WEEKLY WRAP: PEOPLE, PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES: Macquarie helps advisers work faster

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Macquarie helps advisers work faster with new online cash applications

Macquarie has launched a new online application process with electronic verification to help advisers open cash accounts for their clients more quickly.

The new service allows advisers to work faster and more efficiently by securely submitting applications for Macquarie Cash Management Accounts and Macquarie Bank Term Deposits through Macquarie Access.

By allowing clients to authorise applications online and using electronic verification to identify clients, the process helps advisers to streamline the administration involved in opening new accounts. It also allows advisers to take more control by tracking the application status online through Macquarie Access.

The new application process can be used to open individual, joint, company, SMSF and trustee accounts, and helps clients to start using their accounts sooner, by instantly generating account numbers. This allows clients to deposit funds into their account straight away.

HESTA announces MySuper approval and lower fees

HESTA, the leading industry fund for health and community services, today announced it has approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to launch a MySuper option from 1 July 2013.

Core Pool - HESTA’s high-performing default option - is among the first super options in the country to receive MySuper endorsement.

As part of the Government’s Stronger Super reforms, MySuper options must be simple and offer investors a single, diversified investment strategy for a low fee.

"As Core Pool - with its long-term top quartile returns - already meets these criteria, we did not need to develop a new product," HESTA CEO Anne-Marie Corboy said.

"It is pleasing that Core Pool received approval so quickly, as it is further confirmation for our members and employers that HESTA remains a leading fund.

AustralianSuper tops $60bn after AGEST merger

AustralianSuper has completed the merger with AGEST Super, which has boosted the Fund to over two million members and over $60bn in members’ funds under management.

AustralianSuper's funds under management have tripled since the Fund was formed, from the merger of STA and ARF, six and a half years ago.

Commenting on the Fund’s growth, Paul Schroder, AustralianSuper’s General Manager Growth, said “AustralianSuper is committed to growing and harnessing the benefits of our size to provide better outcomes for our members.”

The transfer of AGEST’s $5.1bn in assets was completed in three days. The transfer involved assets in 24 investment options with over 570 individual lines of investments held in 22 countries around the globe.

The merger has seen AustralianSuper set up a Public Sector division specifically catering for members employed in that sector.

“The establishment of the Public Sector division is recognition of the size and strength of that sector. It also allows us to shape our offer to people working in these areas, particularly in the area of insurance,” Mr Schroder said.

AdviserLogic slashes data fee

Financial advisory software specialist, AdviserLogic has completely removed its excess data fee for document uploads for its users.

Managing Director, Gundeep Sidhu says “With the recent improvements we have made in our hosting arrangements, it has become possible for us to now offer unlimited document uploads to the client Document Vaults at no additional charge.”

The move means the practices that were previously hosting documents locally, can now benefit from AdviserLogic’s web-based, secure document storage facility.

It is expected that 1000s of gigabytes of pdf, word and excel files will be moved into AdviserLogic’s client Document Vaults to take advantage of the new pricing structure.

One of the benefits of holding documents in this structure is that they can now be made available to mutual professional advisers or the clients themselves.  Additionally, AdviserLogic users will benefit from the fact that upon uploading their documents, the data will be instantaneously encrypted and backed up to several data centres.  This represents an improved standard of security and back-up, than locally stored client documents.

Wingate appoints executive director

Boutique international equities manager Wingate Asset Management has appointed Louise McIlwraith as executive director.

In the newly created position, Ms McIlwraith will have overall responsibility for general business management at Wingate, including business development and client and investor relations, playing a key role in promoting Wingate and building strong relationships with a range of stakeholders. In these areas, she will work closely with Wingate’s joint venture partner, Australian Unity Investments.

Ms McIlwraith has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, most recently with Perpetual where she was general manager – sales performance and operations.  She has also worked at BGI (now known as Blackrock) and Prudential in senior client relationship and business development roles, with a particular focus on training and education.

Ms McIlwraith has a diploma in financial markets from the Securities Institute of Australia and a diploma of teaching from the Victoria University.  She is a member of the Financial Planning Association and an affiliate of the Securities Institute of Australia.

Australian Ethical announces new board member

 Australian Ethical Investment Limited today announced that Kate Greenhill FCA has been appointed to the board as a non-executive director.

Kate will bring over 18 years of executive experience to Australian Ethical. As a former Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kate has extensive knowledge of finance and risk and has provided assurance and advisory services to clients in the financial services industries of both Australia and the UK.

Kate also contributes to the wider community and is currently a board director and member of the finance committee for a not for profit organisation.

Current Chair André Morony said, “Kate will be another strong addition to the Australian Ethical board along with Mara Bun and Tony Cole who were recently appointed. She has a diverse range of valuable experience and we welcome her appointment”.

SuperSeeker upgrade makes it easier to consolidate super

The popular online tool SuperSeeker has been improved to allow people to see and do more with their super.

Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten today announced an upgrade to the free SuperSeeker tool, which helps people find lost super and manage their super accounts online.

As well as allowing people to request the transfer of their super accounts online, SuperSeeker will now let them transfer online any super money held by the ATO to a super fund of their choice.

“SuperSeeker can help people find their lost money so they can enjoy it in their retirement,” Mr Shorten said.

“We know there is over $17 billion in lost super and around 3.4 million lost super accounts in Australia, with an average value of $4,800 per super account.”

People are encouraged to register and create a secure login to make the most of the online services available.

ipac strengthens business with new appointments

ipac has announced three new General Managers to its state based advice businesses, appointing Eric Gibson, Nick Brinkworth and Craig Weber as General Managers for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria respectively.

The appointments strengthen ipac’s leadership team following the decision to merge the ipac and Tynan Mackenzie businesses late last year. The General Manager roles are responsible for leading the growth strategy for their region and providing primary support for advisers and equity partners.

Tim Steele, Managing Director ipac, said the appointments demonstrated the benefit of increased scale presented by the merger with Tynan Mackenzie and reflected ipac’s commitment to providing sound financial advice to help clients achieve their life goals.

“ipac is committed to delivering quality financial advice across our expanded network and these roles will be pivotal in ensuring we continue to provide support for our advisers and a strong advice proposition for our clients.” 

“All three of our General Managers bring significant industry experience, and with their passion for financial advice, will provide instrumental leadership in their respective states.”

Leading life insurer AIA announces another record set of results

AIA Group Limited has delivered record value of new business of US$1,188 million for the year ended 30 November 2012, across the 16 markets in which the independent life insurer operates in Asia-Pacific. 

Commenting on the record results, AIA Australia CEO, Peter Crewe, said: "AIA Australia continues to support AIA Group's strong results and record performance as AIA leverages its leadership position in the world's fastest-growing insurance markets. These results reinforce AIA's strength in Australia and across Asia-Pacific, as the leading pan Asian, independent life insurer." 

AIA Group continues to achieve record new business growth:

 • 27 per cent growth in VONB to US$1,188 million 

• VONB margin of 43.6 per cent, up 6.4 pps

• 17 per cent underlying increase in annualised new premium (ANP) to US$2,696 million 

• Solvency ratio of 353 per cent 

• Net profit up 89 per cent to US$3,019 million 

Australian Ethical announces profit increase of 71%

Australian Ethical Investment Limited today announced a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $0.487 million for the 6 months to 31 December 2012 (FY13). This represents an increase of 71% over the prior corresponding period.

Commenting on the result, Phil Vernon, Managing Director of Australian Ethical said, “We have been working hard over the past few years to get the business on a sound commercial footing by improving our products, making our fees more competitive and reducing our costs. The business is now well placed to benefit from any uplift in equity markets.”

Revenues have been positively impacted by improvements in equity markets but have also absorbed numerous fee reductions. Expenses were positively impacted by a reduction in fixed staff costs although these were partly offset by increased variable outsourced provider costs.

“Our operational efficiency has increased significantly over the past few years. Investments in new systems and improvements in processes have allowed us to reduce our staff numbers from 46 to 34. We are also experiencing near record funds under management despite equity markets still being significantly lower than their peak” said Vernon.

“Greater brand awareness and further improvement in client acquisition and conversion processes have also led to record new clients taken on in January and February this year which is a positive sign for the future.”

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