Allens

Funds Management

Our experienced Funds Management team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues affecting the property and investment industries. If you'd like to be notified when we add new funds management publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Read about Allens' track record in this dynamic area.

Funds Management Publications

  • Unravelled: Financial Services Class Actions

    6 September 2016

    Our class actions team recently published our Class Action Risk 2016 report. The objective of the report is to look behind the headlines and hype that often surrounds class actions to provide a more holistic and objective assessment of class action risk for our clients. This is particularly important in an environment in which the press surrounding class actions has often heralded a developing crisis for Australian business.

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  • Unravelled: Not better late - the Prime Trust appeal judgment

    6 September 2016

    The main Prime Trust appeal judgement is relatively well known, but a trust's responsible entities and their officers should look at what the appeal court had to say on other related matters.

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  • Unravelled: Conflicts of interest and the duty to manage them

    9 August 2016

    The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) was amended in 2004 to include an additional obligation for Australian financial services licensees to have in place adequate arrangements for the management of conflicts of interest that may arise in relation to the activities undertaken by the licensees in the provision of financial services. Conflicts were an afterthought, coming a couple of years after the Financial Services Reform Act (Cth) in 2001. At the time, it didn't seem to be a particularly onerous obligation, and so it has proved. The regulators and various enquiries and committees have criticised financial services providers for letting conflicts of interest get in the way of their customers' interests, but the Corporations Act obligation to have adequate arrangements for managing conflicts is a poor basis for requiring licensees to put their customers' interests first'

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  • Unravelled: Post-election policy recap

    9 August 2016

    As the dust settles following the recent federal election, it is a good time to reflect on what we can expect from the re-elected Coalition Government for the financial services sector. There are two main groups of policy proposals that are going to need to get through Parliament. The first is the fairly significant superannuation changes announced in the 2016/17 Budget in May. The second is the series of changes the Government announced in its response to the Financial System Inquiry. This brief article provides a refresher on each of them.

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  • Unravelled: Blockchain and why smart contracts still need smart lawyers

    6 July 2016

    There has been so much talk about blockchain and distributed ledger technology recently, especially in financial services, that you might be forgiven for thinking it might be more hype than substance. But we think it could be very important technology.

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  • Client Update: Important AMIT regime developments

    24 June 2016

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has granted relief to assist responsible entities of registered schemes to make changes to their constitutions to qualify for the new attribution managed investment trust regime without holding a members' meeting. In addition, and in response to submissions from various industry bodies, the Australian Taxation Office has confirmed the deadline by which amendments need to be made for it to treat a trust as having qualified as an AMIT for any part of the income year commencing 1 July 2016. Partner Marc Kemp, Senior Tax Counsel Judith Taylor and Senior Overseas Practitioner James Kanabar review the key elements.

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  • Special Report: Understanding the opportunities and navigating the legal frameworks of distributed ledger technology and blockchain

    17 June 2016

    Authored by a multidisciplinary team from Allens, Blockchain Reaction is designed to assist business stakeholders, decision makers and in-house counsel across a variety of sectors to understand the technology and how it is being used, as well as navigate the regulatory and legal opportunities and challenges.

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  • Client Update: ASIC releases consultation paper on regulatory sandbox exemption for startups

    9 June 2016

    ASIC has released a consultation paper on proposals to facilitate innovation in the financial services sector. The proposals include details of the long-awaited 'regulatory sandbox'. It will be of interest to both emerging companies who may rely on the relief, as well as investors in this space. Senior Associate Simun Soljo and Law Graduate Antonia Ross look at what the paper proposes.

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  • Client Update: Registered schemes' constitution

    3 June 2016

    ASIC has said it will grant relief to assist responsible entities (RE) of registered schemes to make changes to their constitutions to qualify for the new attribution managed investment trust (or AMIT) regime without holding a unitholders' meeting. Partner Marc Kemp and Law Graduate Antonia Ross review the key elements of the announcement.

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  • Unravelled: A reprieve for ASIC and APRA ... but not for the FCA

    2 June 2016

    ASIC and APRA often cop flak from various quarters (including from us) and so today, for something different, we train our sights on the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. What the FCA has said about providing personal advice to retail clients is interesting, debatable and likely to induce a strong sense of déjà vu.

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  • Unravelled: The end of the AML/CTF regime as we know it?

    2 June 2016

    The past year or so has been an action-packed one for devotees of anti-money laundering policy and the recent release of the Report on the Statutory Review of the AML/CTF Act 2006 may herald the most significant changes to our regime since it was introduced a decade ago.

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  • Unravelled: AMITs are here (at last)

    2 June 2016

    It has taken a while, but out of the dust of an early Federal Budget and double-dissolution election announcement, a new tax attribution regime for 'Attribution Managed Investment Trusts' has emerged relatively intact. While the AMIT regime should generally be welcomed as a positive thing for MITs in terms of certainty and flexibility, it remains to be seen whether it will achieve another of its original aims.

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  • Unravelled: New ASIC funding - looking beyond the headlines

    4 May 2016

    Along with the public release of the ASIC Capability Review Report, the Government announced a suite of reforms giving ASIC additional (but targeted) funding and has also sought to remove some of the shackles on hiring it believes may be hindering ASIC's ability to recruit top talent. At the same time, the Government confirmed that a 'user pays' model will be introduced for ASIC's funding needs from the second half of 2017 onwards.

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  • Unravelled: ASIC getting a bigger toolkit sooner than expected

    4 May 2016

    In its response to the capability review into ASIC, the Federal Government has made a commitment to accelerate the implementation of a product intervention power for ASIC and the product design and distribution obligations for the financial services industry, but it left to one side some other important issues raised by the review. We consider what this might mean for both the regulator and the regulated.

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  • Unravelled: 'Tough cop' ASIC vs a Royal Commission

    4 May 2016

    Has talk of a royal commission turned the ASIC Capability Review into an unlikely catalyst for an enhanced enforcement agenda? With Labor pushing hard for a royal commission into the banking and financial services industry and an election looming, the Government moved swiftly to announce broad reform measures to equip ASIC with stronger powers and funding, as well as a new Commissioner with a financial crime prosecution background, to ensure that, in ASIC, Australia has a 'tough cop on the beat'.

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  • Unravelled: A long time coming: The Retirement Income Streams Review Report

    4 May 2016

    Going into the 2013 election, the present Government promised a review of the regulatory framework for retirement income streams. Today, the Government finally released its report. It has been a long time coming. And while the main outcome – a new category of tax effective pensions and annuities – will be welcomed by many, there are unanswered questions and implementation may take a while.

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  • Unravelled: Bitter Harvest yields fertile ground for MIS reform

    5 April 2016

    Last month, the Senate Economics References Committee handed down its long-awaited report on the structure and development of agribusiness-managed investment schemes. The Committee's inquiry into agribusiness schemes had been instigated in June 2014 by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. While there had been an earlier Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry, in 2009, into the high-profile agribusiness MIS collapses, the 2014 inquiry was intended to give the people and the rural communities affected by the MIS collapses a chance to be heard.

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  • Unravelled: Spotting hurdles in the race to market Australian funds in Asia

    5 April 2016

    The introduction of the Asia Region Funds Passport (ARFP) has been in the works for some time. The ARFP was one of the recommendations coming out of the 2009 Johnson Report and aims to provide a basis for cross-border marketing of managed funds in the Asia region. While there has been a tendency to focus on the benefits of the ARFP to consumers and fund managers in isolation, it's a good idea to look at the ARFP in the context of some of the other Johnson Report recommendations that are being discussed, such as reforms to tax law and generally making different investment structures more attractive to investors.

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  • Client Update: ASIC's guidance on conflicts in vertically integrated funds-management businesses

    24 March 2016

    ASIC has released a report looking at the way 'vertically integrated' funds management businesses deal with conflicts of interest. The report summarises the findings of ASIC's recent review of a number of businesses, and sets out some good practice recommendations. Partner Marc Kemp and Senior Associate Simun Soljo look at the report.

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  • Client Update: Productivity Commission kicks off inquiry into superannuation

    17 March 2016

    The Productivity Commission has released an issues paper inviting submissions on the criteria that should be used to assess the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia's superannuation system. This will be of interest not only to superannuation trustees but also to service providers, including fund managers, who may be put under greater scrutiny. Submissions are due by 20 April 2016. Partner Michelle Levy and Senior Associate Simun Soljo look at the issues paper.

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  • Unravelled: Dodd Frank - promoting financial stability and other purposes

    7 March 2016

    The Dodd Frank Act is a bit like the US financial system it is trying to regulate – vast, complex and hard to wade through. It creates a bunch of new regulators on top of what was already a pretty solid cast and gives them wide-ranging powers. They can not only set capital and liquidity requirements for banks and make rules about what they can and cannot do, but they can also shut down or sell off parts of their businesses. But are these regulators smart enough or well enough resourced to identify the risks?

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  • Unravelled: Would you like best interests with that? Conflicted remuneration, American style

    7 March 2016

    Last month, we were fortunate enough to host Barney Frank, co-architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010, to discuss financial regulation reform. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks later, we were treated to a presentation on US financial regulation reforms by a US lawyer, David W. Powell, at the annual superannuation lawyers' conference. Powell's presentation focussed on US efforts to expand 'fiduciary' duties for financial advisers, including those advising on Individual Retirement Accounts. IRAs now constitute a large chunk of US retirement savings. There are some interesting comparisons to be made between the proposed US rules and existing Australian financial advice laws. But perhaps most interesting of all is the proposed 'best interest contract exemption'.

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  • Unravelled: Transparency and Accountability - and not just for Wall Street

    7 March 2016

    The regulatory law repercussions of the GFC remain endlessly fascinating. As an example, take the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010. It runs to 848 pages. Title VII addresses, perhaps optimistically, 'Wall Street Transparency and Accountability'. My favourite provision is section 716, headed 'Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts of Swaps Entities'. This heading suggests that, if there is ever another AIG, it can't be bailed out. Too-big-to-fail solved by legislative prohibition. If only it was that easy.

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  • Unravelled: Crowd-sourced equity funding

    5 February 2016

    The Government has finally begun the process of implementing its policy on crowd-sourced equity funding (CSEF) by introducing a Bill and releasing draft exposure regulations late last year, which envisage the establishment of a CSEF regime in Australia. The Bill has been referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee who are expected to report later this month.

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  • Unravelled: Raising professional standards of financial advisers

    5 February 2016

    Following on from the reviews conducted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee and the Financial System Inquiry, the Government delivered on its promises by releasing an exposure draft of the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2015 (the Bill) late last year for consultation. As its title suggests, the draft Bill proposes a number of amendments to the Corporations Act to raise the professional standards of financial advisers that are to apply from 1 July 2017. Many of these reforms impose obligations that licensees in the retail financial advice and superannuation trustees should carefully consider and begin making provision for.

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  • Focus: New AMIT rules

    15 December 2015

    New legislation has been introduced into Federal Parliament that will replace the existing taxation regime for trusts which qualify as Attribution Managed Investment Trusts. Partner Charles Armitage and Managing Associate Judith Taylor look at what is different from the original Exposure Draft.

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  • Unravelled: Product rationalisation - again

    8 December 2015

    The FSI report recommended that the Government facilitate rationalisation of legacy products in the life insurance and managed investment scheme industries. The need for ways to close legacy products has been kicking around for at least a decade and, in 2007, Treasury released a very thorough options paper covering product rationalisation in the managed funds sector. Treasury said that sector was represented by life insurance, managed investment schemes and superannuation.

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  • Unravelled: Government launches innovation agenda - now wait for the ideas boom

    8 December 2015

    You might be getting tired of all of the talk about 'innovation', and keen to see some of it actually happen. The Government's recent announcements could help, but there is a long way to go before the 'mining boom' becomes the 'ideas boom'.

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  • Unravelled: The beginning of the end of the unit trust's monopoly? A look at common contractual funds

    8 December 2015

    The Board of Taxation's report on tax arrangements applying to collective investment vehicles considers that offshore investors are dissuaded from investing in Australian funds because they do not understand unit trusts, and that access to a broader range of collective investment vehicles would help Australian fund managers to compete for capital with their offshore counterparts. The Board of Taxation advocates extending tax neutrality to three additional collective investment vehicles. In the final of our series investigating these vehicles, we look at common contractual funds, which may be unfamiliar to many in the Australian market.

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  • Unravelled: FSI outcomes - what will happen and when?

    8 December 2015

    Are you interested in the financial system and how it is regulated? The Federal Government's response to the Financial System Inquiry was recently handed down but it can be hard to work out where, exactly, things are heading. We have put together a table that sets out what is likely to happen and when.

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  • Client Update: Major overhaul of Australia's foreign investment laws: what's new?

    4 December 2015

    The new package of legislation overhauling Australia's foreign investment laws, the first major revision in 40 years, commenced on 1 December 2015. While many features of the previous regime have been retained (and sometimes re-named), there are also a number of significant changes. Partners Jeremy Low, Wendy Rae and Richard Kriedemann and Senior Associate Eve Regnard review the key new elements.

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  • Unravelled: What does the Government's response to the FSI mean for banks?

    6 November 2015

    The short answer is: it depends on which kind of bank you are. The Financial System Inquiry's final report and the Government's response mean a lot for ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac, particularly given their significant residential mortgage portfolios. They also mean a lot for Macquarie. As for the rest of the banks, they are likely to see the ramifications for the major banks as their own gain.

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  • Unravelled: Superannuation and the Government's response to the FSI

    6 November 2015

    The Government's response to the FSI's superannuation recommendations is, as with much of the rest of the responses, somewhat safe (and, as a result, arguably disappointing). As with the Inquiry's recommendations, it shifts from the sublime to the ridiculous – on the one hand it deals with the really central question of what our superannuation system is for, to the other of extending choice of fund to the small number of employees who are currently excluded because they are covered by State awards and enterprise agreements. In between, it is going to ask the industry to sort out retirement incomes (with some legislative loosening) and the Productivity Commission to sort out costs and competition.

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  • Unravelled: Government says 'Yes ASIC'

    6 November 2015

    The FSI recommended that the Government 'Introduce an industry funding model for Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and provide ASIC with stronger regulatory tools'. This recommendation (No.29) covers two topics that ASIC has pursued on a number of occasions, including in its submissions to the FSI. The first is ASIC's preference to move to an industry funding model; and the second is ASIC's recommendation that penalties under ASIC-administered legislation be increased.

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  • Client Update: All but one: Federal Government issues response to FSI report

    20 October 2015

    The Federal Government today released its long-awaited response to the Financial System Inquiry. The Government says it has accepted all but one of the Inquiry's 44 recommendations released late last year. And this is broadly true, with the only substantial recommendation to be rejected being the recommendation to stop superannuation funds borrowing to invest.

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  • Unravelled: The beginning of the end of the unit trust's monopoly? A look at limited partnerships

    6 October 2015

    The Board of Taxation's report on tax arrangements applying to collective investment vehicles advocates extending tax neutrality to three additional collective investment vehicles: corporates (modelled on the Luxembourg SICAV), limited partnerships and common contractual funds. In this issue, we examine limited partnerships, which are not commonly used as collective investment vehicles in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: Corporate culture and conduct risk

    6 October 2015

    Regulators, particularly in the UK and Australia, are increasingly interested in corporate culture in the financial services industry, its impact on the integrity of the system, and what the regulators are doing to try to entrench a corporate culture that works for the benefit of consumers and investors. In this article, we look at various aspects of the relationship between corporate culture and conduct risk – convincing Australian financial services organisations that by focusing less on profit, and more on investors' long-term interests and market integrity, they really are helping themselves.

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  • Unravelled: ASIC - A crackdown on corporate culture

    4 September 2015

    Corporate culture, and its role in shaping conduct within the financial services sector, is now clearly at the forefront of ASIC's enforcement agenda. This focus was apparent in ASIC's 2014-2015 strategic outlook, released in October 2014, which identified corporate culture as a key risk driver and poor culture within the financial services sector as a root cause of conduct that threatens the integrity of the financial services industry.

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  • Unravelled: The beginning of the end of the unit trust's monopoly? A look at corporate CIVs

    4 September 2015

    The Board of Taxation's report on tax arrangements applying to collective investment vehicles advocates extending tax neutrality to three additional collective investment vehicles: corporates (modelled on the Luxembourg SICAV), limited partnerships and common contractual funds. In this issue, we examine the key characteristics of corporate collective investment vehicles and some of the implications of their introduction and use in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: The UK's focus on personal accountability for bank employees: a sign of things to come?

    4 September 2015

    Last month we discussed the 'carrot' in the UK Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards – how the regulators are making sure remuneration for bank staff encourages prudent risk behaviour. This month we are looking at the 'stick' – how the UK is strengthening regulators' enforcement armoury to enable them to more easily take action against individuals who do not meet the conduct standards expected of them.

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  • Unravelled: Financial System Inquiry: where are we at?

    5 August 2015

    Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey released the Financial System Inquiry report on 7 December 2014 saying that: '[the] report I release today delivers on our election commitment and lays out a blueprint for the financial system over the next decade.' And he is right – the Government did, as promised, commission an inquiry and the report does set out recommendations for how the financial system 'could be positioned to best meet Australia's evolving needs and support Australia's economic growth'. But the electorate may have hoped for more than a report and a blueprint. Of more interest will be whether the blueprint will be implemented. And here, the Treasurer has been more circumspect.

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  • Unravelled: Regulating bonuses: will Australia be next?

    5 August 2015

    The UK's Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority released rules, in June this year, to further tighten what are already fairly onerous restrictions on the payment of bonuses to staff in banks, building societies and certain big investment firms. The world's financial regulators have, for some time, been trying to crack down on what they consider to be inappropriate remuneration structures and it begs the question – will Australia be next?

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  • Client Update: AIFMD - the future of marketing to European investors

    31 July 2015

    The European Securities and Markets Association has published its initial advice and opinion on the functioning of the marketing passport and national private placement regimes since the implementation of AIFMD, and the possibility of extending the marketing passport to non-European fund managers. Although the scope of the advice is limited, the key takeaways are that the introduction of a marketing passport for Australian fund managers and the abolition of national private placement regimes still look to be some way off. Partner Marc Kemp, Senior Overseas Practitioner James Kanabar and Law Graduate Sophie Allchurch report.

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  • Unravelled: The beginning of the end of the unit trust's monopoly?

    3 July 2015

    It is surprising the Federal Government did not make more of its release on 4 June of the Board of Taxation's report on tax arrangements applying to collective investment vehicles. We can only assume that the government was slightly embarrassed that the report, handed to the previous government in 2011, has taken nearly four years to emerge, blinking, into the light. Be that as it may, it is here now, and it makes for interesting reading. If the Board's recommendations are followed, they will change the Australian funds management industry. Put at its most basic, the report recommends nothing less than breaking the near-monopoly that the unit trust has held over collective investment vehicles in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: How to avoid anti-money laundering compliance headaches - financial product issues

    3 July 2015

    Issues of securities, interests in managed investment schemes and other types of financial products typically involve a number of 'designated services' under Australia's anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime. However, in the midst of preparing governing documents, disclosure documents and negotiating with service providers, it is all too easy for parties to neglect AML/CTF issues when preparing for a product launch. They should not, particularly in light of recent developments on the AML/CTF front.

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  • Unravelled: Full Federal Court rules against agreed civil penalties

    4 June 2015

    Ecstasy, cocaine and industrial action at a construction site are unlikely subjects for an article on financial services regulation. They are, however, the things that have led to what could be a significant change to the way in which financial services regulators like ASIC and APRA can resolve civil penalty proceedings.

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  • Unravelled: Tax musings

    4 June 2015

    You would need to have been living under a large rock with your hearing aid turned off not to be aware of the current debates raging in relation to tax. But it is hard to sort the wood from the trees or the real facts and issues from all the surrounding noise.

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  • Paper: Funding a Fund: The growth of the capital call facility

    25 May 2015

    The Australian corporate debt market is primed for growth, with an increase in the number of funds providing direct lending as an alternative source of financing to the traditional lending dominated by domestic banks. In this paper, Partner Tom Highnam and Senior Associate Rita Pang examine the growth of one of the methods by which funds use and raise debt - the capital call facility.

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  • Unravelled: Attribution MITs - why try to fix something that wasn't broken?

    6 May 2015

    The exposure draft Bill for the taxation of 'attribution managed investment trusts' has been received with much hand-wringing and plaintive cries of 'what does it all mean?'. A threshold question is whether your MIT will fall within the regime. The text of the Bill makes that question difficult to answer.

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  • Focus: Managed investment trusts exposure draft legislation: impacts on funds management industry

    15 April 2015

    Exposure draft legislation to implement the long-awaited changes to the tax regime for managed investment trusts has been released. The amendments are lengthy and complicated, and will require systems changes and careful review of trust deeds and constitutions. Although the new regime will apply automatically to MITs that qualify as 'Attribution MITs', Treasury is considering making participation in the new regime elective for existing MITs. Partner Charles Armitage and Managing Associate Judith Taylor outline some important features of the new regime and the likely impacts on the funds management industry.

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