WEEKLY WRAP: Former planner appears in court

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Former planner appears in court on 10 offences

Kevin Maxwell George Whitting, of Rosebud, Victoria, has appeared in the Dromana Magistrates Court charged with 10 offences following an ASIC investigation.

ASIC alleges the former financial adviser provided inappropriate advice to five investors who collectively invested over $684,000 in the Blue Diamond Deposits Trust No. 1 (BDT) between September 2008 and January 2009. Whitting faces a further five charges of providing false and misleading statements to three of the five investors.

At the time of the offences, Whitting was an authorised representative of Kedesco Pty Ltd, an Australian financial services licensee, and was employed by Shelbourne Financial Services Pty Ltd which operated a financial services practice out of Mornington, Victoria.

Whitting was not required to enter a plea and is to appear again in the Dromana Magistrates Court on 13 June 2013.

ETF usage booms within SMA model portfolios

OneVue’s exchange traded fund (ETF) holdings on its unified managed account (UMA) platform have tripled in nine months to date, the group has revealed. OneVue chief executive of strategic relationships Brett Marsh said ETFs are a low cost investment option, provide access to a number of asset classes and are readily available on the Australian Stock Exchange, which is a popular access point for both self-directed and adviser-assisted investors.

“ETFs across the board are commonly a directly held investment type, but an interesting trend we’re seeing via our OneVue UMA platform holdings is that more than half are now being held within separately managed account (SMA) model portfolios,” Marsh said.

“The growth in ETFs that we have experienced at OneVue since July last year has largely been on the back of the increase in ETFs that are taken up in SMAs.”

Marsh said while numerous wrap and platform providers offer ETFs, OneVue is one of the few that offers SMA model portfolios and which enables investors to use ETFs as an investment within SMA model portfolios.

“ETFs give investors exposure to asset classes outside Australian equities such as listed property, international equities, commodities and fixed interest.”

Provisio releases Member-to-Adviser Handover to increase web member engagement

Scaled advice specialist Provisio Technologies has released a ‘handover’ capability that allows members to engage directly with an adviser when using their fund’s online optimisation tools.

A client can start their advice journey with an online tool, and if they need assistance with the strategy, they can click a button to engage with a fund adviser. The adviser can load the member’s exact strategy with a single click, contact the member, and refine the strategy to achieve a recommendation.

Provisio is currently implementing the handover technology with three major industry funds, and is discussing the solution with retail advisers, dealer groups and institutional advice networks.

Jye Tucker, chief technology officer and a director at Provisio, says the ability to contact an adviser will increase advice implementation rates. “Advice is still a very personal service. As online calculators continue to be replaced with self-service advice tools, the ability to speak with an adviser about your strategy is more important than ever.

Former GPT head joins leading property manager

Centuria Capital’s (ASX:CNI) property funds management subsidiary, Centuria Property Funds, announced the appointment of Victor Georos as senior portfolio manager.

Georos brings over 25 years’ experience to the team, with significant capabilities gained from his 16-year tenure at The GPT Group, where he held various senior positions including deputy head of development, head of industrial & business parks and portfolio manager.

In his role at Centuria, Victor will oversee the management of Centuria’s assets, including the development and implementation of strategies to maximise returns. He will be reporting to David Govey, head of assets.

Colonial First State celebrates milestone

Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM) has celebrated a key milestone with the five year anniversary of the Colonial First State Wholesale Equity Income Fund (the Fund) in Australia.

Despite challenging market conditions since its launch in 2008, the Equity Income strategy has demonstrated significantly lower volatility than the S&P/ASX 100 Index over a full market cycle, including the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and a number of subsequent bull market rallies.

Managed by co-portfolio managers, Rudi Minbatiwala and Jason Moodie, the fund seeks to provide a balance between three critical investor needs: income requirement, volatility management and total returns.

Senior Portfolio Manager, Rudi Minbatiwala said since inception the Fund has provided investors with a good level of income whilst generating a total return greater than that of the market.

“As well as exhibiting a lower level of volatility than the Australian share market over the past five years, the Fund has also achieved its income objectives of returning at least 2.5% above the dividend yield of the S&P/ASX 100 Index over a rolling three year period. The Fund has also outperformed the market over the past five years, rising in value by 7.27%pa against a return of 3.64%pa from the S&P/ASX 100 Accumulation Index.”

EQT expands private wealth services business

As part of its strategy to further strengthen its private wealth services business, Equity Trustees Limited (EQT) has created the role of national manager – Advice and Personal Services, recruiting Julie Foster into the position.

In this new role, Foster will be responsible for all EQT’s advice services including its aged care advisory and placement businesses, corporate superannuation advice, and personal wealth management.

She has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector, working in distribution and marketing roles at organisations including TOWER Australia, Suncorp, CBA and Colonial Limited. Most recently, Foster ran a business consulting and change management company for the financial services industry, 4Quadrant.

BlackRock expands institutional team

BlackRock, the leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide, has announced the appointment of Jason Collins as head of institutional client business, Australia and Prema Basoor as director, institutional client business.

Collins will commence his role on 22 April and will report to Justin Arter, country head, BlackRock Australia. Basoor will commence her role on 17 April and will report to Collins.  

Collins, who will be based in the Sydney office, will be responsible for overseeing and leading BlackRock Australia’s institutional client business.  He joins BlackRock from Ascalon Capital Managers and brings 15 years’ experience in funds management and investment banking.  At Ascalon, Collins was chief operating officer of the Ascalon group and headed up the Australian business.  

Basoor, who will be based in the Melbourne office, will be responsible for BlackRock Australia’s Melbourne-based institutional clients.  She joins BlackRock from Fidelity Worldwide Investment where she worked as associate director - Institutional Business for the past three years.