Fund Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 20 June 2017

Product Updates

Kinetic Super improves member cover
Kinetic Super member can now turn their insurance cover on and off at any time, and can also choose from tiered insurance options. New members are to receive a Starter Pack with lower premiums and cover; once the account balance hits $3,000 or more, they are automatically upgraded to the Booster Pack, with an increase in premiums and cover. The switch-off feature kicks in if the member's account balance is $6,000 or less and if they haven't received employer contributions for 10 months or longer. Other enhancements include a 20 per cent reduction in income protection premiums and the ability to claim on terminal illness cover extended from 12 to 24 months. 

World Vision launches investment fund
World Vision is launching an endowment fund for institutional investors with an eye for a social purpose, for example funding the organisation's 'livelihood program' that focuses on helping small businesses thrive. The portfolio will include financial instruments such as endowment, grants, loans, impact investments and bonds, convertible notes, and venture equity, but is not a classic environmental, social and governance investment. Launch is expected by the end of 2017.

VicSuper launches ESG option
VicSuper is launching an environmental, social and governance (ESG) option, their second. The Socially Conscious investment option is based on a custom index derived from the MSCI Global Fossil Fuels Exclusion Index and the MSCI Global Socially Responsible Index. The Socially Conscious option has around 60% allocation to growth assets. 

BlackRock launches two cash ETFs
BlackRock has listed two more cash-aligned iShares exchange traded funds (ETFs), iShares Core Cash ETF and the iShares Enhanced ETF. 

BetaShares launches floating rate bond ETF
BetaShares has launched a floating rate bond ETF, the Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond ETF, currently yielding 2.87 per cent per annum excluding fees. 

AMP updates North platform
AMP has made enhancements to its North wrap platform, including:

  • Simplified pricing
  • Platform administration and investment fees on the North cash account removed
  • Improved adviser reporting on North Online

Company Updates

HESTA announces new group insurance provider
After a comprehensive review HESTA is making the move from CommInsure to AIA Australia, after six years. 

Regulatory Updates

Citigroup pays $50,000 infringement
Citigroup has paid a $50,000 penalty after it failed to comply with its obligations after a 2015 incident. The failure relates to a situation involving a client and what's known as an iceberg order.

ASIC extends Stronger Super start date
ASIC has provided an update regarding start dates for key Stronger Super reforms, in particular choice products and portfolio holdings reporting requirements. The product dashboard requirements are to be deferred for two years, 1 July 2019 and 31 December 2019 respectively. Additionally previous relief for superannuation fund in regards to the product dashboard being on a website has been extended. 

Group Underwriters & Managers (GUM) ASFL cancelled
GUM failed to lodge financial statements and auditor reports, and as a result has had their Australian financial services licence cancelled. 

Synergy pays penalty for misleading advertising
Synergy Financial Markets, an equities and derivatives trader, has been issued an infringement notice for false or misleading statements on its website. ASIC believed statements on Synergy's website regarding what clients were to pay were false or misleading. Synergy has since removed the text and paid a $10,800 penalty.