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Lift super standards

GOVERNMENT and regulators must act to ensure standards in the financial planning industry are lifted, together with improved disclosure standards, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.

ASFA is currently conducting its third round of consumer comprehension testing in an effort to develop useful PDSs for superannuation.

“Our testing identified that meaningful disclosure should include the impact of entry and exit fees, expressed in dollar amounts not just percentages, as well as any commissions paid,” ASFA CEO Philippa Smith said.

Clean act

THE Australian Consumers’ Association and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission warned that financial planners needed to improve their performance, following the release of a joint survey of the industry.

ASIC executive director of consumer protection Peter Kell said standards that had been developed by the industry were not being followed.

“They should be in everyday use, given that the industry handles many millions of dollars of people’s savings,” Mr Kell said.

In the past two years ASIC has removed 62 financial advisers from the industry, and a further 10 have received jail terms.

Skandia launch

AUSTRALIAN Skandia has launched a new product, Skandia One, to operate from the company’s existing platform, which is used by more than 150 boutique dealer groups. In August last year, Australian Skandia launched the Skandia Blended Australian Shares Fund and the Skandia Blended Global Shares Fund, which are designed for exposure to one asset class.

Engineers’ super

THE Institution of Engineers Australia has launched a new industry super fund, the Engineers Employer Superannuation Plan with the 20/20 Funds DirectInvest.

The fund will operate through Colonial First State’s FirstChoice Employer Super.

US property buy

DIVERSIFIED financial services group Challenger International has acquired a $98 million, 263,792 square foot office building in Denver, US. Challenger’s life group property portfolio is approximately $2.8 billion. Challenger has more than $12 million of assets under management and over 100,000 investors.

Fund of the year

IOOF/Perennial took out the top Morningstar Fund manager of the year award 2002. The company also won the multi-sector fund manager of the year, and the Australian fixed interest fund manager of the year.

Perpetual Investments won the Australian equities fund manager of the year and the Australian equities – small companies fund manager of the year awards. Zurich won the listed property fund manager of the year, Credit Suisse was awarded the international fixed interest fund manager of the year, MLC won the international equities fund manager of the year, while Sandhurst Trustees/Investors Mutual was named emerging Australian equities fund manager of the year.

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