Aside from creating more choice for advisers and their clients, the proliferation of platforms has already led to a significant degree of consolidation, and this is expected to continue. The merger between Westpac and St George brought the BT Wrap and Asgard platforms together under one umbrella; the Australian Wealth Management and IOOF Holdings merger includes the Skandia platform business; and NAB acquired Aviva Australia’s wealth management business, including Navigator. Clancy says platforms are at an “interesting crossroads” in development, and the focus has evolved beyond “a fairly rudimentary” drive for choice, simplicity and efficiency. “Going forward the drive to innovate is huge,” he says. “In any marketplace as you get scale and experience costs inevitably come down and there’s a lot of competitive pressure to make platforms more efficient and a government requirement to continue to drive down costs within the super system.”
This year’s single-best trade was Chinese mid-cap semiconductor and tech stocks, according to UBS O’Connor's Kevin Russell. This illustrates how China’s domestic consumption economy allows it to combat any trade wars with the US.
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While Sunsuper's access to cash and public market meant its alternatives allocations weren't tapped for liquidity to facilitate early release payments, Tomlinson said he could take advantage of some more liquid ‘hedge fund-type’ investments during tumbling markets.
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“Everyone loves to hear about culture now,” according to Willis Towers Watson's Sara Rejal, who noted during a panel discussion at the Absolute Returns Conference Digital 2020 conference on Wednesday that funds are interested in a broader due diligence particularly with its hedge fund and alternative strategy partners.
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