Prosecutors told to push the envelope

Original article by James Frost, Liz Main
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 6-Feb-19

The fees-for-no-service scandal has cost Australia’s four major banks and wealth manager AMP more than $2bn to date. They may also face prosecution under section 1041G of the Corporations Act, after the final report of the financial services royal commission recommended that ASIC should expand its existing probe into potential breaches of this section to include more companies. This is in addition to a recommendation by commissioner Kenneth Hayne that 24 cases of misconduct should be referred for potential civil or criminal action.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GROUP LIMITED

Banks surge after royal pardon

Original article by David Rogers, Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 19 & 23 : 6-Feb-19

Jon Mott of UBS has described the final report of the financial services royal commission as a "clear win" for Australia’s banks, saying its recommendations did not meet market expectations. Investors agreed, with shares in the banks and wealth managers AMP and IOOF Holdings rallying on 5 February. Brian Johnson of CLSA says bank stocks could rise further, as the market had priced in more onerous recommendations by commissioner Kenneth Hayne.

CORPORATES
UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, CLSA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIAN FINANCE GROUP LIMITED – ASX AFG, MORTGAGE CHOICE LIMITED – ASX MOC, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

Murray in the crosshairs as battered AMP faces shareholder revolt

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 15 & 18 : 23-Jan-19

AMP could face a board spill at its 2019 annual meeting under the ‘two strikes’ regime, after more than 61 per cent of votes cast at the 2018 meeting rejected its remuneration report. The election of chairman David Murray is also uncertain, with at least two institutional investors said to be planning to vote against the resolution. They include Hamish Carlisle of Merlon Capital Partners, who opposes the election of Murray and non-executive director John O’Sullivan.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIAN ETHICAL INVESTMENT LIMITED – ASX AEF, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Funds end in the red after a horror year

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 15 & 22 : 18-Jan-19

Data from Mercer shows that long-only Australian share funds posted a median loss of 4.2 per cent in 2018, compared with a loss of 2.7 per cent for the S&P/ASX200 Accumulation Index. The December quarter was particularly challenging, with the median active Australian share fund losing 9.6 per cent before fees and the ASX200 Accumulation Index falling 8.1 per cent. Panther Trust Australian Shares, a boutique long-only fund, was the top performer in 2018 with a return of 5.6 per cent.

CORPORATES
MERCER INVESTMENTS PTY LTD, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 ACCUMULATION INDEX, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, PANTHER TRUST AUSTRALIAN SHARES FUND, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, BENNELONG FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, CSL LIMITED – ASX CSL, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, IDP EDUCATION LIMITED – ASX IEL, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, AFTERPAY TOUCH GROUP LIMITED – ASX APT, RESOLUTE MINING LIMITED – ASX RSG, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, ASALEO CARE LIMITED – ASX AHY, CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL GROUP LIMITED – ASX FLT, BELL ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED – ASX BLM, APPLE INCORPORATED, MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED, MICROSOFT CORPORATION, ALPHABET INCORPORATED

Banks’ big legal year to get busier amid Hayne fallout

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 15-Jan-19

Westpac, National Australia Bank, AMP and IOOF Holdings are among the financial services groups that will be subject to legal action in 2019. Further legal action in the sector is expected in the wake of the financial services royal commission. Josh Mennen of law firm Maurice Blackburn has flagged mortgage lending practices as an area that could attract legal action. There are also indications that the Australian Securities & Investments Commission will be more willing to pursue legal action against banks in 2019.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, SLATER AND GORDON LIMITED – ASX SGH, GILBERT AND TOBIN LAWYERS, HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS PTY LTD, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Major funds bracing for bear market

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 19-Dec-18

Sharemarkets in Australia and Asia fell sharply on 18 December, in response to bearish sentiment on Wall Street. The S&P/ASX 200 has shed more than 7.4 per cent so far in 2018, and it is on track to record its biggest fall for the December quarter since 2008. Magellan Financial Group and WAM Capital have maintain a high level of cash holdings, although Randal Jenneke of T. Rowe Price sees the market volatility as a selective buying opportunity.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, MAGELLAN FINANCIAL GROUP LIMITED – ASX MFG, WAM CAPITAL LIMITED – ASX WAM, T ROWE PRICE GROUP INCORPORATED, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, RELIANCE WORLDWIDE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX RWC, JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC – ASX JHX, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

AMP CEO De Ferrari won’t get a new life insurance deal

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 6-Dec-18

Merlon Capital is among the AMP shareholders that oppose the sale of its life insurance business. However, AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari says the $3.3bn deal will proceed, arguing that the wealth manager lacks the global scale to compete with much larger international rivals in the life insurance sector. De Ferrari has also expressed support for AMP’s vertically integrated business model, but says this will be unwound if the final report of the financial services commission recommends it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, CREDIT SUISSE AG, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD

AMP’s new CEO starts in the hot seat

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 20 : 3-Dec-18

Francesco De Ferrari starts his first day as CEO of AMP on 3 December, having previously been head of Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific private banking business. De Ferrari says he is determined to make the most of the impetus provided by the banking royal commission to bring about change in the way that AMP does business. Hamish Carlisle from Merlon Capital says De Ferrari should give AMP shareholders the opportunity to vote on the proposed sale of the AMP Life division, as well as renegotiating the deal if possible.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE AG, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, ATLAS FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION

Fund managers count the cost of Red October meltdown

Original article by Melissa Yeo
The Australian – Page: 28 : 14-Nov-18

Platinum Investment Management CEO Andrew Clifford notes that October 2018 was the most challenging month for global markets since February 2009. The Australian sharemarket lost 5.4 per cent during October, extending its losses since an August peak to more than 10 per cent. The Platinum Global Fund and Monash Capital’s Absolute Investment Fund posted losses of 5.9 per cent and 5.69 per cent respectively, although hedge fund VGI Partners posted a modest gain of 0.8 per cent.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, PLATINUM INVESTMENT HOLDING PTE LTD, PLATINUM GLOBAL FUND, MONASH CAPITAL PTY LTD, MONASH ABSOLUTE INVESTMENT FUND, VGI PARTNERS PTY LTD, GRYPHON CAPITAL INCOME TRUST – ASX GCI, L1 LONG SHORT FUND LIMITED – ASX LSF, OPHIR ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, CONTANGO INCOME GENERATOR LIMITED – ASX CIE, K2 GLOBAL EQUITIES FUND, WCM GLOBAL GROWTH LIMITED – ASX WQG, CARSALES.COM LIMITED – ASX CAR, VIVA ENERGY GROUP LIMITED – ASX VEA, THE STAR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LIMITED – ASX SGR, GWA GROUP LIMITED – ASX GWA, PERPETUAL LIMITED – ASX PPT, VIRTUS HEALTH LIMITED – ASX VRT, AMAZON.COM INCORPORATED, CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED – ASX CTD, BLOOMBERG LP, MSCI WORLD INDEX

Mitsubishi in $4.1bn swoop for CBA arm

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 1-Nov-18

Brett Le Mesurier of Shaw & Partners expects the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to return capital to shareholders following a deal to sell its global asset management business. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will pay $4.1bn for Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which CBA had previously intended to demerge with its financial planning and mortgage assets. CBA expects to generate a post-tax gain of around $1.5bn from the sale of CFSGAM, while the bank’s common-equity tier-one capital will be boosted by 60 basis points.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, MITSUBISHI UFJ FINANCIAL GROUP INCORPORATED, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, COUNT FINANCIAL LIMITED, FINANCIAL WISDOM LIMITED, AUSSIE HOME LOANS LIMITED, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GROUP LIMITED, MORTGAGE CHOICE LIMITED – ASX MOC, COUNTPLUS LIMITED – ASX CUP, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, MLC LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, SOCIETYONE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, TRIBECA INVESTMENT PARTNERS PTY LTD, MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST AND BANKING INCORPORATION