The PRWIRE Press Releases http:// 2017-02-16T02:19:19Z Providence Gains Global Insight from London 2017-02-16T02:19:19Z providence-gains-global-insight-from-london Sydney, 16 February, 2017 Australian independent investment advisory firm Providence has appointed Will Porter to the newly created role of Global Research Manager based in London, in order to broaden research insight.  Having access to global fund managers in London, Will Porter will be delivering insights on global themes in asset allocation and investment markets to Providence’s Australian-based investment committee and executive team, for the benefit of Providence’s clients. Will Porter has over ten years’ experience in the investment market, most recently as Providence’s Sydney-based Australian Equities Manager. He has had responsibility for equity research and asset classes, maintaining model equity portfolios and monitoring investment performance. Grant Patterson, Managing Director of Providence explained the importance of this new London-based role. “These are uniquely uncertain economic times. We recognise that changes occurring at a global level may significantly affect the investment decisions we make locally. Having our dedicated resource in London, a world financial capital, will continue to enhance our global perspective and maintain our alignment with global investment themes” he said. “At Providence we pride ourselves on providing expert and truly independent investment management and advice to our clients. We believe that Will’s presence in London will enhance our ability to safely navigate these uncertain times on behalf of our clients, in a global context.” Currently in its 16th year of operation, and with a 185% growth of Funds Under Management (FUM) over the past 5 years, Providence has $1bn of funds under management on behalf of Australian individuals, families and not-for-profit organisations from its Sydney and Melbourne offices. About Providence: Providence was established in 2000 as an independent advisory firm providing independent, expert advice and investment strategies to high net worth individuals, families and not-for-profit organisations. For more information, please visit www.providencewealth.com.au Alternative asset growth supports Blue Sky’s 130 per cent profit surge 2017-02-09T21:50:08Z alternative-asset-growth-supports-blue-sky-s-130-per-cent-profit-surge Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX: BLA) today announced its results for the half year ending 31 December 2016, reporting a significant rise in revenue, profitability, cash flow, margins and fee-earning assets under management (AUM). Highlights include: underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) for 1H FY17 up 130 per cent to $10.1 million (1H FY16: $4.4 million); underlying EBITDA margins for 1H FY17 expanding to 41 per cent (1H FY16: 28 per cent) underlying income for the period up 53 per cent to $36.4 million (1H FY16: $23.8 million); and net operating cash flow for 1H FY17 up 200 per cent to $9.3 million (1H FY16: $3.1 million). The company maintained it was on track to deliver underlying NPAT of $24 to $26 million in FY17, representing approximately 50 per cent growth on FY16. Blue Sky’s fee-earning AUM at 31 December 2016 was $2.7 billion, with the company adding $1 billion in the last twelve months. The fund manager saw a significant rise in investments from Australian and overseas institutional investors, from 25 per cent to 37 per cent of its fee-earning AUM during the period – a trend that has continued in 2017 with Blue Sky announcing a new significant mandate in January. Fee-earning AUM is expected to be between $3.1 and $3.3 billion by 30 June 2017. The company confirmed it was on track to meet or exceed its longer-term target of $5 billion by 30 June 2019. The alternative asset manager outperformed market benchmarks in each of its asset classes – private equity and venture capital, private real estate, real assets and hedge funds – delivering investment performance of 16.4 per cent per annum net of fees since its inception more than ten years ago. Blue Sky reported a robust balance sheet with net tangible assets of $134 million including a net cash position of $52.1 million. The strength of Blue Sky’s balance sheet has become a key strategic asset for the business attracting and investing alongside institutional investors, seeding new ventures, and moving quickly to secure new investment opportunities. Blue Sky managing director Robert Shand said the company’s strong financial performance came down to three key drivers: the mainstreaming of alternatives, the company’s compelling ten-year track record and institutional backing. “We have returned 16.4 per cent per annum net of fees over ten years to investors, and have won the endorsement of major institutions,” Mr Shand said. “Long-term trends have seen investors increase their allocation to alternatives and we are benefiting from the same structural tailwinds as global alternative asset managers such as Blackstone and Partners Group.[1] “While we have done well to grow to $2.7 billion in fee-earning AUM in our first ten years, we have barely scratched the surface. Australia’s funds management industry has $2.8 trillion under management, and with alternatives forecast to be our largest asset class in the next decade, the opportunity in front of us is enormous.” [2] A McKinsey & Company report noted growth in alternative investments continued to outstrip that of traditional assets. “The alts boom is likely to be one of the richest asset management growth opportunities in the years to come,” the international report states.[3] Closer to home, Australia’s Future Fund allocates nearly 40 per cent of its portfolios to alternatives.[4] “We continue to […] seek out and access pockets of opportunity particularly in our private market and alternatives programs,” Future Fund managing director David Neal said.[5] ABS data shows that over the last decade, the value of listed equities has treaded water, increasing from $1.66 trillion to just $1.69 trillion. Over the same period, the value of unlisted equities has increased by almost 50 per cent, from $1.96 trillion to $2.95 trillion. The size of unlisted equities in Australia today is approximately 74 per cent more than listed equities. [6] “What investors have experienced in Australia over the last decade is that growth in private markets has far outstripped growth in public markets. As a business that has specialised in investing in private markets, we are uniquely positioned to capitalise on this growth,” Mr Shand concluded. ENDS Note to editor Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited (Blue Sky) (ASX:BLA) is a leading diversified alternative investment asset manager. Blue Sky was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in January 2012 and is the only listed fund manager in Australia focused on a diversified portfolio of alternative assets. Established in 2006, Blue Sky has generated strong returns uncorrelated with Australian listed equity markets. Blue Sky has offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and New York, a team of more than 80 and a broad investor base including institutional, wholesale and retail clients. Alternative assets include direct investment in private equity, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds and other real assets. For real-time company announcements, investment opportunities and investment performance, download the Blue Sky Fingerprint app from the App Store or Google Play. www.blueskyfunds.com.au For more information please contact: Miette Lelievre | 0431 854 878 | mlelievre@agencynorth.com.au Celia Brightwell | 0423 949 727 | cbrightwell@agencynorth.com.au [1] From 2007 to 2016, Partners Group AUM has grown from EUR12.6 to EUR49.1 billion (1H 2016 interim report) and Blackstone from US$83.2 to US$277.1 billion (FY2009 report & FY2016 report) [2] Rainmaker Roundup Volume 20 Number 3 Sep Quarter 2016 [3] McKinsey & Company, Thriving in the New Abnormal - North American Asset Management, Nov 16 [4] Future Fund, Portfolio Update at 31 Dec 16 [5] Future Fund, Portfolio Update at 30 Jun 16 [6]Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Accounts; Finance and Wealth Sep 2016 Data Series Millennials encouraged to take action on their wealth goals 2017-02-09T03:40:31Z millennials-encouraged-to-take-action-on-their-wealth-goals Millennials concerned about housing affordability need to take urgent action on their financial future, according to Gen Y property adviser Nidal Rasheed. Nidal is Managing Director of Silvertail Property Group and said Millennials were not the entitled generation but were living in an era where it was harder than ever to own a home and “things don’t look like they’re getting easier”. “We’re the ones who have to carry the debt for previous generations and I don’t believe our retirement will be same. However, we need to stop putting off decisions and act,” he says. “What we find with a lot of younger investors is: they wait for someone to inspire them to make a decision about investing. “Often a Millennial might hear success stories like ‘the 21-year-old who has bought seven properties’ and be inspired by that. They take a few steps into some financial planning, but the minute it gets hard, many of them give up. “Younger buyers and first home owners can in fact have some advantages other property investors because they may be eligible for a 97% loan and a grant from government for construction. They may also receive stamp duty concession. “This means they need very little money out-of-pocket to get into their first home which in many cases could serve as a stepping stone to bigger and better opportunities later in life.” Nidal says younger investors could stick to a five-point plan: 1.       Become aware of your current financial position and be accountable to your financial future – “there’s no point trying to blame society or the Baby Boomers or the government, you need to take charge,” Nidal says. 2.       Decide how you want to improve your situation – do you want to work longer hours, set up an online business, invest in shares, invest in property? “If you haven’t mentally committed to some action, it’s never going to hold any weight”. 3.       Seek advice – find some professionals that have done what you want to do; or find a mentor or coach to guide you. “You could begin by meeting a financial adviser or accountant to start pointing you in the right direction”. 4.       Act – when an opportunity presents itself, take it. “Apply for that finance pre-approval, make an offer on a property, buy some shares.” 5.       Evaluate – this is where a lot of investors fail; they make a decision but if their investment plan doesn’t immediately work out, they give up. “If it’s not working as expected, you need to rejig your plan. It’s also vital to have the right expectations and understand there’s no such thing as overnight riches especially when it comes to property – it’s a long-term strategy,” Nidal says.   Direct investment strategies likely to outperform according to report released today by BondAdviser 2017-02-05T21:30:00Z direct-investment-strategies-likely-to-outperform-according-to-report-released-today-by-bondadviser Melbourne: 3rd February 2017: Tactical trading strategies particularly in the direct securities sector will provide the strongest opportunities for Australian bond investors during the first half of 2017 according to a report released today by BondAdviser, Australia’s only specialist independent fixed income research platform.   The “First Half 2017 Outlook: Where to from here?” report also found the potentially steeper yield curve could make it difficult for Australian bond investors who are using index based methodologies and passive long-only strategies to outperform.   In 2016, gross issuance was limited in the ASX market with ~$7 billion printed across seven transactions and net issuance of $5.6 billion due to the redemptions.  Secondary volume improved (up 28%) compared to 2015, but sector diversity remained skewed with bank hybrids continuing to dominate the market.   Geoff Malkin, Managing Director of BondAdviser, commented: “The chase for yield is still on in 2017 with persistently low term deposit rates on the one hand and capital preservation on everyone’s mind in a 'Trump gone mad world’.  Access to the widest range of credit and interest rate securities that guarantee regular interest and certainty of maturity will be paramount to ensure stability in investors’ portfolios.”   Other key findings in the Outlook Report include: The inflexion point for equal allocation between credit risk and interest rate risk is fast approaching. Investors will have to be diligent and timely in their execution but the steepness of the swap curve should provide sufficient protection against any selloff; Demand for yield products could not be stronger and if anything, the lack of net issuance has created illiquidity and/or a scarcity premium; The expectation of low official interest rates for longer has not changed. The key now is understanding how international growth policies will affect the domestic yield curve; Analysis suggests we are in the final stages of the property cycle. Interest rates are expected to bottom out over the next 2 years and as a result, there will be downward pressure on asset prices.  Nearing the apex of the property cycle, prefer low-geared, diversified A-REITs with limited exposure to on-balance sheet developments will be most favourable; Regulatory reforms continue to dominate the health care sector where potential earnings volatility for service providers could spark concerns for debt investors; The performance of the ASX Listed Debt and Hybrid market in 2016 is unlikely to be repeated in 2017. While we expect demand to remain high valuations are no longer as favourable; Credit markets continue to be well-supported by solid fundamentals but political and macroeconomic risks have cast doubt into corporate capital investment and hence net issuance from corporate borrowers has been limited. The full Report is made available to BondAdviser customers and subscribers.  For more details please visit www.bondadviser.com.au  / Ends  Note to Editors The Outlook Report is available for interested media as a reference source.  Please contact Pru Quinlan.  About BondAdviser BondAdviser is Australia’s only specialist independent fixed income research platform providing valuable information and clear investment recommendations for all ASX-listed interest rate securities and a broad range of over-the-counter corporate bonds.   The company is not aligned to any financial services organisation and the executive team brings over 75 years’ combined experience in the fixed income sector.  Our highly-experienced team has developed a sophisticated and deep understanding of fixed income markets through long-term experience working in global and local bond markets, building impeccable credit management skills.  www.bondadviser.com.au  For more information please contact: Pru Quinlan Einsteinz Communications on behalf of Bond Adviser E: pru@einsteinz.com.au T: (02) 8905 0995 ThoughtWorks receives Australian government’s 2016 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation 2016-12-07T23:29:27Z thoughtworks-receives-australian-government-s-2016-employer-of-choice-for-gender-equality-citation December 8, 2016 – Sydney, Australia - ThoughtWorks, a global technology company with just over 300 ThoughtWorkers across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, has received the 2016 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation, awarded by the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The citation recognises ThoughtWorks’ active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces and is aligned with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, which acknowledges that gender equality is increasingly critical to an organisation’s success and is viewed as a baseline feature of well-managed and leading organisations. According to the WGEA, this year, despite more rigorous criteria, a record number of organisations have been granted the citation, indicating that commitment to workplace gender equality is gaining momentum. Trends in this year’s recipients include a focus on flexibility, greater support for women to progress into leadership positions and more sophisticated analysis of the causes of gender pay gaps. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are part of our DNA at ThoughtWorks. We are passionate about addressing gender imbalance in the tech industry and have taken deliberate steps to align the issue with our business mission,” said Ange Ferguson, Group Managing Director for ThoughtWorks Asia Pacific. “We invest in providing a workplace where ThoughtWorkers feel supported no matter their individual circumstances and strive to be a catalyst for positive change in the way women are viewed and treated. Our initiatives range from a focus on gender equality in recruitment to detailed gender remuneration analysis, internal policies and communities, and women in Leadership Development Programs. “We hire, support, and recognise all employees without penalty or privilege towards their gender identification, and are proud to stand out as a tech industry leader with nearly half our people in Australia identifying as female.” Since 2011, ThoughtWorks has set recruitment quotas with clear, achievable and measurable goals that are regularly assessed. Australian diversity figures for ThoughtWorkers who identify as female: - 49% ThoughtWorks Australia overall (Professional Services and Operations) - 47% ThoughtWorks Australia - Professional Services - 38% ThoughtWorks Australia – Software Developers A detailed bi-annual gender remuneration analysis has also become a primary focus for the company’s pay review process and helps identify differences in salary by grade, role and gender. Additionally, various internal initiatives ensure ThoughtWorks remains an inclusive workplace for all, including policies like flexible work, parental and other leave. “ThoughtWorks has a firm emphasis on supporting women returning to work, especially seeing as the fast pace of the tech world can sometimes mean people can feel left behind,” said Ange. This is supported by other initiatives including a Parents’ Community and a Womens’ Network, which identifies areas for improvement and greater equality within the business. Dedicated Women in Leadership Development Programs deliver tailored mentoring and support to ensure there is diversity within the company’s future leaders. Entrenched in the ThoughtWorks business, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of all decisions, and it encourages open and regular discussions about the issues driving inequities in the IT industry so all employees are aware of the company’s stance on diversity. “We want ThoughtWorks to be an attractive and inclusive workplace as an employer of choice, but also want to lead by example and hope others will aim higher with their own diversity initiatives. “After all, a more diverse and equitable tech industry is an improved tech industry, which ultimately will mean greater success for all,” concluded Ange. -ENDS- We want to hear from you. Continue the conversation on Twitter @thoughtworks Note to editors: ThoughtWorks in the US was recently awarded Top Company for Women in Tech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kffdp4aOdF0 - ahead of Google and Facebook - and was last week recognised in 19 Companies as Great as Google. About ThoughtWorks We are a software company and community of passionate purpose-led individuals. We think disruptively to deliver technology to address our clients’ toughest challenges all while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change. About WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) The WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation is designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces. The EOCGE citation commenced in 2014, replacing the predecessor citation, the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women. The citation is strategically aligned with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act), reflecting the change in focus of the legislation to promote and improve gender equality for both women and men, while recognising the historically disadvantaged position of women in the workplace. The EOCGE citation is a voluntary leading practice recognition program that is separate to compliance with the Act. Criteria for the citation cover leadership, learning and development, gender remuneration gaps, flexible working and other initiatives to support family responsibilities, employee consultation, preventing sex-based harassment and discrimination, and targets for improving gender equality outcomes. Criteria are regularly strengthened to reflect best practice. Super Industry Continues to Transform and Refine Digital Engagement Levels 2016-12-01T21:30:00Z super-industry-continues-to-transform-and-refine-digital-engagement-levels Melbourne, 2 December 2016 – Specialist technology, operations and risk consultancy, IQ Group has released the findings of its third annual study of the Superannuation sector’s digital engagement with members and employers. The IQ Group Digital Engagement Study 2016 reveals the super industry has transitioned from a legislative compliance focus towards a more functional digital relationship with employers and members.   IQ Group researched the Top 50, retail, industry and public sector Superannuation Funds that represent $2 trillion in Funds under Management across over 21 million memberships.   The IQ Group Digital Engagement Study revealed the influence of SuperStream initiatives in driving industry efficiencies with the provision of a Roll Over Online functionality and a strong increase in social media engagement programs.   Engagement with Employers from a digital perspective did not progress any further, however a new emergency of digital advisory services was monitored by the Study for the first time.   IQ Group CEO, Brian Peters said: “Over the past three years the Study’s results have reflected the industry’s increasing focus to be ‘digital ready’ and now to speak fluently the ‘digital language’ of member engagement. Funds of all sizes have made commitments to digital engagement and in turn we have seen employers and members react positively.   The study clearly shows, the overwhelming future direction is digital and we have an interesting road ahead to deliver services, engage members and employers – and now keep pace with the wider fintech landscape, populated increasingly with smaller players,” he continued.   Within the 2016 statistics we see that the three greatest areas of change include mobile optimisation of websites, development of a member app and online fund join capabilities for employers and then members. Mobile optimisation remained the greatest growth area for digital engagement for superannuation funds for the second year in a row.   The IQ Group Digital Engagement Study has been expanded to include new trends such as direct ASX trading options, financial advice requests and online or robo-advice.   While many funds provide superannuation and retirement calculators (92 per cent) and the ability for members to request financial advice (52 per cent); funds are also now developing robo-advice that allows members to build their financial profile and seek financial advice through an interactive portal.   Currently 8 per cent of superannuation funds studied are actively using robo-advice and many others are looking to expand their advisory services by combining digital innovation with financial planner interactions to engage members. Of the Top 50 retail, industry and public sector Superannuation Funds 30 per cent currently offer a direct ASX trading option.  Key findings include:  18 percent increase in online join members, 74 percent – up from 56 per cent 10 percent increase in online join employers, 66 percent – up from 56 per cent no change in in employer online, 98 percent 26 percent increase in member app, 44 percent – up from 18 per cent 6 percent increase in switch online, 98 percent – up from 92 per cent Sound increases in social media usage with Twitter experiencing the largest gains and then LinkedIn as the most favoured digital engagement platforms for fund members Nil availability of employer app Peters said: “Understanding member interactions and creating digital opportunities through the customer journey will be key moving forward. This will also apply to how funds elect to digitally engage with employers.   For the third year running, our study has seen no development of an application specifically for employers by the Top 50 funds. With the implementation of SuperStream contribution functionality the development has clearly been focused on delivering the legislated requirements through employer online websites and third party applications.   However, the future enhancements for legislative reforms including the Employer Single Payments Platform functionality, requires funds to consider employer relationships and the development of the customer experience through employer interactions that are simple, quick and cost effective, particularly for small employers.    An app designed for small employers that makes use of key usability features such as smart navigation may be instrumental in supporting employer relationships in the future,” he concluded.   For a copy of the report please contact Cathryn van der Walt on 0402 327 633.  /Ends  About IQ Group - www.iqgroup.com.au IQ Group has helped Superannuation and Wealth Management clients through unprecedented change for more than 10 years in Australia.  From our offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, over 80 specialist consultants are helping clients improve their operations and use of technology.  Our clients benefit from IQ Group’s domain experience and commitment to project delivery.  IQ Group is part of a global company with other offices in South Africa and USA.   Follow IQ Group: Our updates on Twitter at twitter.com/ @IQGroup_AUS Our insights on our Blog - http://www.iqgroup.com.au/intelligence/blog/  Media Enquiries:Cathryn van der Walt                     12 Worlds           0402 327 633                     cathryn@12worlds.com         All systems go at South Hill Armidale play space 2016-11-20T22:52:40Z all-systems-go-at-south-hill-armidale-play-space Regional Australia Bank, a proud supporter of the South Hill Armidale Play Space, is pleased to report that works have started on the highly anticipated project with completion now set for December 2016. The project, which is the brain-child of the Armidale District Netball Association, started six years ago, however it wasn’t until the project was posted on Regional Australia Bank’s ‘Heart of our Community’ website that it gained genuine traction. “We started this journey back in 2010, when we identified as part of our strategic plan, a need for a safe and secure play space for children, close to the netball courts,” said Rochelle Joyce, Armidale District Netball Association. “By 2013 a change in priorities saw us focus on the play space a little more and that’s when we decided to launch our plans and post it on the ‘Heart of our Community' website and then just like that, the project took off and we raised $125,000 in just under 12 months.” The idea behind the project was to make it easy for women to get back into or engage in sport and physical activity after having children so Rochelle says it’s great to see this vision finally taking shape. The Play Space will feature state of the art equipment including a 3.5 metre climbing cube, a fort, a birds nest swing, two spinners and an embankment slide. It will also offer children a sensory experience with textured plants, a nature area and a fully fenced pathway linking the netball courts to the play space. Kevin Dupé, CEO, Regional Australia Bank said: “The construction of the South Hill Armidale Play Space is wonderful news that will no doubt be welcomed by the entire community and we are pleased to see progress being made as a result of our contribution.” Mr Dupé added “It’s particularly rewarding for us as a Bank because one of the best things about our ‘Heart of our Community’ initiative is that there is no eligibility criteria for applying. You simply post your project, idea, or event and garner community support for it. The more votes, the higher the project ranks in that community, it’s as simple as that.” Regional Australia Bank is proud to have helped many wonderful community ideas come to life thanks to its ‘Heart of our Community’ initiative. Community members who are interested in the park’s progress should contact Armidale Regional Council or the Armidale District Netball Association. - Ends - Media enquiries: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 Editor’s Note: It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. PropertyAnt: a new online platform helping the next generation of property investors 2016-11-08T23:52:06Z propertyant-a-new-online-platform-helping-the-next-generation-of-property-investors Property investment has been a hot topic for the last few years and research shows that new investors are starting earlier in life and are more likely to own several rental properties over their lifetime. These investors are typically time poor and may not have the budget to engage with a professional buyer’s agent face-to-face. PropertyAnt is a new service that has been created to service this growing market segment. The 100 per cent online and mobile solution matches investors with the right tools, experts, programs and strategies that will enable them to feel confident about making property investment decisions.   The platform analyses a Members financial position and suggests tutorials designed to fill any gap(s) in their knowledge of the property market. Real time alerts notify Members when properties that meet their investment goals become available.   According to PropertyAnt co-founder Alexander Hassall, as online services have developed so too have consumer’s expectations about their online experience. “People now expect to be able to access information that is personalised, current and actionable. We created PropertyAnt to help everyday Aussies looking at getting into the property market to take the next step”.   The launch of the service coincides with the increase in so-called ‘rent-vesters’. Instead of buying the property they want, people rent a home and then invest their leftover money elsewhere. The difficulty with this is that the most suitable investment properties may not be in areas that the investor is familiar with. PropertyAnt overcomes this by providing users with a suburb profile as well as a breakdown of rental yield, projected growth and a cash flow assessment for each property.   “Property prices have increased rapidly over the last few years and instead of putting your hands up and saying it’s too expensive, we want to empower people so they can enter the property market with confidence”, Hassall said.   Becoming a Member of PropertyAnt is free and gives users access to a personalised Investor Snapshot outlining their current financial position and the amount they may be able to invest. To access premium content including real time property alerts users will need to sign up for a $99 annual subscription. Regional Australia Bank backs Warialda Play Park upgrade 2016-10-31T02:42:27Z regional-australia-bank-backs-warialda-play-park-upgrade Warialda locals are being encouraged to put their support behind the Warialda Play Park upgrade as part the Regional Australia Bank ‘Heart of our Community’ initiative. The initiative which was established in 2012 has already seen many wonderful ideas come to life thanks to community members posting an idea or project to the Banks Heart of our Community website and garnering support by fellow community members. Debbie Ford is the driving force behind the Play Park upgrade and says she is really excited about the prospect of funding from the Bank. “We’ve been working towards an upgrade to the park for a few years now. Some of the equipment was so old, it no longer met Australian standards so when the opportunity to post the idea on The Heart of our Community website came up, we jumped on it ,” said Debbie. Regional Australia Bank is likewise enthusiastic about this project and has committed up to $8,000 for the upgrade if the project receives enough votes of community support. “For every vote, Regional Australia Bank will contribute $40 toward the project and elevate the status of the project toward the top ranked ideas for that community,” says Matthew Hayes, Area Manager, Regional Australia Bank. “We will assess the votes at the end of December and hopefully the project will have received the 200 votes it needs to receive the full $8,000 from the Bank.” Plans for the upgrade include the addition of a swing with a seat belt for younger kids, appropriate equipment for kids over 10, a fence around the entire play area and additional seating in the area. Soft fall ground cover is also on the wish list. “Basically I want to make the play area as beautiful as the rest of the park, so that it becomes a place where children and their parents can spend time together outdoors but also a place where visitors want to stop off when they are passing through,” said Debbie. Community members can vote for this project by registering on Regional Australia Banks ‘Heart of our Community’ website www.heartofourcommunity.com.au. - Ends - Contact: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 Editor’s Note: It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. Regional Australia Bank takes on the Challenge 2016-10-31T00:03:30Z regional-australia-bank-takes-on-the-challenge In the latest of a series of community partnership deals, Regional Australia Bank is throwing its support behind the Inverell Toughen Up Challenge with a three-year naming rights sponsorship. Alex Ribeiro, Inverell Branch Manager, Regional Australia Bank said: “partnering with the Inverell Toughen Up Challenge was a perfect fit for the Bank. It is an excellent event that puts value back into the community. It also draws a lot of people to the area from the surrounding region, which is great for the local Inverell economy and ultimately supports the Bank’s commitment to regional prosperity.” The Challenge which involves teams of four people completing a 9km square course throughout the Inverell CBD, sees people of ages from eight to eighty take part and has grown exponentially over the last five years. “When we first started out, we never envisaged the event would become so popular,” said Lynn Lennon, Inverell Toughen Up Committee Member. “Naturally, we sought out a like-minded organisation to partner with to support this growth and it made sense to approach Regional Australia Bank. We operate under the same ethos, with proceeds of the event going back into ‘bricks and mortar’ within the community in the same way the Bank puts 5% of its profits back into the community." On top of that Lynn says the Bank has been a great supporter of the event over the years and is already so involved in the community “they are just awesome” she added. The Challenge has both competitive and non-competitive divisions and has been designed with inclusion in mind so that people of all fitness and skill levels can participate. Lynn says it doesn’t matter if you’re not good at sports because there’s puzzles, swimming, tyre flipping – the works. It can be done by anyone. That’s the other thing that got the Banks attention explains Alex. “It is family orientated so both kids and adults alike can take part, in fact, my kids have done it twice now and it’s tons of fun.” The 2017 Regional Australia Bank Inverell Toughen Up Challenge takes place on Friday 10th March 2017 for the Juniors, with the main event on Saturday 11th March 2017 for the Adults. Registrations are now open and can be found at http://inverelltoughenup.net/ - Ends - Contact: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 Editor’s Note: It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. finPOWER Connect Teams Up with Secured Signing 2016-10-10T20:44:27Z finpower-connect-teams-up-with-secured-signing 11 October 2016 - finPOWER Connect's partnership with Secured Signing enables borrowers to complete loan origination documents in minutes, using secure, online signing without lenders needing to work across multiple systems. Being the first to offer a customer a loan is often the difference between winning that business and losing it. finPOWER Connect understands the highly competitive nature off the financial services sector and equips their customers with the tools to be responsive and dynamic.  Partnering with Secured Signing has extended the reach of the finPOWER Connect system to access the speed and convenience of online signing of loan origination documents and the authenticity and reliability only possible with PKI based digital signatures. The ability to send documents for online signing directly from within finPOWER Connect is quick and convenient for the lender's staff and saves the business the cost and wasted effort of working with paper. Secured Signing enables customers to sign with a few touches on whatever device they have handy, wherever they happen to be, whenever it suits them. A great mobile experience makes it easier for the customer and means the transaction can be completed within minutes.  Security is not sacrificed for convenience, with Secured Signing delivering personal, PKI based digital signatures that can be validated independently to verify the identity of the person who signed the document and the integrity of the document content.  “Integrating Secured Signing's capabilities into finPOWER Connect gives our customers the simplest path to offer borrowers the convenience of online signing, while ensuring they continue to meet their compliance obligations.” said Paul Thompson, CEO of Intersoft Systems, the developer of finPOWER Connect. “Customers are now able to access a reliable, powerful, local digital signatures platform without having to learn a new system or work across platforms.” The development team at Intersoft Systems have taken full advantage of the comprehensive integration toolkit (API) provided by Secured Signing.  The round trip integration provides full visibility of the signing workflow within finPOWER Connect. And saves the signed document against the relevant borrower and loan records with no manual effort. The end result is time saved for both lender and borrower, significantly quicker execution of the transaction and the compliance value of a demonstrably authentic and tamper proof electronic original. About finPOWER Connect and Intersoft Systems finPOWER Connect, the market leading loan management software system in use by over 400 sites around Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands is developed by Intersoft Systems Ltd. Intersoft Systems was formed in 1981 to bring quality commercial applications to the Personal Computer Business Systems Market in New Zealand. Since then Intersoft Systems has become a leader in the Finance Software markets in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. To learn more about finPOWER Connect, visit www.Intersoft.co.nz  About Secured Signing Secured Signing provides a comprehensive and secure SaaS digital signature service that delivers a full range of form completion and eSigning capabilities combining advanced personalised X509 PKI Digital Signature technology with easy-to-use, simple-to-deploy, compliant solutions. Secured Signing enables its users to utilise smartphones, PCs, any tablet device and any browser, to capture their graphical signature, fill-in, sign, seal and verify documents anywhere, anytime. The solution streamlines business processes, cuts back on expenses, expedites delivery cycles, improves staff efficiency and enhances customer service in a green environment. To learn more about Secured Signing, visit www.securedsigning.com.au ###   Regional Australia Bank continues revolutionary Community Partnership Program giving back over $4,000 to Bingara community 2016-10-03T23:08:22Z regional-australia-bank-continues-revolutionary-community-partnership-program-giving-back-over-4-000-to-bingara-community Monday, 4 October 2016 Regional Australia Bank continues revolutionary Community Partnership Program, giving back over $4,000 to Bingara community On Thursday, 29 September 2016, Regional Australia Bank reaffirmed its commitment to support the Bingara community by giving back $4,143.39 through its Community Partnership Program. After recently changing its name from New England Mutual to Regional Australia Bank, the transition was celebrated along with the donations. “The Community Partnership Program awards event presented a great opportunity to also celebrate the launch of our new brand, as the program reinforces just some of the ways we assist our customers and their communities.” said Kevin Dupé, CEO, Regional Australia Bank. “The Program continues to grow at over 30% each year as more and more people get on board.” The last 5 years has seen the Bank contribute over $1.5 million dollars to deserving community groups and it’s not stopping there. At Bingara Sporting Club, Regional Australia Bank awarded $4,143.39 to the Bingara community. Friends of Touriandi; Bingara Pony Club; Gwydir Rugby Club; and United Hospital Auxiliaries - Bingara, were just a few of the 19 groups to receive a donation. Alex Ribeiro, Branch Manager at Regional Australia Bank said: “we are passionate about giving back to our community and we are equally committed to empowering our customers to support local community groups they feel strongly about. That’s why we established the Community Partnership Program eight years ago.” The program that started out as one single account, has now been made available to all customers so that everyone can take part in what the Bank believes is a ‘revolution in community banking’. The Community Partnership Program works by customers opening a transaction account and selecting which group they would like to support. Regional Australia Bank then calculates the average annual balance of all supporter’s accounts and donates 1% of the total to the cause on the customers’ behalf, all without costing them a cent. “Because this program is an extension of our Community Support Program it comes at no cost to our customers and it authenticates our promise to operate in the best interests of our customers and communities,” explained Kevin “This customer owned structure means our customers not only benefit from fairer fees, competitive interest rates and the expertise from local specialists, they know they’re benefiting Regional Australia by helping it to prosper and thrive” he said. In addition to the Community Partnership Program, Regional Australia Bank also gives 5% of its net profits back to our community in sponsorships to local clubs, community organisations as well as contributing to regional infrastructure projects. “We’re immensely proud of our contribution to our community,” said Alex. “After all, it’s the opportunity to make a difference, to build communities and to create better places to live that drives so many of us – so it’s fitting that our customers, who are also members of our communities, lead the way in initiatives like this one” he added. Regional Australia Bank is pleased to be able to continue the Community Support Program so that it can also continue to deliver social and environmental returns to regional communities at every opportunity. - Ends - Contact: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 Editor’s Note: Similar events have already been held in the following surrounding towns: Friday, 16 September in Moree with $24,747.35 donated to 50 local community groups Friday, 16 September in Mungindi with $2,061.99 donated to 11 local community groups Other similar events are also planned for the following surrounding towns: Tuesday, 11 October in Warialda with $3,231.12 to be donated to 18 local community groups It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. Regional Australia Bank continues revolutionary Community Partnership Program 2016-10-03T23:05:34Z regional-australia-bank-continues-revolutionary-community-partnership-program On Thursday, 29 September 2016, Regional Australia Bank reaffirmed its commitment to support the Inverell, Bundarra and Ashford communities by giving back $48,322.76 through its Community Partnership Program. After recently changing its name from New England Mutual to Regional Australia Bank, the transition was celebrated along with the donations. “The Community Partnership Program awards event presented a great opportunity to also celebrate the launch of our new brand, as the program reinforces just some of the ways we assist our customers and their communities.” said Kevin Dupé, CEO, Regional Australia Bank. “The Program continues to grow at over 30% each year as more and more people get on board.” The last 5 years has seen the Bank contribute over $1.5 million dollars to deserving community groups and it’s not stopping there. At The Inverell Club Regional Australia Bank awarded $48,322.76 to the Inverell, Bundarra and Ashford communities. Inverell Breast Cancer Support Group; Ashford Ageing Care Facility; Bundarra CWA; Inverell Prostate Cancer Support Group; Inverell East Bowling Club; and Bright Access, were just a few of the 83 groups to receive a donation. Alex Ribeiro, Branch Manager at Regional Australia Bank said: “we are passionate about giving back to our community and we are equally committed to empowering our customers to support local community groups they feel strongly about. That’s why we established the Community Partnership Program eight years ago.” The program that started out as one single account, has now been made available to all customers so that everyone can take part in what the Bank believes is a ‘revolution in community banking’. The Community Partnership Program works by customers opening a transaction account and selecting which group they would like to support. Regional Australia Bank then calculates the average annual balance of all supporter’s accounts and donates 1% of the total to the cause on the customers’ behalf, all without costing them a cent. “Because this program is an extension of our Community Support Program it comes at no cost to our customers and it authenticates our promise to operate in the best interests of our customers and communities,” explained Kevin “This customer owned structure means our customers not only benefit from fairer fees, competitive interest rates and the expertise from local specialists, they know they’re benefiting Regional Australia by helping it to prosper and thrive,” he said. In addition to the Community Partnership Program, Regional Australia Bank also gives 5% of its net profits back to our community in sponsorships to local clubs, community organisations as well as contributing to regional infrastructure projects. “We’re immensely proud of our contribution to our community,” said Alex. “After all, it’s the opportunity to make a difference, to build communities and to create better places to live that drives so many of us – so it’s fitting that our customers, who are also members of our communities, lead the way in initiatives like this one” he added. Regional Australia Bank is pleased to be able to continue the Community Support Program so that it can also continue to deliver social and environmental returns to regional communities at every opportunity. - Ends - Contact: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 Editor’s Note: Similar events have already been held in the following surrounding towns: Thursday, 1 September in Guyra with $15,340.86 donated to 26 local community groups Wednesday, 7 September in Walcha with $8,263.76 donated to 22 local community groups Wednesday, 7 September in Tenterfield with $19,517.80 donated to 13 local community groups Thursday, 8 September in Armidale with $76,662.77 donated to 96 local community groups Thursday, 15 September in Uralla with $12,703.75 donated to 13 local community groups Wednesday, 21 September in Glen Innes with $33,919.40 donated to 30 local community groups It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. IQ Group Strengthens Consulting and Managed Services Capabilities with New Role Creation and New Hires 2016-09-04T21:30:00Z iq-group-strengthens-consulting-and-managed-services-capabilities-with-new-role-creation-and-new-hires Melbourne,  5 September  2016 – IQ Group, one of Australia’s most experienced consultancies in the superannuation and wealth management sector has completed a round of new hires and promotions to strengthen its Consultancy and Managed Services operations. To support the ongoing growth and strengthening of existing and new customer relationships a new role of Managing Principal has been created.  Filled by new hires, Regina Ugarte and Stuart Conboy, the role will match service opportunities creation to IQ Group IP for business technology strategy and solutions for existing and new clients.   For CEO Brian Peters, the recent additions to the team will support the strong demand for IQ Group’s specialist skills. “Our most recent financial year has resulted in strong results for IQ Group and this is both a reflection on the calibre of our people and the depth of our understanding for the wider financial services industry. The latest additions to our team will add to a broader capability of supporting banking, finance, super and wealth management organisations, plus assessing how the IQ Group IP can work in a traditional enterprise environment.” With over 16 years of experience in solution sales, consulting and customer service for recognised brands including Citi, Bloomberg, HSBC, Thompson Reuters and SunGard, Regina Ugarte will educate internal and external stakeholders on the benefits of the IQ Group catalogue of services and IP. Regina will be based in the Sydney office and will have national account responsibility. With over 30 years experience in IT consulting, Stuart Conboy will combine his history of consulting with IQ Group specialist superannuation industry expertise to support the challenges of regulatory, compliance and transformational change programs for superannuation offerings facing Australia’s banks. This role will see him lead a team renowned for being able to interpret superannuation-focused regulatory change and develop road maps for change with existing and new clients. According to Brian Peters, CEO of IQ Group Stuart and Regina are a fantastic addition to the team. “As we extend our services and specialist insights into the complex superannuation sector we need people who can analyse the ongoing transformational process and the new workloads required to effect change. Our team clearly understands how to integrate our specialist consultant skills into the process and this is already in demand.” Both Regina and Stuart are ideal candidates to work with IQ Group team to champion the changes that need to take place in the industry, and identify the larger and sometimes unknown challenges required to produce a successful transformation,” he said./Ends Note to Editors: Photo available on request. About IQ Group IQ Group has helped superannuation and wealth management clients to achieve better business outcomes, delivering independent advice on technologies, processes and regulatory change as well as first-rate project delivery for more than 15 years in Australia. In a time of unprecedented industry and market change for the superannuation and wealth management industries, IQ group understands the technological and regulatory forces impacting organisations. At IQ Group over 80 specialist consultants are helping clients prepare for tomorrow, today. “Intelligence. Applied.” Our motto sets the benchmark against which we measure our performance. Some think, some do - we do both. IQ Group is part of a global company with offices in South Africa and the USA. Follow IQ Group: Our updates on Twitter at twitter.com/ @IQGroup_AUS Our insights on our weekly Blog - http://www.iqgroup.com.au/intelligence/blog/ Media Enquiries: Cathryn van der Walt        12 Worlds    0402 327 633        cathryn@12worlds.com   Deciphering Property Investment Maze Through Education and Franchising Opportunities Through Property Club 2016-08-24T04:34:08Z deciphering-property-investment-maze-through-education-and-franchising-opportunities-through-property-club For over 20 years, Kevin Young’s Property Club has been working with and beside investors, educating and arming them with information to cut through the noise to make the best decision. As Australia’s most successful property investor, Kevin has accumulated over 180 properties. Inspired by a series of articles about how Australian millionaires achieved wealth, Kevin noticed a property theme “I kept coming back to property as a way to become wealthy,” he said. “Working three jobs I saved enough to buy my first property.” The Property Club’s primary goal is to equip people with knowledge. “The secret to our success is helping people. Everything we do is about the win/win and this includes opening up the opportunity to people to invest,” Mr Young said. “The way we do business is the unique nature of Property Club’s free membership and free services, our business model is funded through property sales. By holding Real Estate Agent licences in all states, we are able to negotiate marketing fees and commissions from vendors, which in turn fund all the services we offer members,” he said. “Part of these funds are allocated to the franchisee who establishes the sale, enabling them to run their business and generate profits.” Property Club has qualities it looks for in a franchisee. They must be an experienced property investor, self-motivated, honest, have an entrepreneurial spirit and be customer oriented, with a willingness to “go the extra mile” for Club members. The Property Club Franchisee licence is $49,000 per 100,000 population territory. The licence term is for a period of 5 years with a renewal option at a nominal fee. For more information, www.propertyclub.com.au