News Round Up: March 21

Puting a price on trust; Strong start for diversified funds; Sovereign talks about its QFE; Sec Com releases guide.  

Monday, March 21st 2011, 7:31AM

Putting a price on Trust
The Trust Company has completed its $42 million acquisition of The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company (Guardian Trust) following approval from the Oversees Investment Office (OIO).

Trust Company CEO John Atkin said the acquisition was a significant milestone in the company's strategy of becoming the region's pre-eminent independent trustee.

"Guardian Trust is the leading trustee in New Zealand and is an excellent addition and fine complement to our existing business in Australia. The expanded footprint and cross-jurisdictional expertise provided from the Guardian Trust acquisition strengthens our service offering to all our clients, particularly international banks, fund managers and property groups."

Strong start for diversified funds
Diversified funds have provided strong returns over the past quarter and year, boosted by equities and other growth assets, though headwinds are emerging suggesting a rougher ride ahead, according to AXA Global Investors.

In its latest Quarterly Strategic Outlook the AXA head of investment strategy, Jason Wong, said the last quarter had seen the AXA Global Investors' typical conservative fund return 3.2%, with balanced and growth funds returning 5.3% and 7% respectively.

"This follows even stronger returns over the previous 12 month period, so investors have received very strong returns for two straight years now."

However, he cited interest rate rises and inflation in emerging markets as headwinds likely to result in lower returns over the coming year.

Sovereign secures QFE status
Sovereign has announced it has become one of the first financial institutions to be granted Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) status by the Securities Commission.

Sovereign CEO Charles Anderson also said the company was backing its advisers with the company's reputation and financial strength and believes it is the only insurer to provide that level of service.

"Our customers can rest assured that only those advisers with the highest standards of professionalism will be selected to  be nominated representatives of our QFE. Not all advisers have chosen to accept that standard and consumers are encouraged to ask questions to ensure their adviser is operating to a high level," he said.

Read more about the QFE here

Sec Com issues guide for trans-Tasman mutual securities recognition
The Securities Commission and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) have published updated guidance for New Zealand and Australian issuers offering shares, debentures or interests in managed funds in both countries.

The guide outlines the requirements under the mutual recognition of securities offerings scheme (MRSO) and the role the regulators will play in relation to the offer.

Many of the updates are based on market feedback and include information on relevant forms and lodging processes, the applicability of dispute resolution schemes and guidance on the offers that can be recognised under the scheme.

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