From the CEO October 2021

4 Oct 2021

Dear all,

I hope you’re keeping well and are looking forward to an easing of restrictions to welcome in the warmer weather.

Acquisition news

As you will have seen in my recent email, this week we announced that Zenith Group has been acquired by global research, data and technology business, FE fundinfo. Headquartered in the UK, FE fundinfo has access to the expertise of more than 800 people across 15 countries with deep connectivity with over 900 fund managers, 3,500+ adviser firms, and ESG research and technology platforms. Their strategic plan is to scale globally, underpinned by acquisition of financial data and technology businesses in key markets, connecting fund managers and distributors to drive more efficient investment decisions.

This is a really exciting announcement for the Group - the two businesses are a strong strategic and cultural fit and will bring together two of the leading fund data and research providers in Europe and the APAC region. The combined group creates a compelling opportunity to provide a significantly enhanced service offering with broader global reach and I’m looking forward to leading the Australian arm of the business through this really exciting period of change. For now, clients should be assured that our focus remains on delivering the high-quality products, solutions and client service they have come to expect from the Group.

New managed account portfolios on FirstChoice

We’re really pleased to have launched a suite of managed account portfolios on the FirstChoice platform last week.  Zenith’s range of actively managed specialist portfolios includes five portfolio types covering conservative to high growth risk profiles, and draws on our high-quality, qualitative fund research to deliver a suite of premium portfolios to meet varied investment objectives. More detailed information about the range of portfolios available on FirstChoice can be found here.

The launch of our specialist portfolios on CFS FirstChoice is yet another proof-point in the growing popularity of managed accounts. It’s been pleasing to see the continued growth in the usage of this product structure to drive more transparency, stronger compliance and higher performance potential for clients and greater efficiencies for financial advisers’ businesses.

Product Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO)

As you’d be aware, the new DDO obligations for the industry came into effect this week and we’ve been working closely with fund managers to ensure Zenith’s obligations as a provider of product research and consulting services are met. This includes being notified of Target Market Determinations (TMDs) for all products (offered to retail investors) that we rate. We’re continuing to work with fund managers to ensure all requirements are met in the most efficient manner.

Upcoming CPD-accredited webinar

On 11 October, we’re hosting a webinar on a really timely topic, Learning how to ‘compare the pair’ – understanding Australia’s super sector. Showcasing thought leaders from both the Chant West and Zenith businesses, Ian Fryer (General Manager, Chant West) and Andrew Yap (Zenith’s Head of Multi-Asset and Australian Fixed Income) will be joined by Rest Super CIO Andrew Lill, where they’ll share their unique insights to help advisers better understand and ultimately compare different super fund categories. Register today for what should be a really informative discussion.

Zenith Fund Awards

It’s that time of year again when we get the opportunity to celebrate excellence in funds management through our annual Fund Manager of the Year Awards. While it’s disappointing to be in the position to have to run the event online again, we’re looking forward to sharing the winners with you following the event on 15 October.  Congratulations to the finalists and good luck to all of the category nominees.

Team news

We recently appointed long-standing research team member Dugald (Dug) Higgins to the expanded role of Head of Responsible Investment & Real Assets, leading the growth of the business’ responsible investment offering to meet increased demand for ESG insights from financial advisers.

As a business, we believe responsible investment issues should be fully incorporated into the broader fund analysis process. Dug’s strong research background and extensive work over the past few years on our Responsible Investment Classifications for all funds under coverage, will bring a unique perspective on how this needs to work in order to optimise outcomes for investors.

It was increasingly important to the business to have a dedicated resource to give ESG the focus it needs, which will ultimately deliver a stronger capability and more consistent approach to responsible investing across the Zenith Group.

In closing

We know some parts of our community are doing it tough at the moment and it’s been heartening to see the way in which our industry has rallied and continued to support the broader community. Through a variety of Group-wide initiatives, we’ve had the privilege to be able to support to a number of charities recently including Wayside Chapel, Foodbank Australia, Western Chances, Lifeline Australia, Care Australia, Black Dog Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Western Health, the UNHCR, Woodford Rural Fire Brigade, and Erdhiem Chester Disease Global Alliance. The range of charities reflects the diverse but personal interests of our staff and we’re pleased to have been able to support these groups in a meaningful way.

Stay well and take care.

David Wright

Chief Executive Officer

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(03) 9642 3320

Monday - Friday
8:30am - 5:30pm AEST

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