Archived News for Finance Sector Professionals
The Australian Trade Commission (ATC) has released research that shows the Australian financial market remained strong and well positioned to capatalise on the country’s economic growth.
“This reflects the resilience of Australia’s robust financial markets in the face of continued world capital market volatility. In 2011, Australia’s corporate finance activities – mergers and acquisitions (M&A), equity, syndicated loans, project finance and debt finance – remained among the most active and significant in the world,” the report found.
The report found that M&A activity remained strong despite a easing of US$119 billion after years of consecutive strong growth. Globally, Australia is positioned fourth in gross M&A activity, with a 4.6 per cent global market share.
The Federal Government has announced it will implement the third and final element of an investment manager regime (IMR), which was a key recommendation of the Johnson Report. The IMR will be backdated to 1 July 2011.
The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, said "The IMR will provide certainty of tax treatment for the funds management sector, which in Australia has $1.8 trillion of funds under management (or 131 per cent of Australia's GDP) - $61 billion of which comes from offshore, and will further enhance Australia as a financial services centre in the Asia Pacific region."
The announcement means income, gains or losses, which have an Australian source, from portfolio interests or financial arrangements of a foreign managed fund, will be excluded from the calculation of the fund's taxable income (and that of its non-resident investors).
The exemption will not apply to the extent that withholding tax is currently payable on the income.
Furthermore, the exemption will not cover income or gains from an interest, other than a portfolio interest in a publicly traded company, in taxable Australian property.
The exemption will be restricted to foreign managed funds domiciled in countries that are recognised by Australia as engaging in effective exchange of information.
The third element of the IMR has been the subject of a Board of Taxation review. The Board's report - Review of an Investment Manager Regime as it relates to Foreign Managed Funds - can be found on the Board's website at www.taxboard.gov.au. The Government's response to the Board's recommendations can be found here.
Legislation for the first two stages of the IMR, announced in December 2010 and January 2011 respectively, is currently being finalised and is expected to be introduced into Parliament in the first half of 2012.
Mr Shorten said that, as recommended by the Board of Taxation, the Government has decided to extend the previously announced element 2 (which exempts from Australian tax the conduit income of foreign funds portfolio investments) to foreign non-portfolio investments of managed funds.
"The implementation of the IMR for managed funds ensures that Australia's taxing arrangements with regards to passive portfolio investments are in line with international norms and will make Australia a more attractive place to do business for foreign funds", Mr Shorten said.
The Government will consult with industry and tax professionals on the development of the legislation to implement the final element of the IMR.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has demanded amendments to existing superannuation agreements to ensure that employers pay shortfalls in superannuation to avoid extensive cuts to the 80,000 employees in the higher education sector.
The Federal Government announced that Southern Cross Venture Partners has been appointed fund manager of the country’s largest renewable energy venture capital fund, making available a total of $200 million to support renewable energy companies from early next year.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has announced two new senior appointments to the positions of Executive General Manager of the Diversified Institutions Division and Executive General Manager of the Supervisory Support Division.
The Federal Government has released a discussion paper for consultation on reforms to develop the country’s retail corporate bond market in Australia.
A report authored by Dr Oliver Mar Hatwich from the Centre for Independent Studies has found that Australia has become one of the most expensive countries to live in, thanks to Federal Government policies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced it will contact 30 Australian financial services licensees to form part of the commission’s review of financial advice industry practice.
All four of the major Australian banks have passed on Tuesday’s rates cut, with ANZ being the first of to pass on the rate reduction, lowering its rates for mortgages and small business lending by 0.25 per cent, reducing its standard variable rate to 7.3 per cent.
Results published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the Australian economy is growing faster than expected, notching up a 1 per cent growth rate in the September quarter.
The Federal Government has announced the extension of drawdown relief for account-based pensions to the 2012-13 financial year, following a 25 per cent reduction to the minimum payment amounts for such accounts.