Category Archives: Business

ASIC Looking At Raising Standards for financial adviser managers

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), is looking to update its rules that cover financial services companies like www.plenty.com.au, with the goal of raising the educational standards of the people managing financial advisers in the country.

It is currently proposing to introduce a new method with which managers of financial advisors can demonstrate their knowledge and skills, proving they have the qualifications for handling their work. This new option, Option 6, is being proposed under the Regulatory Guide 105 Licensing: Organisational Competence (RG 105).

ASIC says that Option 6 will be reflective of the higher education and training standards that are in place for financial advisers like www.plenty.com.au, and will require advice licensees to have, at minimum, one responsible manager who satisfies Option 6.

ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press says that these proposals are designed to improve the organisational competence of financial advice licensees by ensuring that that the people who supervise advisers are responsible managers who adhere to the appropriate level of educational and training acumen.

Commissioner Press adds that they would like to add to the currently existing options for managers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills; their qualifications, via the new Option 6. This new option will be reflective of the industry’s new expectations when it comes to the level of competence of its people.

Responsible managers who wish to be cleared by Option 6 would have to pass the financial adviser exam, possess the degrees require for financial advisers, as well as meet continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

Both new and existing managers who wish to meet Option 6’s terms have until the start of January 2021 to pass the exam, and until the start of January 2024 to acquire the required degrees.

ASIC is currently looking for people to respond on the compliance costs, which they are expecting to take effect on competition, as well as other impacts, costs, and, of course, benefits regarding the proposed changes.

Submissions for consultation can be submitted until December 6, 2018, with an updated RG105 outlining the update organisational competence requirements for advice licensees expected to come out sometime early 2019.

The proposals under consideration are based on the existing draft guidance, as published by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

 

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Telstra Executive Fires Back Regarding Pay Protests

Corporate culture experts like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis tend to have varying opinions on how to operate best, but general consensus is that a company should take good care of even its lowest employees.

People have been calling out Telstra for doing the exact opposite of that, following its proposal to pay CEO Andy Penn $4.5 million for 2018, as well as payout its departing executives, which comes after it revealed that it will be sacking 8000 workers across the time span of three years. Company shares dropped from $3.55 at the year’s start to $3.045 early October.

Telstra Chairman John Mullen, however, has fired back, defending the telco’s performance and the pay its top executives receive following the protests. In a fairly colorful address, he attacked the company’s critics, shareholders and advisors, pointing to the modern pay-setting system for executives as the source of the problems.

He said that Telstra’s performance need to match global standards, as well as deal with the unique threat the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) poses, which has forced their hand. The company recently announced a massive cost-cutting drive in response to the current market conditions, which include the axing of 8000 jobs.

He says that the current climate needs to get real and acknowledge the issue. According to Mullen, more than a quarter of investors voted against the proposed remunerations for its executives, constituting what might be the first strike against it. The vote is not binding, but should there be another strike against the board, they will be facing re-election.

Mullen believes that executive salaries are too high across the board, but that changing it needs time and needs to be something all of corporate Australia needs to get into, and that Telstra was ‘doing its part’.

Shareholders called foul on Mullen, saying that what he was doing and the payment towards executives was nothing short of disappointing.

John Ellery, from the Communications Workers Union in the AU, criticized Telstra’s board on behalf of its staff members over the company’s recent pay offer of 1.5%, reportedly lower than inflation, describing it as Telstra slapping the people they so allegedly value in the face.

Telstra has come under fire, from workers unions, employees and corporate experts like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis regarding their ‘disgusting’ executive pay system. Mullen, however, declined to get into a discussion about bargaining, only saying that the recent layoffs are the hardest part of the job.

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Realtors Release A Scary Forecast On The Real Estate Market

In 2016, a former motocross rider created a promotional video to advertise his new job as a real estate agent. Yes, indeed, real estate agents can ride motorcycles to home showings. It may or may not elicit strong reactions from clients but they will certainly understand the love for freedom and excitement. For the road bike range, there is Moto Guzzi for sale from UK dealers.

Meanwhile the forecast for 2019 that was released by California Association of Realtors (CAR) on the real estate market is a little scary. It is common for many housing economists to wait for November or December before they release their predictions but CAR’s forecast showed confidence regardless of whatever happens in the coming weeks.

Whenever realtors say that there might be a little adjustment in the market, people must take it seriously. The last time that CAR made a prediction about a minor correction in the market, property values fell heavily.

Realtors usually have the natural tendency to keep to a minimum any downturn in the market. By nature, realtors are optimistic and believe that they need to enthusiastically promote their services. However, when there is a forecast of modest decline in existing home sales, people should take cover.

The existing number of homes sales this year is lower than 2017 and CAR expects that sales will drop further in 2019. Inventory is scarce this year particularly properties that are below $450,000. For the coming year, inventory is expected to increase but there will be fewer buyers due to economic and demographic factors.

According to President Trump, the biggest threat is the Federal Reserve that has increased short term rates for the third time this year. Mortgage rates increased to the highest level in 7 years and created uncertainty among home buyers and equity traders. Property values are climbing too high and buyers are spooked.

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Less Red Tape For Tradies In NSW And Queensland

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall revealed a new cross-border agreement proposal between the governments of NSW and Queensland, which might interest many a Brisbane plumber and other tradies in the two states. This new proposal will allow tradies and small businesses in NSW and Queensland to work across state regions without needing multiple licenses, which will lessen the fees and the red tape they have to deal with.

Mr. Marshall said that small businesses and tradies would be able to save hundreds of dollars annually under the proposal, submitted by the NSW Government, which will allow licence holders to operate across state lines.

The deal was struck between the two governments and associated agencies allows for a new Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) program, which will apply to architects, drainers, gasfitters and plumbers, good news for any Sydney or Brisbane plumber who’s looking to migrate to the borders.

Mr. Marshall says that the AMR program will allow operators to work in any state or territory across the country, which will allow them to give consumers more options. He says the issue that many northern and north western businesses have with operating across the borders is the number of border communities located across the Northern Tablelands, which means that the AMR program is a good first step on cutting down on hassle, which, he says is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to cut down on red tape for small businesses, as well as give consumers the best options.

Marshall says that the multiple licenses and inconsistencies across government services, policies and laws had a detrimental impact on businesses. For example, refrigeration and air-conditioning businesses operating across the border with Queensland that need a total of four licenses to operate (one in the Commonwealth, one in NSW, and two in Queensland) which can be problematic given that the current application fee for a trade or specialist contractor in NSW sat at $312 for a one-year licence.

He says that tradies and professionals working across the northern areas will get the most out of the AMR program, where licence requirements can be restrictive for both businesses and consumers.

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Construction Of Training Facility Already Started

Advanced Construction Engineering or ACE Centre is currently under construction at the Booth Lane campus of Northampton College. The facility is designed to be a training center for the coming generation of decorators, builders and plumbers. The staff of the training facility will teach the students new techniques regarding the skills they are focusing on. This is to ensure that the next generation of workforce will have the necessary and updated skills which are needed in order to meet the industry’s demand.

According to the principal of the facility, Pat Brennan-Barrett who was at the groundbreaking ceremony, the courses they are offering will make sure that they will create a group of students that are highly skilled and high quality. These students will have the technical skills that is currently lacking in the industry which will ensure that the workforce within the construction industry will have a long-term effect and a modern touch.

The facility will be equipped with Digital Lab along with a Virtual Reality classroom. There will be equipment for 3D printing and workshop tools and machines that are on par with the standards of today’s industries. The centre is expected to be completed in September of 2019.

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth’s minister, said that the centre is going to have a huge and lasting impact on the engineering and construction industries around Northampton and even beyond that.

Pledges came from fifteen leading companies such as Metcalfe’s, Kier, Murphy Group and Bowmer& Kirkland that are interested in becoming partners with the centre.

Part of the money used for the construction came from Skills Capital Fund of SEMLEP which is an external source.

According to SEMLEP’s director of programmes and governance, Judith Barker, major construction companies are now looking for solutions to worries about the ageing workforce and the widening skills gap therefore this is considered as a priority. They are happy to know that local employers are willing to play their part in supporting the ACE Centre.

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Maniax Axe Throwing To Expand To Newstead

Brisbane now has a new option for de-stressing, with a new establishment coming in soon. But instead of food or drinks, the activity on the list is axe throwing.

Adam Schilling, founder and owner of Maniax Axe Throwing, the AU’s first hatchet flinging business, will be opening his newest venue in Newstead when November rolls in. This will be his business’s third location, and its first in Brisbane, following the success of its current locations with team building in Sydney and Melbourne.

Similar in format to darts, people come in and compete in throwing axes at a target, playing either a double-elimination or a round-robin competition, which allows for some friendly competition and catharsis. Schilling, an airline pilot, said that he got the idea when he visited Canada for a friend’s wedding.

He says that he tried to book an axe throwing session, but couldn’t, thanks to the venue he found being so busy.

It didn’t really matter, however, as his friend, for whom he travelled to Canada to, was fellow Aussie Stephen Thomas, who discovered the activity while living in Toronto. Once Thomas moved back to the AU, he and Schilling decided to partner together, going into a joint venture, and opening their first Maniax in Sydney back in 2015. The venture has been fairly successful amidst the many venues for team building in Sydney, and was followed by a Melbourne venue earlier in 2018, right before Thomas’s share in the business was acquired by Schilling.

Schilling believes that the reason that axe-throwing is so popular is that because it’s quite cathartic. He says that the modern age is quite stressful, and Maniax gives them a place where they can come in, throw an axe and safely release.

Maniax’s core focus is bringing people together, whether for casual reasons, fun events, or even for corporate team-building. The new facility to be opened in Brisbane will be featuring five lanes for group booking, with four additional lanes for walk-ins, a first for the business.

Schilling says that these new lanes will let people just walk in on their lunch break or after work and just throw axes until they’ve had enough.

Maniax, while the first axe-throwing business in Australia, is not the first in Queensland, with Lumber Punks having opened on the Gold Coast in 2017, before expanding to West End in August.

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