IOOF to push ahead with buyout of ANZ’s wealth arm

Original article by Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 21 : 18-Oct-19

Shares in wealth manager IOOF Holdings rallied on 17 October after it moved a step closer to completing a deal to acquire the ANZ Bank’s OnePath pensions and investments division. IOOF has advised that it will pay just $850m for the business if it gains regulatory approval by 30 June. This represents a 13 per cent discount to the previously agreed purchase price. Meanwhile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has indicated that it will not appeal a recent Federal Court decision that cleared five IOOF executives and directors of misconduct.

CORPORATES
IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ONEPATH AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Strong gains raise question of fair stock value

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 18-Oct-19

The Australian sharemarket’s pullback on 17 October was to be expected, after the S&P/ASX 200 had gained 3.8 per cent in two weeks. The market may be vulnerable to a further pullback, given that it now looks to be the most expensive since October 2007 on a price-earnings basis. Meanwhile, financial markets have downgraded the chances of an official interest rate cut in both November and December following the release of the latest unemployment data.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

AMP to hit costs in bank merger

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 & 23 : 11-Oct-19

Bell Potter analyst Lafitani Sotiriou has questioned AMP’s decision to merge its bank and Australian wealth divisions, suggesting that it is "strategy on the run". Allan Gray Australia CEO Simon Mawhinney in turn says the move raises conflicts of interest concerns. An AMP spokeswoman says the two businesses will have separate financial services licences and will remain separate legal entities after being folded into the new AMP Australia. Alex Wade will be CEO of the combined business.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP BANK LIMITED

Stocks lashed by recession fears

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 4-Oct-19

Factors such as growing uncertainty about the outlook for the global economy and a ruling from the WTO that has cleared the US to impose tariffs on European Union imports have weighed on investors worldwide. Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 has shed 2.9 per cent so far in October, while the S&P 500 in the US has fallen by three per cent. Aaryn Nania of Lucerne Investment Partners warns that investors should expect further market volatility, although Robert Buckland of Citigroup says it is too soon to predict a recession in the US and the end of the bull market.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION, LUCERNE INVESTMENT PARTNERS, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, HANG SENG INDEX, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX, KOSPI INDEX, EURO STOXX 50 INDEX

Director insider trading is rife

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 19 : 23-Sep-19

Australian National University academic Dr Dean Katselas has studied the trading of shares by directors following the release of listed companies’ earnings announcements. He says directors typically sell shares when positive information about their company is released and spark a jump in its share price, while they buy shares after the release of negative information that sees the share price depressed. Katselas says ‘contrary’ share trades are being made on the basis of non-public information about a company’s future performance, which he says essentially amounts to insider trading.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

IOOF no closer to ANZ deal after court win

Original article by Joanna Mather, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 17 : 23-Sep-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has failed in its court case against IOOF Holdings, in which it sought to argue that the financial services company breached its obligation to act in its members’ best interests. It had been the first time in more than 10 years that APRA had taken superannuation trustees to court, with Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot finding that its legal arguments were "unpersuasive". Despite APRA’s lack of success in the case, industry observers say it does not mean that IOOF is guaranteed to complete its takeover of the ANZ Bank’s wealth unit.

CORPORATES
IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ALLENS, ADVISER RATINGS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD

HK exchange in London bid

Original article by Steven Russolillo
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 12-Sep-19

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has launched an unsolicited takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange (LSE). LSE has indicated it will consider the bid, which is valued at Stg29.6 billion ($53.27 billion), and which it described as "unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional". The HKEX bid for the LSE is aimed at preventing the proposed merger between the LSE and financial-information provider Refinitiv Holding, which was announced in August. In commenting on the HKEX bid, the LSE stated it remained committed to its bid for Refinitiv.

CORPORATES
HONG KONG EXCHANGES AND CLEARING LIMITED LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE REFINITIV RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Hopes for tariff truce as US, China resume talks

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 28 : 6-Sep-19

Sharemarkets across the Asia-Pacific region rallied on 5 September as investors welcomed news that the US and China will hold trade discussions in early October. Both nations imposed new tariffs at the start of September, while the US is scheduled to increase tariffs on a range of Chinese goods on 1 October. Meanwhile, financial markets have priced in an 88 per cent chance that the Reserve Bank of Australia will reduce official interest rates in October, followed by another rate cut by May.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, KOSPI INDEX, HANG SENG INDEX

S&P gives AMP thumbs down over bad news

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 28-Aug-19

The credit rating of wealth manager AMP has been downgraded from ‘A-‘ to ‘BBB+’ by S&P Global Ratings. The long-term issuer credit rating of AMP Bank and AMP Life have also been downgraded by one notch apiece. S&P has indicated that the ratings downgrade was primarily due to the recent deal to sell AMP Life to Resolution Life, which will have an impact on AMP’s group credit profile. S&P also said it may review AMP’s credit rating if the deal does not proceed, although this may not result in an upgrade.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, AMP BANK LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED

Funds brace for more volatility

Original article by William McInnes
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 27 : 27-Aug-19

Federation Asset Management chairman Greg Bundy says financial markets will keep falling, as he does not expect the US-China trade war to be resolved for some time. Matt Sherwood of Perpetual agrees that there is unlikely to be a quick resolution to the trade dispute. Bearish sentiment slashed the value of Australian stocks by around $26bn on 26 August, while the yield on 10-year Australian government bonds fell to 0.88 per cent. Shares in gold producers also rallied as investors sought out ‘safe-haven’ assets.

CORPORATES
FEDERATION ASSET MANAGEMENT, PERPETUAL LIMITED – ASX PPT, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT