The ASX mFund service launched last week will create a new relationship between the SMSF and retail managed funds industries, according to Financial Services Council chief executive John Brogden.
Speaking at the launch of mFund in Sydney last week, Mr Brogden said the new platform – which has been in development for a number of years and has survived a number of name changes – would have a significant impact on the dynamics of the superannuation sector.
Reflecting on the rapid growth of self-managed superannuation, Mr Brogden said the retail managed fund sector he represents does not view this trajectory as “leakage” but as a new “opportunity to provide a growing number of people with product and services”.
“What mFund does is really provide that opportunity to bring the self-managed superannuant together with managed funds in a fashion that many simply wouldn’t have been able to do in the past,” Mr Brogden said. “The laborious process of the past has been eliminated.”
The FSC chief praised the ASX and its managing director Elmer Funke Kupper for “leadership” and pointed to the mFund initiative as an example of the financial services sector working for the “public good”, calling on the industry to better highlight its societal role.
“Quite often in the financial services sector we are not so front-footed about talking about what we do well, about the role we play in growing the wealth of Australians,” Mr Brogden said. “We can sometimes be shrinking flowers when it comes to our own role.”
Mr Kupper said the service is a “win, win, win, win” scenario, anticipating benefits for investors, financial advisers/stockbrokers, fund managers and the ASX itself.
“Today we are launching a service that we believe over time will become a real game changer for the managed funds industry,” Mr Kupper said. “We believe mFund is a new pathway for the future of financial services.”
Mr Kupper also confirmed that the first transaction on the mFund settlement service has been conducted, with a purchase by Bell Direct of units in an Australian real estate investment trust managed by APN Property Group.
In a statement issued late last week, Bell Direct chief executive Arnie Selvarajah said his organisation is a strong supporter of the mFund service, which he said “provides investors with increased choice so they can achieve their investment goals”.
Challenger’s boutique fund manager Fidante Partner also issued a statement welcoming the launch, with general manager Cathy Hales expressing confidence that the service “will boost the appeal of unlisted funds to self-directed investors”.
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