Weekly wrap…New chair for MLC Community Foundation

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The MLC Community Foundation has appointed Lara Bourguignon as its new Chair taking effect from 1 April 2014.
Established in 2008 as part of MLC, the wealth management arm of NAB, the Foundation provides tangible support to Australian communities by investing in key areas of need and employee interest and, in particular, improving the mental health of Australians.
NAB Wealth Group Executive Andrew Hagger welcomed the appointment stating Bourguignon brings a unique set of skills to the role.
“In her role as General Manager of MLC Group Insurance, Lara’s first-hand exposure to the effects of mental illness on Australian workers made her a natural choice for the Foundation,” he said.  “With her strong leadership skills and personal passion for social impact, I am confident Lara will further the MLC Community Foundation’s strategic priorities.”

Changes need to be made to Australia’s financial system to help address the nation’s debt challenge, increase national savings and encourage personal responsibility, the Friendly Societies of Australia (FSA) said.
The FSA lodged its submission to the Financial System Inquiry on behalf of Friendly Societies across Australia that help people plan for future life-events through savings, investment and insurance products. FSA President Matt Walsh said the recommendations in the submission were consistent with the Federal Treasurer’s approach to end the age of entitlement. “Our recommendations respond to the challenges of a structural deficit and will help manage the growing reliance on government funded social welfare,” Walsh said.

NYSE listed, Affiliated Managers Group (AMG) has announced the completion of its investment in SouthernSun Asset Management (SouthernSun).
As part of the transaction, SouthernSun’s senior professionals have agreed to long-term commitments with the firm, and the SouthernSun funds have become part of AMG Funds, the Company’s U.S. retail distribution business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. SouthernSun was founded in 1989 and manages long-term, concentrated portfolios through a fundamental, research-intensive investment process. The firm offers industry-leading U.S. small- and mid-cap strategies and a recently launched global investment strategy. As of December 31, 2013, SouthernSun’s U.S. institutional strategies rated in the top decile of their respective categories for the trailing three-, five- and ten-year periods, according to eVestment.
 
Macquarie Life is supporting the National Stroke Foundation to raise awareness of stroke risk through sponsorship of the Stroke Solidarity String across Australia.
The Stroke Solidarity String is an indigo string worn on the wrist, symbolising the connection between all people touched by stroke, the flow of blood and the healthy function of the brain and body. To mark the launch of the Stroke Solidarity String on Wednesday 2 April, the National Stroke Foundation is also holding Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check at sites around Australia.
As part of the campaign, the National Stroke Foundation and Macquarie Life are calling on advisers to help their clients understand stroke risk and the importance of taking steps to be financially protected.

Plato is working with Milliman to overcome the problems of sequencing and longevity risk by developing risk management strategies that will aim to enable investors to maintain higher weightings in growth assets whilst providing tail risk management in times of financial crises like the global financial crisis (“GFC”)
The GFC highlighted the limitations of traditional balanced funds. As a response many superannuation funds are developing “lifecycle” strategies which progressively de-risk investments as members approach retirement. Unfortunately for many superannuants, reducing sequencing risk in this way simply increases longevity risk, and investment projections show that fund members and investors cannot afford to accept the lower returns associated with less risky portfolios 
"The issues that impact retirees and how they should invest are substantially different from those of investors focused on the accumulation of wealth. Our focus on after tax investment approaches was the first step in acknowledging these issues." said Dr Don Hamson, founder and managing director of Plato Investment Management
 
The chairman of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited John Morschel has announced that John (JT) Macfarlane would join the ANZ Board on 22 May 2014 following a decision by Peter Hay to retire.
Mr Macfarlane is one of Australia’s most experienced international bankers. Most recently he was chairman and CEO of Deutsche Bank Australia and New Zealand. Previously at Deutsche Bank he was a member of the global banking executive committee and co-chair of the Asia Pacific executive management committee. Macfarlane also served as chief country officer of Deutsche Bank Group in Japan and as CEO of Bankers Trust in New Zealand.
 
Neuberger Berman has announced that Erik Knutzen will join the firm as multi-asset class chief investment officer.
Knutzen joins to deepen the many multi-asset class strategic partnerships Neuberger Berman has with some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutional investors.  Neuberger Berman has experience working with clients who manage significant funds in-house. These clients benefit from the knowledge transfer and customized investment solutions of a multi-asset class strategic partnership. Current clients of this type range from sovereign wealth funds to several leading U.S. public and corporate pension plans.

NGS Super has announced a rebranded which is focused on highlighting the Fund’s dedication to safeguarding the financial security of those who work hard to serve others.
The re-brand includes the launch of a new logo, new website, refreshed advertising and direct member communication and a smartphone application. NGS believes in the importance of evolving their product offerings, tools and experiences in order to keep members engaged.  “While established funds are sometimes reluctant to change their branding, NGS Super believes it can lead to an improved member experience,” Anthony Rodwell-Ball, NGS Super's CEO, said.

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