Financial Planning Blog

Understanding the changing superannuation landscape

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Although one of the Australian financial services sector’s greatest success stories, the country’s superannuation system still faces a challenging future to ensure Australians live out their retirement in suitable fiscal comfort. Societal shifts, mainly an increasing population and longer life expectances, means the approach of individual superannuation contributors and the industry in general needs to change rapidly.

Understanding hedge funds

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Hedge funds are a form of pooled investment vehicle which invest in a diverse range of investments. As of June 2013, the estimated size of the global hedge fund industry was US$2.4 trillion. Hedge funds are administered and managed by professional investment firms, which use different types of investment styles, strategies and financial instruments to seek a positive return for investors.

The suitability of hedge funds for retail investors

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There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding alternatives in general and hedge funds in particular. Among the most common are first, that they are their own unique asset class, and, second, that they are only available or suitable for institutional or sophisticated investors. This suitability issue also raises the question of hedge funds being highly risky, another frequent misconception applied to the sector as a whole.

Structuring life insurance premiums

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When taking out life insurance policies, the insured generally has the choice of two main premium structures: stepped or level.

Offering wholesale products to institutional investors

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Ascertaining what constitutes and what appeals to a wholesale investor requires a thorough knowledge of the design, sale and distribution of suitable structured financial products.

Maximizing social security eligibility in retirement

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The Australian social security system can be complex for financial advisers and clients to negotiate. However, as a result, the opportunities for advisers to add value to their client offerings are abundant.

Stockmarket News January 2014

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What’s Made News This January?

Incorporating exchange-traded products in a portfolio

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Tips on how to use exchange-traded products (ETPs) most effectively and outlined a new approach to exchange-traded fund construction hitting Australian shores.

Examining investment structures

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 The principal investment management structures available to investors and their advisers in Australia include managed funds, listed investment companies, exchange-traded funds, separately managed accounts and individually managed accounts.

Insurance planning for business clients

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This post allows you to extend your knowledge of insurance strategies, particularly issues around business insurance needs, and apply this knowledge to a practical example.

Capturing data: quantitative and statistical techniques

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The amount of data being captured and analyzed is exploding, and is destined to drive productivity and efficiency, competition and innovation. Data analysis is a growing field and delivers benefits such as a more efficient use of labour, capital and inventory. It also allows better understanding of the customer base and can underpin new generations of products and service delivery.

AFS license cancellations: lessons for licensees

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In 2013, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has appeared to become more assertive in regard to the management of Australian financial services (AFS) licenses which provide advice to retail clients. License conditions have been applied where a licensee has failed to meet ASIC expectations and in the more severe cases, AFS licenses have been cancelled.

Managing life cover for over 50s

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As clients’ insurance product needs change with age and cost considerations become a greater issue, it is often life cover that is cancelled first. However, as the Australian population ages and people remain active well into their 50s and 60s, it is more important than ever that financial advisers understand strategies to help clients maintain life cover in a cost effective way.

FOFA: living with the best interests duty

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One of the core elements of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms, which became mandatory on 1 July 2013, is the best interests duty. The essential tenet of the best interests duty is that financial advisers should place client interests ahead of their own by adhering to the “safe harbour” provisions, set out in section 961B of the Corporations Act 2001.

Effective tax management for investment portfolios

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Australia’s high individual marginal tax rates, combined with the unique concessional attributes of its taxation system, creates a strong incentive for private wealth holders to focus on taxation issues as an effective mechanism to increase investment returns, without incurring additional risk.

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