WEEKLY WRAP: EQT appoints interim CEO

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Colonial First State relaunches enhanced regulatory reforms website

In response to the changes impacting the financial advice industry, Colonial First State has relaunched its regulatory reforms website for advisers.

Colonial First State’s Executive General Manager, Linda Elkins, said: “We initially launched our site 18 months ago as a tool to keep advisers updated on the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) and Stronger Super reforms.  With the finalisation of further legislation and the release of some regulatory guidance, we now have more clarity and are able to provide our advisers with much more information than we were 18 months ago.” 

The ‘Understanding Regulatory Reforms’ website has been enhanced to include the following key information:

  • An overview of the FOFA reforms impacting Colonial First State’s business: opt-in; fee disclosure; best interest duty; ban on conflicted remuneration; and soft dollar remuneration;
  • An overview of the Stronger Super reforms and impacts: MySuper; SuperStream; SMSFs and Governance;
  • Adviser obligations;  
  • Colonial First State’s product response and how advisers will be supported;
  • Industry news and updates including updates from Colonial First State’s FirstTech team. 

Elkins added: “Over the coming months we will be in continuous dialogue with our advisers as they seek further clarity on what the reforms mean and how we will be supporting them through the changes. Our site is an important tool in delivering such information.”

 EQT appoints interim CIO

Listed financial services company Equity Trustees Limited (EQT) has appointed George Boubouras as interim chief investment officer.

The appointment is on an interim basis pending the outcome of EQT’s takeover offer for The Trust Company (TCU).

Boubouras joins EQT from UBS Wealth Management where he was head of investment strategy and consulting, responsible for research & investments across all asset classes.

Prior to this, Mr Boubouras was with Macquarie Bank and he has also worked with HSBC Asset Management, Challenger Financial Services Group, and Westpac as well as NSW Treasury.

SuperGuardian launches new SMSF offering to revolutionise the Self-Directed Investor space

The Adelaide-based SMSF administrator SuperGuardian has launched a second SMSF offering designed to capture the exponential growth in the self-directed investor space.

Olivia Long, CEO of SuperGuardian, one of Australia’s largest fully independent SMSF administrators with nearly 2000 SMSFs, says: “We are excited to offer a comprehensive product that will boast a pricing structure to rival the cheapest provider in the market.

“Called Xpress Super, it will provide an SMSF service to rival the top end of the market with fees positioned at the lower end; it will offer free SMSF establishment, no fees in the first year, an annual $799 fee thereafter, daily online reporting and one-stop shop trading, accounts and compliance.

“By developing a business model where a default trading platform, cash hub and term deposit service can integrate seamlessly, you create significant efficiency gains that can be passed on to the end client by way of extremely competitive fees,” says Olivia Long.

Launch of Australian Tactical Allocation ETF model portfolio:

AltaVista research announced the launch of its Australian Tactical Allocation ETF only model portfolio. This now adds to the pre-existing Global Tactical Allocation model already offered and made available through alternate customised solutions.

AltaVista is a fully independent researcher with no issuer or selection bias.  It says that this means it can construct research-driven ETF portfolios from the full available issuer and product universe.  Greater selection potential provides for better portfolio outcomes in terms of desired underlying exposures and ultimately, client performance outcomes.

It’s well accepted that ETF model portfolios can certainly deliver greater portfolio transparency at significantly lower costs, according to AltaVista.  It says that they serve very well as a core exposure (to both equities and fixed interest) in clients’ portfolios.

 “Our approach to constructing ETF model portfolios is not specifically different to that of any asset manager in that we are rules-based and research-driven.  But that is really where the similarities end.  We differ from the mainstream in that we only use ETFs, re-balance monthly, do not hold any active cash positions and we utilise our own proprietary fundamental and forward-looking research.”

Former SMSF adviser sentenced

Craig Gerard Dangar, a former self-managed superannuation adviser, was sentenced on Friday at Downing Centre Local Court after pleading guilty to one count of lodging a false statement with ASIC.

Dangar was convicted and released subject to a recognizance order, without security, and requiring him to be of good behaviour for 18 months.

An ASIC investigation into Dangar’s conduct between January 2004 and September 2007 led to three charges being laid by ASIC. In July 2012 Dangar pleaded guilty to falsely claiming in a document lodged with ASIC, to being a director of SMSF Consulting Pty Ltd. In February 2013 Dangar received concurrent suspended sentences of 18 months imprisonment in relation to his charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted these matters.

Guardian advice boosts strength with five new appointments

Guardian Advice announced today the risk specialist dealer group has boosted the strength of its team with the appointment of five new people.

Mark Kevin has been appointed NSW/ACT state manager. His charter is to develop and enable advice businesses to offer superior financial advice and risk services to targeted client segments. He brings broad experience in managing an equity partnership model -a key strategic area Guardian is focusing on over the next 12 months.

Brent Bevan, research analyst – Bevan is Guardian’s Sydney-based investment analyst, with responsibilities including Guardian’s Approved Product List, providing technical and strategic guidance, and research thought leadership across the Suncorp, Guardian and Standard Pacific advice businesses.

Jennifer O’Brien, NSW/ACT practice support officer – In this role, O’Brien is responsible for relationship management and managing the administration and operations of Guardian’s NSW/ACT region. This includes on-boarding and induction of new advisers to Guardian. O’Brien joins Guardian from the Suncorp Group’s Standard Pacific business where she was a Client Services Officer. Her previous experience includes working as a Graduation Officer at the University of Technology, Sydney, training with the NSW Police Academy, and in Administration at South Sydney Rugby League Club.

Abby Fields, event & communications specialist – Fields manages Guardian’s events calendar and event agendas across the states to ensure a consistent approach for advisers and the delivery of Guardian’s events, including the annual National Conference, Masterclass and Future Business Leaders, state conferences and FOFA workshops. She also has carriage of adviser communications including the fortnightly publication, The Adviser.

Theodora Terzis, COIN technology specialist, Learning & Development – Terzis has responsibility for designing, facilitating and delivering COIN technology training to advisers and their support staff. Specifically, she assists practices and advisers with COIN related processes, tools and templates, advises on change management solutions, assesses training needs and improves the COIN training offer, and provides advisers with support during the on-boarding process.

State Super Financial Services partners with Mercer for investment success

State Super Financial Services (SSFS) has appointed Mercer as their new asset consultant. The partnership will see Mercer working with the fund to further enhance investment performance, deliver innovation through its diversified funds and continue to create optimal solutions for retiree members.

Damian Graham, CIO of SSFS said Mercer’s global resources and specialist model will provide the perfect extension to the SSFS in-house team.

“Mercer’s specialist knowledge across a broad range of areas will complement our existing capabilities and we are confident Mercer can deliver additional specialist services when and where required to ensure the best investment outcomes for our investors,” said Graham.

Mercer Partner, Graeme Mather, said Mercer’s deep, specialist expertise complements an experienced investment management team at SSFS and the partnership is a great cultural fit between the two organisations.

 “Fifteen of the 20 largest institutional investors in Australia now work with Mercer’s Investments business in some way; whether accessing our global manager research and asset class expertise, asset allocation advice, or seeking our help to manage investment operational or ESG risks.”

Bravura Solutions makes its mark with sale of Babel as Australia’s first ‘out-of-the-box’ SuperStream solution

Bravura Solutions Limited (Bravura) announced a five-year agreement with an existing government superannuation client, for the use of Bravura’s Babel software as a SuperStream messaging compliance solution.

Bravura says Babel is the only SuperStream messaging solution available in Australia that provides ‘out-of-the-box’ SuperStream compliance with full straight-through-processing. Bravura’s Babel software enables full compliance with the new SuperStream regulations, which will require funds to exchange information electronically in industry-standard formats (ebMS/XBRL) by a 1 July 2013 deadline.

John Burke, head of strategic accounts at Bravura Solutions said: “We are delighted to assist our client to become one of the first funds in the country to comply with the new SuperStream regulations.

“Babel will not only provide ‘day-one-compliance’ but also establishes a foundation for migration of business-to-business and business-to-government reporting to the new ebMS/XBRL messaging standard over time”.

Bravura named technology provider of the year

Bravura has also scooped the winning title in the ‘technology provider of the year (rest of world)’ category at the annual FStech Awards 2013. Recognising excellence and innovation in the field of financial technology, the event, now in its thirteenth year, was held last week in London, UK.

The accolade celebrates providers who have had a successful year serving the financial sector. Bravura topped the category for its transfer agency, wealth management and life insurance software, which supports over 150 global client installations, as well as its steady growth and robust results over the past financial year.

Tony Klim, CEO of Bravura said: “We are proud to be recognised in these long-established industry awards. It further demonstrates our commitment to providing solutions that drive value for our clients, underpinned by extensive technology and financial services expertise.”

Challenger appoints general manager

Annuity provider and fund manager Challenger Limited has appointed Michael Clarke as its new General Manager, Institutional Business Development and Strategic Alliances.

Challenger’s Chief Executive of Distribution, Product and Marketing, Paul Rogan, said “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured someone with Michael’s deep industry knowledge and investment experience. In the year to 31 March we generated more than $6 billion in institutional flows and look forward to growing this figure over the next twelve months”.

Reporting directly to Rogan, Clarke will have primary responsibility for driving Challenger’s domestic and international institutional growth strategy across the annuities business as well as the Fidante Partners boutique funds management business. Challenger’s active institutional relationships and alliances include those with QSuper, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Mercer, Australian Super, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and HESTA.

Clarke was most recently with Russell Investments where he was Managing Director, Institutional. Prior to Russell, Clarke held the role of Director, International for AMP Capital Investors and before that was Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs JB Were Asset Management

“Challenger has been one of the more dynamic wealth managers in recent years and I’m looking forward to being part of their future growth”, said Clarke.