As Australia’s $2.7 trillion pool of managed fund capital grows, it is becoming increasingly more important to consider ESG factors. This is for several reasons; on the one hand there is increased scrutiny from consumers but it is also important in exercising fiduciary duty through improved risk management and a longer term focus to the benefit of super beneficiaries.

We are grateful to Jim Boynton & Rohan Cush of leading law firm King & Wood Mallesons for their permission to use this article.The passing of the Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Bill 2017 (Bill) marks another milestone for one aspect of a wide range of ongoing reforms in the Australian life insurance sector.

Two things are clear from the latest Australian Investment Managers Cross-Border Flows report: demand for Australian investment products and expertise from overseas is up again; and removing the last of the taxation barriers could transform the growth ebb into a groundswell.

What are consumers worried about? What are they thinking about? What do they want?As the CEO of the Financial Services Council, obviously I have to understand what my members want and need across our portfolios of wealth, funds and asset management, life insurance, superannuation, financial advice networks and trustee companies, but it's also very important to me to understand what consumers are thinking about.

Since 2013 the superannuation industry has been working to implement the Data and Payment Standards (SuperStream). These standards are now the “business-as-usual” operating model for rollovers for all APRA-regulated funds and for contributions for all APRA-regulated funds, SMSFs and large employers. Small employers should mostly all be on board by 1 July 2016. 

Australia will be the winner if the mooted company tax cut is quickly passed by Parliament.There are challenging arguments which must be won for the benefits to flow.If essential reforms can be defeated by populist arguments, Australia would already be a Banana Republic as Paul Keating feared in the 1980s.

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