WEEKLY WRAP: New cloud-based SMSF administration platform

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Wealthtrac launches cloud-based SMSF administration platform 

Independent wealth product distributor Wealthtrac launched a new cloud-based SMSF platform that brings together all SMSF administration and reporting needs into one centralised hub.

Wealthtrac Managing Director and CEO, Matthew Johnson, said the launch is the next step in Wealthtrac’s strategy to provide a more comprehensive range of products and services that help independent advisers more efficiently manage their businesses.

 “With most SMSF solutions, advisers and trustees need a range of additional systems, including a reporting platform, an accounting system and often an IDPS to manage the investments.”

Johnson said the Wealthtrac SMSF platform offers:

  • Instant tax reporting, which enables advisers to optimise a client’s tax position throughout the year, instead of at year end when it is generally too late to fix a tax problem
  • An in-built compliance engine, which sends out alerts if a client breaches a super regulation allowing advisers to fully protect their clients 24/7
  • Wrap-style reporting tools, with mobile access, provide a range of online reports on current performance and transactions.

“Our single monthly fee starts at only $140, and we have no asset-based fees, no fee based on the number of investments, and we don’t charge extra to start a pension or commute funds.”

Paradice launches first retail fund

Paradice Investment Management has launched its first fund for Australian retail investors, the Paradice Global Small Mid Cap Fund.

Paradice has operated the underlying strategy since August 2010 in the institutional market where, as at 28 February 2013, it has posted 4.36% above its benchmark of 7.20% since inception. 

Initially the fund will be offered exclusively through Westpac’s advice and IFA channels and will be available through the BT and Asgard Wrap platforms. Equity Trustees Limited (EQT) has been appointed to act as responsible entity of the fund.  The fund has also already received a “Recommended” rating from a recent Lonsec review.

“Over the years we’ve been asked by retail investors to have products in the market to give them access to the performance we’ve delivered institutionally for the last 13 years,” said David Paradice, managing director and founder of Paradice Investment Management.  

“For a small firm likes ours whose focus is investment performance, we can’t afford to be everything to everyone nor introduce any distraction away from performance.”

Perpetual completes roll-out of portfolio wrap service

Perpetual Limited today announced it has completed the roll-out of the new enhanced portfolio wrap service in its Perpetual Private personal advisory business. The completion of the project, dubbed ICE (Improving the Client Experience), marks a step forward in the company’s Transformation 2015 program.

The move to a third party provision of portfolio and fiduciary administration services for clients of Perpetual Private was announced in October 2011. A first instalment in the project was the ahead-of-schedule launch of a superannuation wrap offer (Super Wrap) in April 2012.

Perpetual’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Geoff Lloyd, said “the decision to appoint an external administration partner and have instant access to increased scale, rather than incur significant and continued maintenance and development spend ourselves is entirely in line with our simplify objective.

“We also gain an advantage by discontinuing commoditised administration activities so that we can refocus on the provision of advice to our target client segments.”

The Perpetual Private portfolio wrap service holds a strong appeal for advisers, who will now have access to web-based scaled transactional capabilities. Productivity will be enhanced via integration with client relationship management systems and an intuitive front end, freeing up time for advisers to service their clients.

AMP SMSF appoints Peter Burgess to new role of head of policy & technical

AMP SMSF has added to its breadth of SMSF experts, appointing Peter Burgess to the new role of Head of Policy and Technical, commencing 10 April 2013.

Burgess, currently national technical director for the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA), will report to AMP SMSF director, business operations Craig Jameson.

Burgess will be responsible for interpreting SMSF legislation to inform the development of SMSF advice strategies and technical support materials for AMP’s aligned planner network.  He will also lead AMP’s SMSF policy development and represent AMP in SMSF industry groups.

AMP SMSF Managing Director Paul Sainsbury said AMP’s goal is to be the leading experts in SMSF and the high calibre of staff AMP SMSF has attracted will be fundamental in achieving this.

“I am delighted to have Peter on board.  He has a strong reputation in the industry and among trustees as an authority in SMSF policy and technical support.”

INVAST Securities Sets Sights on Australia as First Step in Global Expansion

One of Japan’s largest foreign exchange and CFD broker, INVAST Securities, is opening its first office external to Japan, choosing Sydney as the location from which to launch its global operations.

As the first step in the expansion, INVAST has recruited Brendan Gunn and Andrew Taylor as CEO and COO respectively.

CEO Brendan Gunn has more than six years in foreign exchange and CFD broking and was responsible for growing GFT Markets (Sydney) to become one of the largest CFD and Forex trading houses in Asia Pacific. Gunn will be responsible for growing the business locally and developing the model to take the business to other markets.

COO Andrew Taylor has in excess of 20 years’ experience, also most recently with GFT Markets. Taylor’s financial markets knowledge crosses borders and asset classes, with a strong focus on investment and debt management for both business and individuals. Taylor will be responsible for managing the business operations including staff recruitment, IT, compliance, dealing and product development.  

New service changes face of recruitment

Financial Wisdom practices can now access a discounted recruitment service that will help make it easier to bring new advisers and support staff into their businesses.

The new service draws on resources available to Financial Wisdom from across the Commonwealth Bank Group.

“We’re always looking at ways we can better-support our advisers to help them run their businesses more efficiently,” said Mark Ballantyne General Manager, Financial Wisdom.

“This service addresses feedback we’ve been hearing from practices that it’s been difficult to recruit quality staff,” Ballantyne said.

The new recruitment service includes:

  • a new external recruitment website known as ‘Careers at Financial Wisdom’
  • the automatic placement of vacancies on the Commonwealth Bank’s external and internal recruitment sites
  • the option to have their position automatically advertised on seek.com
  • the choice to have applications vetted and shortlisted by adviser recruitment experts within the Commonwealth Bank Group as well as access to candidates who have been unsuccessful in applying for similar roles in the practice’s geographic area, potentially increasing the pool of available candidates.

Islamic Finance Forum will give Australian companies opportunity to tap M-E capital

An Islamic investment forum being held in Melbourne on April 16 will give Australian companies the opportunity to directly tap capital from the Middle East and other Islamic countries.

The forum, being hosted by Amanie Advisors Australia, will be the first Islamic investment forum held in Australia, bringing together senior political, finance and industry figures, along with global investors, bankers and high ranking global Shariah scholars.

Mark Darras, who heads Amanie Advisors Australia, says: “This forum, which has the full support of the Victorian Government, gives Australian companies looking for capital the chance to put their case before some of the biggest investors in the Islamic world such as the Malaysian pension fund EPF Malaysia.

“Already there are two deals in the pipeline, and we believe this forum will open the door for other investment opportunities. In particular, we believe there will be strong interest in the Australian property sector.”

For more information on the conference and registration details, please visit www.aaiff2013.com

Certitude offers global investment opportunities to New Zealand investors 

Certitude Global Investments announced that from 4 March 2013, New Zealand retail and wholesale investors will be able to access a diverse range of international investment expertise through Certitude’s exclusive partnerships.

Certitude currently offers access to a variety of investment products in Australia through its global partners – Threadneedle Investments, Columbia Management, Marshall Wace Gavekal and Lighthouse Partners. This latest move means that New Zealand investors will also have access to the following funds through Certitude:

  • Threadneedle Global Equity Fund
  • Threadneedle Global Equity Income Fund (Unhedged)
  • Certitude Asian Opportunities Fund
  •  LHP Diversified Investments Fund
  •  LHP Global Long/Short Fund

Craig Mowll, CEO of Certitude, said:

“We have seen increasing interest in global investments from both Australian and New Zealand investors looking for value and performance. New Zealand investors are quick to understand that there are some great global opportunities out there and embrace the opportunity to take advantage of them.

Active retail investors looking offshore for growth opportunities

A survey by equity research company Skaffold has found active share investors believe offshore markets, particularly the US, will outperform the ASX over the coming 12 months.  And while more than half definitely want to increase their investment into international stocks, an inability to research individual stocks and a lack of knowledge about other markets is holding them back.

Launched by a group of stock selection specialists including Roger Montgomery, Russell Muldoon and Chris Batchelor, Skaffold is a time-saving online stock research application. Since 2011 the application has covered every ASX listed stock, but has now been expanded to include another 2000 companies listed on nine of the major global exchanges. 

Skaffold General Manager, Chris Batchelor, said demand for access to quality research on global shares was on the increase.  But that stock research needed to be cost-effective and easy to use if it was to serve its purpose.

“When designing Skaffold, we wanted to ensure it was easy to use for investors of every level, that’s why we have built it with gaming design and technology in mind.    Since our launch last year, we have witnessed strong demand from investors who are making stock selection decisions for themselves or their clients.  This includes SMSF investors, financial advisers, private as well as institutional investors,” he said.  

“The investors we have talked with recently believe that international markets will present the best investment opportunity in the coming 12 months, so we believe our new Global product will see strong uptake levels.”