and attracting outside clients into. Christian Super has run its investments in-house for many years. 

Regulatory Updates

Findex Group infringements
Findex Group Limited and Financial Index Australia Pty Ltd (FIA) have both paid $10,800 in penalties after ASIC issued infringement notices for potentially misleading claims on the Findex website. These statements include those made stating that Findex was 'independent' and 'non-aligned', insinuating that services offered were unaffected by conflicts of interest such as commissions, when in fact commissions or benefits were received by Findex for recommended financial products, and conflicts of interest existed with associations or relationships with product issuers. 

Lotus Securities AFSL cancelled
The Australian financial services licence (AFSL) of Lotus Securities has been cancelled after the company failed to comply with some key obligations, including lodging financial reports. 

ASIC moves against Growth Plus Financial Group (in liquidation)
ASIC has commenced civil proceedings against Ben Jayaweera and Growth Plus FInancial Group Pty Ltd (in liquidation) due to the company being wound up after unpaid debts and a series of contraventions. 

Draft superannuation legislation released
Legislation has been released in draft for further superannuation reforms.  There are plans to implement the $1.6 million transfer balance cap, which will limit an individual's superannuation account in the tax-free retirement phase. Other amendments include lowering the concessional cap to $25,000 per year, and a reduction of the income threshold whereby an individual must pay an additional 15 per cent contributions tax, from $300,000 to $250,000. Another proposal is that individuals with balances of less than $500,000 will be able to carry forward unused concessional cap space for up to five years to create flexibility for those with broken work patterns.