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Court gives hope to Basis Capital investors; ING launches sustainable growth fund; Australia's major banks retain S&P ratings; KiwiSaver breaks 750,000 mark; Advisers must be fair: FAANZ

Monday, August 4th 2008, 5:25AM

by Maddy Milicich

Court gives hope to Basis Capital investors
Investors who applied for units in Basis Capital funds in June 2007 may soon recover their lost money.

A New South Wales Supreme Court has ruled in favour of BT Financial Group's arguments that the money was never properly part of the funds.

The ruling means more than $23 million must be returned to investors.

BT agreed to act as the representative defendant for all investors who made applications in June 2007, as well as provide input into the case for other representative defendants.

ING launches sustainable growth fund


ING (NZ) has introduced a Sustainable Growth Fund into New Zealand as an option within the SIL KiwiSaver scheme.

The fund combines socially-responsible investment with an international equity portfolio and focuses on achieving a return for investors that is comparable with that of traditional international equity investments.

"Demand is increasing in New Zealand for sustainable investment strategies, and our fund focuses on investing in companies that meet a range of environmental, social and transparency criteria, but that also demonstrate sound financial prospects," Philip Houghton-Brown, ING chief investment officer said.

The fund invests directly into the ING Sustainable Growth Fund, managed by ING Investment Management.

Australia's major banks retain S&P ratings
The ratings on Australia's four major banks remain in the 'AA' rating category even though they face a range of challenges from a weaker economic environment and the fallout from higher credit spreads, according to a recent report by Standard & Poor's.

The report, Credit FAQ: Are The Australian Major Banks In Trouble? , explores some of the issues affecting recent commentary and rating actions on the four banks – National Australia Bank (AA/Negative/A-1+), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AA/Stable/A-1+), Westpac Banking Corp. (AA/Stable/A-1+), and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (AA/Stable/A-1+).

It also compares the credit profile of Australia's banks with its offshore counterparts and discusses whether credit provisions may increase further.

"The Australian banks' counterparts in the US and Europe face more intense challenges in the form of higher exposure to sub-prime-related losses," S&P analyst Sharad Jain says. "Globally, very few commercial banks are currently rated higher than Australia's 'AA' rated major banks."

KiwiSaver breaks 750,000 mark
The number of New Zealanders joining KiwiSaver has broken through the three-quarters of a million mark.

KiwiSaver, which celebrated its first birthday on July 1, was initially projected to have 270,000 members after one year. As at 24 July the number of KiwiSavers stood at 753, 576.

"With nearly 30% of KiwiSavers under the age of 25, it is clear that the scheme is creating a new savings culture in New Zealand. That's good news not just for young KiwiSavers, but for our entire economy," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said.

Advisers must be fair: FAANZ
The newly formed Financial Advisers Associations of New Zealand (FAANZ) has added to the commission disclosure debate.

It believes, "consumers must be given clear information that allows them to make an informed choice before engaging an adviser. If the customer has that, and knows where potential conflicts of interest might arise then they are able to make a decision they can have confidence in about the adviser, and the adviser's possible relationships with product providers," spokesperson Tony Vidler said.

There is little dispute amongst advisers over commission disclosure on investment business, but more contentious is the issue of commission disclosure in non-investment financial products.

FAANZ specified that regardless of a financial adviser's business specialty, or their remuneration model, there should always be a full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest to consumers.

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Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 4.05 4.05 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.55 3.55 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 3.89 4.05 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.49 3.55 3.89
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.54 3.54 3.69
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 3.97 4.05 4.39
Kiwibank 5.20 4.20 4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.45 3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.86 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.39 3.45 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 3.89 4.05 4.39
Sovereign Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.19 4.35 4.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 5.29 3.39 3.55 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.39 3.55 3.99
Median 5.34 3.99 4.07 4.39

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