WEEKLY WRAP: Super mergers

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Prime Super and health-based fund HIP will merge from 1 May, with Prime Super chief executive Lachlan Baird becoming CEO of the merged entities, and HIP chief executive Ross Bernays becoming CIO. The merger will be carried out as a Successor Fund Transfer, with HIP member accounts scheduled to be transferred to Prime Super on 1 May 2014. HIP members will then become members of the ‘HIP Super’ division of Prime Super. The trustee of the merged fund will be Prime Super. 

The Treasury has launched the Financial System Inquiry website, which offers a subscription feature for people wanting updates on the Inquiry’s work. Initial submissions to the inquiry are now open to the public. 

Andrew Lill has joined Ibbotson Associates Australia, a unit of Morningstar’s investment management group, as CIO of Asia-Pacific, based in Sydney. He will also contribute to Morningstar's global investment management committees, policies, capabilities, and thought leadership.

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos has announced that 1 July 2015 will be the start date for reforms to the Offshore Banking Unit regime, which were originally announced in the 2013-14 Budget. The Offshore Banking Unit regime provides a concessional tax rate to encourage genuine offshore banking activity in Australia.

ASX-listed financial technology and software provider Rubik Financial can now exclusively distribute Revex Solutions software to Rubik clients. It has also entered a non-binding term sheet with Easy Dealer group, a division of AMEE Easy Software Solutions, to acquire its revenue and commission software business.  Rubik also announced the planned integrated COIN/Revex hosted solution will be available to independent financial planners from this month. 

Independent stockbroking company OpenMarkets Australia has appointed Leo Lopez as head of sales, based in Sydney. CEO Rick Klink said the service was finding particular traction with professional investors and wealth advisory groups. OpenMarkets has signed six wealth advisory groups to its equities trading service since its launch late last year.

Pershing Securities Australia has paid a $15,000 fine after the Markets Disciplinary Panel penalised it for failing to give confirmations to retail clients, including AFSL holders, for market transactions entered into on the retail clients’ instructions.

The Code Compliance Monitoring Committee has appointed Christopher Doogan as its new chairman. The committee was established in April 2004 to independently monitor compliance by code subscribers with the Code of Banking Practice and investigate complaints that the code’s obligations may have been breached.

Independent investment researcher Morningstar has launched a localised ticker plant in Sydney for Morningstar Real-Time Data Feeds, its consolidated market datafeed. The new ticker plant, located in the company's Sydney data centre, expands its datafeed collection and distribution network in the Asia-Pacific region. The Sydney ticker plant will let firms benefit from cost-effective access to low latency market data as an alternative or back-up to direct market access.

The Treasury has published its Tax Expenditure Statement 2013, which lists 355 tax expenditures and, where possible, provides an estimate of the dollar value or order of magnitude of the benefit to taxpayers. The statement is available on Treasury’s website.

According to HLB Mann Judd, there was a marked shift towards larger initial public offerings in 2013. In all, 96% of all funds raised were completed by companies with a market capitalisation of more than $100 million. This compares to 2012 where just 40% of funds raised came from large companies.

PM Capital’s Emerging Asia Fund recently posted another strong result in the last twelve months, recording a 45.1% return compared to the 16.8% growth in the MSCI Asia (ex Japan) benchmark. The company said the majority of the Australian equity market appears to be fully valued, and with the growth forecast in China likely to decline, investors need to look beyond generalised macroeconomic themes as they consider regional investment opportunities. 

Bennelong Long Short Equity Management has launched a new Australian equities strategy, the Bennelong Alpha 200 Fund. It is a long and short market neutral strategy to generate consistent returns regardless of market conditions. The fund invests primarily in the S&P/ASX 200, with 50% expected to be invested in the S&P/ASX 200 ex-top 100.

A new online social trading community for serious investors, TradingFloor.com, has been launched by Saxo Bank in Copenhagen. Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank, and is also offering TradingFloor.com to its clients. The new portal lets traders around the world to share their trades with peers and transforms trading into a social experience.

Australian inflation expectations over the next two years rose slightly to 5.0% per year in December, according to researcher Gary Morgan. This is up 0.2% in a month and shows Australian inflation expectations end 2013 at the yearly average.