WEEKLY WRAP: TAL bucks industry trend – solid full year result

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

TAL bucks industry trend – solid full year result

Australia’s leading life insurer, TAL, has bucked the trend in the life industry of weaker earnings results to report a growth in underlying profit to the year ending 31 March 2013.

Results released by TAL’s ultimate Japanese parent, Dai-ichi Life, show that TAL’s underlying profit increased by 14% to $123m, after removing the effect of non-cash items such as amortisation and changes in discount rates.

The business’s annual net profit after tax result was $91m. This figure was down slightly from $93m in the year to 31 March 2012, due largely to non-cash changes in discount rates.

TAL’s embedded value grew by 10% to $1.762b, while its in-force premiums rose 13.4% to $1.579b.

TAL Group CEO and Managing Director Jim Minto said the result showed TAL’s resilience in a market where competitors have reported lower life insurance profits than had been assumed and also flagged other challenges.

Premier association gets 23 new members

Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the premier association of financial professionals Australia chairperson Ross Hultgren has announced that the membership base of the international financial services professional association grew by 23 new members this year.

Hultgren was particularly pleased that almost half the new members were women and acknowledged that this was an excellent sign for the future health of the financial advice sector of the industry.

In welcoming and congratulating the new MDRT Australia members, Hultgren said their prospects for a long and successful career in the industry would be significantly enhanced as membership offered them access to the immense collective resources, knowledge and expertise that is gathered from across the globe by the organisation’s international head office located in the USA.

“The commercial and personal benefits offered to MDRT members are truly unique and for new members especially, it provides them a solid foundation that will be reflected in long term successful financial services careers and industry standing,” said Hultgren.

PRODUCTS

Colonial First State adds new investment options to FirstChoice

Colonial First State has announced five new investment options on Australia’s largest investment platform, FirstChoice, providing investors with greater access to growth opportunities in Australian and global markets.

Colonial First State General Manager Product & Investments, Peter Chun, said: “These new investment options to the FirstChoice and FirstChoice Wholesale platforms are part of our ongoing development program, providing investors with more choice and growth opportunities in their portfolio mix.

“We remain committed to enhancing our FirstChoice platform and providing more value to advisers and clients along with greater access to market leading investment products,” he said.

Effective from 11 June 2013, new investment choices on the FirstChoice platform include:

  • PIMCO Global Bond
  • Acadian Global Managed Volatility Equity
  • Colonial First State Global Resources Tactical
  • Antares Elite Opportunities
  • Altrinsic Global Equity

Macquarie announces the launch of its Little Black Book app for Android devices

Macquarie’s technical specialist team, MAStech, has announced its free-to-download, Little Black Book app (application for smart-phone or mobile devices) for financial services professionals, including advisers, accountants and mortgage brokers, is now available for Android-based devices.

The Little Black Book Apple iOS version of the app has been downloaded 20,000 times since October 2012 and is a technical guide containing important taxation, superannuation and social security facts and figures regularly required by financial services professionals.

The current version includes the latest age pension and aged care rates and thresholds that came into effect on 20 March 2013. The app is updated each year on 20 March, 1 July and 20 September to coincide with the updates to rates and thresholds.

Bravura Solutions' administration systems are SuperStream ready

Bravura Solutions Limited (Bravura), a leading global supplier of transfer agency, wealth management & life insurance software applications and professional services, is pleased to announce that its superannuation systems now address the upcoming SuperStream legislation, completing another piece of the compliance puzzle as superannuation funds prepare for the July 2013 implementation deadline.

Jason Tong, chief operating officer, Bravura Solutions said: “We are pleased to assist our clients with SuperStream readiness. Continuous regulatory updates are fundamental to our superannuation offering. We understand the operational risk that regulatory reform poses for funds, and seek to help alleviate this burden by assisting our clients in maintaining systems compliance.

Bravura’s next generation administration platform, Sonata, and its heritage superannuation administration solutions have all been enhanced to facilitate the new SuperStream legislative requirements. A compliant superannuation administration system used in conjunction with a workflow and messaging solution is essential to ensure overall preparedness and adherence to the new regime.

Tyndall AM to open concentrated fund for retail investors

Tyndall AM is to open its successful Tyndall Australian Share Concentrated Fund to the retail market.

The fund has been available to institutional investors and professional investors since 2010 and is one of the top three performing Australian share funds.  The strategy underpinning it has a 15-year track record and was originally developed by Tyndall for institutional investor mandates.

Matt Russell, head of sales and marketing at Tyndall AM, said that the decision was made to offer the fund to the retail market because of strong investor demand for benchmark unaware funds with a yield bias.

“With investors returning to equity markets, this is the ideal time to offer our very successful concentrated share strategy to the retail market.

“We believe the fund will meet the increasing demand from retail investors for a fund that has a total return focus, which means we invest in stocks that offer the opportunity for capital growth as well as for yield.

APPOINTMENTS

Suncorp advice appoints Michael Frawley as QLD practice development manager

Suncorp Advice has appointed Michael Frawley as practice development manager for Suncorp’s self-employed advisory channel in Queensland.

Frawley’s appointment supports Suncorp Advice’s strategy to equip its authorised representatives in Qld with the tools and services advisers need to deliver quality advice to their clients.

Based in Brisbane, Frawley is responsible for partnering with Suncorp-licensed advisers in Qld who are focused on growing their business, and introducing best practice and procedures to improve the quality of advice they provide.

Specifically, he will partner with Suncorp authorised agents to help them grow their practice revenue, coach financial planners to maintain professional standards and competencies in providing advice, and help those planners implement changes to their business model around fee-for-service and FOFA requirements. He brings more than 12 years of financial planning experience to Suncorp Advice.

Guardian advice appoints Steve Coyle state manager for WA and SA 

Life risk specialist dealer group Guardian Advice has appointed Steve Coyle as State Manager for Western Australia and South Australia.

Based in Perth, Coyle will be responsible for growing and managing Guardian’s network in WA/SA, working closely with Guardian’s equity partner business in WA and SA, and continuing to manage Guardian’s succession planning strategy in that region.

The appointment aligns with Guardian’s strategy to grow its adviser numbers to more than 300 by 2016.

Coyle joins Guardian Advice after a distinguished career most recently within NAB/MLC and AMP. He is a respected member of the West and South Australian financial planning community and brings to Guardian more than 27 years of experience, working with entrepreneurial financial advisers and growing dealer groups through adviser recruitment.

Guardian Advice head Simon Harris said: “I’m delighted to welcome Steve to Guardian. He is passionate about advice and the role that quality advice plays in the community. I am confident Steve will be an incredible asset to our business.”

EVENTS

AFA Mentoring Program

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has enhanced its long-running mentoring program and will roll it out across the country later this month in a series of events designed to encourage financial advisers to work together to educate and encourage each other.

Fraser Jack, AFA National GenXt Chair, said the AFA’s revitalised mentoring program will not only accelerate the professional journey of GenXt advisers, but will also reinvigorate and motivate more experienced advisers.

“The main aim of the program is to bridge the gap between GenXt and more experienced advisers, in order to encourage all advisers to share ways in which they can provide quality advice to their clients,” Jack said.  “Advisers are currently providing financial advice to two in 10 Australians – this simply isn’t enough. If we want to see more Australians accessing advice, we have to work together to come up with really great strategies and highly relevant approaches.”

The AFA's Mentoring Program will launch in cities across Australia on 30 May. Visit www.afa.asn.au/events to secure your place.

AFA launches the Inspire experience

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) is hosting three high profile events in June this year to formally launch the ‘Inspire’ initiative to help females find their voice and encourage them to be pro-active in seeking support within the financial services industry.

AFA Inspire Chair, Deborah Kent, said the response to the announcement in March this year by the AFA of the formation of the Inspire initiative has proved that women in the industry are actively seeking support networks outside the workplace. “In the first two weeks, the AFA Inspire LinkedIn group had over 200 members – so it’s clear the initiative is resonating within our industry,” she said.

AFA Inspire will enable women to access tools to help them succeed no matter what stage their development and career is at, or what area of financial advice they work in.

Kent said the challenges women face in the industry extend beyond the workplace and the AFA Inspire program will help them network with other women, even clients, who may be facing the same obstacles. “Women have different needs to men,” she said. “Creating a community where the needs of women are met is most important and the AFA has done this through the creation of the AFA Inspire initiative.”

The AFA Inspire launch will be held in Brisbane, than Melbourne and Sydney from 17-19 June. Seats are limited, to book your place, please visit www.afa.asn.au/events.

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