The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2017-06-15T03:11:41Z Beware of headlines promising lower electricity prices 2017-06-15T03:11:41Z beware-of-headlines-promising-lower-electricity-prices-1 Since the Finkel review was released late last week, there have been headlines stating that electricity prices would fall if the recommendations of the review were adopted.   Here’s a warning: These headlines are misleading.   While I am not in disagreement with the review or the recommendations put forward, what I take issue with is how they are falsely being framed and fed into mainstream media.   Based on my extensive knowledge of the electricity industry, a more accurate headline should be:  “Despite Finkel’s recommendations, prices will still rise for most”.   The review actually states that relative to ‘Business as Usual’ (the ongoing and unchanging state of the energy market operating within the present policy vacuum), wholesale electricity prices can somewhat improve from a forecasted ‘worst case scenario’, provided Finkel’s recommendations are adopted.   But here’s the catch: prices for most will not be lower than what we’ve seen to date. Because despite Finkel’s recommended solutions, we’re continuing to operate within the existing policy vacuum, which is pushing prices up.   Additionally, many businesses and residential users have not yet felt the full impact of the increases we have had over the last 12-18 months in the wholesale market. These increases will filter through over the next year or so as larger businesses re-contract and as retailers adjust their pricing for their other customers.   Some of this we are already starting to see with retailers announcing significant increases in pricing for residential users and small businesses from 1 July 2017. Ouch.   In short, for most us, prices are likely to go up before we experience any relief produced from Dr Finkel’s recommendations. ends * Rod Boyte is the founder and a director of Smart Power Ltd. Rod is an independent energy management solutions specialist who has helped hundreds of organisations across Australia and New Zealand rethink the way they purchase and manage energy to achieve greater levels of sustainability and operational excellence. Rod has been a member of the Energy Management Association of New Zealand (EMANZ) since 1995 and served on the EMANZ board from 1998 to 2002 (Vice Chairman in 2002). Over the past six years Rod has represented consumers at all levels by sitting on various groups including the Frequency Standard Working Group, Policy Procurement Working Group and the Metering and Reconciliation Working Group.  Rod is a frequent guest speaker at key industry conferences and events providing insights and predictions into current and future issues. His most recent engagement was in May at Vic Water's 2017 Future State of Electricity conference. With 25 years in the energy management field, Rod Boyte is deemed to be one of the most experienced energy management executives in Australia. www.smartpowerenergy.com.auMedia enquiries: Rod Boyte can be contacted on 0420 266 866. Wendy McWilliams, WMC Public Relations, T: 03 9803 2588 / 0421 364 664 E: wendy@wmcpr.com.au Banking on a sustainable future for our regions 2017-04-20T04:48:44Z banking-on-a-sustainable-future-for-our-regions Through its partnership with Landcare NSW, Regional Australia Bank is continuing to lead the way in Corporate Social Responsibility, donating $1 for every member that switches to online statements. Over the last four years, Regional Australia Bank has donated over $18,000 to Landcare NSW, a contribution State Landcare Coordinator Sonia Williams says is vital to local Landcare groups. “Without Regional Australia Bank’s support, many local Landcare groups would not be able to undertake their environmental conservation, education and sustainable agricultural projects,” Ms Williams said. “Regional Australia Bank’s contribution not only helps us to assist groups showcase their projects and build connections with their community, it also helps us fund important training to show them how they can widen their net of potential funding to help deliver their projects.” This financial year alone, six local Landcare groups, across Regional Australia Banks service regions, were the recipients of this much-needed support - support that has ensured the success of their projects. They include Southern New England Landcare – Frog Dreaming project; Congewai Valley Landcare – Regent Honey Eater project; Wollombi Valley Landcare Field Day – Meeting of the Waters project; Landcare NSW - Crowd-Funding Training workshops; Manning Landcare - Farm Gate Tour and the Murrurundi Landcare Tidy Towns Committee – Page’s River Warrior project. Regional Australia Bank CEO Kevin Dupé said: “Regional Australia Bank is proud to have contributed to these worthwhile projects through our partnership with Landcare NSW.” “As a bank we are committed to setting ourselves significant sustainability goals that will help ensure the future of our communities. We also endeavor to inspire and empower our members to make ethical decisions of their own and it is heartening to see so many already doing so by making the switch to online statements.” Through partnerships like this, Regional Australia Bank is acutely aware of the role it can play by encouraging sustainability and it seems, others are now taking notice of this ingenuity too. “Recently, a member of our Executive Management Team, Darren Schaefer was awarded a scholarship to take part in the Prince of Wales Leadership in Sustainability Programme through the University of Cambridge,” said Mr Dupé. “This programme recognises influential senior leaders operating at a strategic level within sustainability and arms them with knowledge and techniques to address key sustainability challenges in a practical way.” The Bank also recently held its second Sector Sustainability Summit in Sydney with other like-minded institutions - discussing the establishment of sector benchmarks for sustainability reporting, reviewing best practice and exploring collaboration opportunities around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Mr Dupé says this is all part of the bank’s ongoing focus to minimising its own impact on the environment and maximising social and environmental returns to its regional communities, in the same way its partnership with Landcare NSW has done. - Ends - Contact: Sara Crowe, C7EVEN Communications, 02 6766 4513 / 0438 197 559 It is requested that Regional Australia Bank is not shortened to an acronym and always referred to in full as Regional Australia Bank. Image caption: Lucinda Chapman (Landcare NSW) and Kevin Dupe (CEO, Regional Australia Bank) at the Armidale Creeklands Suite 4 Technology Park, Madgwick Dr, Armidale NSW 2350 Australia Phone: 02 6776 0000 Alternative asset growth supports Blue Sky’s 130 per cent profit surge 2017-02-09T22:50:08Z 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 ThoughtWorks receives Australian government’s 2016 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation 2016-12-08T00:29:27Z 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. All systems go at South Hill Armidale play space 2016-11-20T23:52:40Z 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. Global financial organisations select SimpliVity for their next-generation data centres 2016-11-16T00:00:00Z global-financial-organisations-select-simplivity-for-their-next-generation-data-centres Sydney, Australia – November 16, 2016 – SimpliVity, a hyperconverged infrastructure leader powering the world’s most efficient and resilient data centers, today showcased its strength in the financial services and banking industries, highlighting four customers from around the world that have selected SimpliVity’s market-leading solution. The company’s OmniStack technology enables leading financial institutions like Bank Central Asia, Credit and Investments Ombudsman, First Names Group, and PeoplesBank to transform their IT infrastructures and achieve the enterprise-class performance and availability their businesses demand, with the cloud economics their IT leaders require.   Financial services companies, like all companies, need constant access to their data, top-tier performance, and high availability to support their most recent information as well as application level disaster recovery. They can’t afford to have data corrupted or lost and it is imperative that enterprise applications remain predictable and at peak performance, even in the event of a site failure. SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure improves application performance while combining all core data centre functions to massively simplify enterprise IT environments. The solution also offers built-in data protection, and disaster recovery capabilities, at a VM or application level to dramatically shrink recovery point and recovery time objectives, ensuring the availability and resiliency of mission-critical applications.   “SimpliVity offers the most comprehensive hyperconverged solution in the market,” said Rich Kucharski, VP solutions architecture, SimpliVity. “Companies in the finance and banking industries cannot afford to go offline or have their mission-critical applications underperform. It is very telling that these companies trust SimpliVity with their most crucial workloads and applications. We are pleased to work with these enterprises to move them into a truly hyperconverged environment that delivers incredible elasticity, availability, agility, and superior cost savings.”  Credit and Investments Ombudsman deploys SimpliVity to meet growing enterprise demands Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Credit and Investments Ombudsman provides consumers with a free and impartial dispute resolution service as an alternative to legal proceedings for resolving complaints with their financial services and product providers. As the company underwent a period of rapid growth, it found it was in need of an IT infrastructure that would scale along with the company. The organisation also needed to improve its disaster recovery options – in its early growth phase, the IT team was performing weekly full backups and nightly incrementals. However, as the business expanded, so too did its data protection needs. With SimpliVity, Credit and Investments Ombudsman now has disaster recovery fully integrated into their IT infrastructure, dramatically improving the company’s recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives in a disaster scenario.   “SimpliVity has vastly simplified operations for our IT team,” said Matt Grech, IT manager, Credit and Investments Ombudsman. “The complexity of a typical SAN environment is removed and our disaster recovery capabilities are much improved, as well. The performance of our hyperconverged environment has been so incredible, we are currently working on standardising on SimpliVity for all of our IT infrastructure needs. This is truly an enterprise solution.”  Bank Central Asia realises real data efficiency with SimpliVity   Bank Central Asia was looking for an all-in-one infrastructure solution that could provide dramatic improvements in data efficiency at both core data centres and disaster recovery sites. As one of the largest regional banks in Indonesia, the bank needed a reliable data centre solution that was able to provide enterprise performance, predictability, and protection. SimpliVity’s solution allows Bank Central Asia to reap the benefits of global inline deduplication, compression, and optimisation, including backup without additional licensing and without impacting server performance.   “SimpliVity brings something new to the table. By deduplicating, compressing, and optimising all data, at inception, we’re able to achieve unmatched data efficiency without needing a specialised system,” said Hermawan Thendean, executive vice president information technology group, Bank Central Asia.  “It’s unlike anything else other hyperconverged vendors are offering. The company has built something really revolutionary by delivering one complete solution for the data centre.”  First Names Group improves scalability and simplifies management with SimpliVity When the IT team was tasked with improving the network of First Names Group, the first priority was to upgrade the underlying IT infrastructure. First Names Group’s previous infrastructure was made up of various legacy technologies and the incumbent infrastructure environment was not designed to scale in line with the organisation’s growth objectives. To improve business productivity and maximise IT resources, First Names Group deployed hyperconverged infrastructure. With the new IT infrastructure, the company now doesn’t have to worry about if its IT infrastructure can scale to handle periods of growth. SimpliVity’s solution is designed in a scale-out model where x86 building blocks can be added to meet the needs of all growing enterprises. The company also needed a solution that could be managed from a single interface. SimpliVity’s global unified management enables First Names Group to do just that as the IT team now manages the entire SimpliVity solution, in all locations, from a single pane-of-glass.   “There was a lot to consider in choosing the right solution to improve our IT environment now, while remaining capable of dealing with future demand as well. We were originally looking at traditional IT vendor solutions, but when we found SimpliVity, it was like a breath of fresh air,” said Ian Quayle, associate director, First Names Group. “Once we saw that SimpliVity enabled one-click operations where, say, a workload could be transferred in just a few seconds to the other side of the globe, we knew SimpliVity was something revolutionary.”  PeoplesBank future-proofs its data centre with hyperconvergence   To replace its aging and outdated legacy IT infrastructure, PeoplesBank decided to use a technology refresh as an opportunity to invest in a hyperconverged solution. With a hyperconverged implementation spanning two sites for disaster recovery, PeoplesBank is running core mission-critical applications on SimpliVity, including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as other industry-specific applications. The organisation has also improved and automated its disaster recovery posture, taking advantage of SimpliVity’s built-in data protection capabilities.   “I wanted a solution that would make our data centre future-proof,” said Joe Zazzaro, CIO, PeoplesBank. “SimpliVity has made our entire data centre more efficient, much simpler, and more innovative. We are able to work on new projects now with SimpliVity that we simply didn’t have the bandwidth for prior to going hyperconverged. The impact of SimpliVity and the efficiency it enables has been felt not just in our IT department, but across all facets of the business.”  Resources Read the Credit and Investments Ombudsman case study Read the blog about other financial customers Follow SimpliVity on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ About SimpliVity SimpliVity powers the world’s most efficient and resilient data centres with the most complete hyperconverged infrastructure solution. Unlike traditional infrastructure that’s complex and costly to manage, SimpliVity dramatically simplifies enterprise IT by combining all infrastructure and advanced data services for virtualised workloads—including guaranteed data efficiency, data protection, and VM-centric management and mobility—onto the customer’s choice of server. SimpliVity delivers 3x cost savings versus traditional architectures and up to 49% cost savings versus public cloud. Headquartered in Westborough, Mass., the company has raised $276 million in venture capital and employs about 750 worldwide. A market and customer satisfaction leader, SimpliVity services midmarket and Global 2000 enterprises worldwide with a business model that is 100 percent indirect.  For more information, visit http://www.simplivity.com.  Media Contacts Amanda Conroy Espresso Communicationsamanda@espressocomms.com.au +61 2 8016 2200 +61 422 472 883 Amy Rathbone Espresso Communicationsamy@espressocomms.com.au +61 2 8016 2200 +61 423 230 244® 2016, SimpliVity. All rights reserved. Information described herein is furnished for informational use only, is subject to change without notice. SimpliVity, the SimpliVity logo, OmniCube, OmniStack, and Data Virtualization Platform are trademarks or registered trademarks of SimpliVity Corporation in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Australian RegTech company recognised for global growth 2016-11-04T07:31:31Z australian-regtech-company-recognised-for-global-growth 4th November 2016, Sydney, Australia. Fast-growth Australian RegTech company, GRC Solutions, were finalists at last week’s NSW Premier’s Export Awards in the Education and Training category, acknowledged for their international growth in Asia and North America. GRC is a collaborative and international online compliance training business that uses its adaptive eLearning platform to maximise learning efficiency while significantly reducing compliance training and development costs for large organisations. Established in 2013, the company opened its first international office in Singapore in 2014 and this year opened an office in New York. The RegTech start-up is committed to having a strong hold in these key markets as part of its future global growth plans. Currently, GRC has over 150 clients and 500,000+ end users. Following a successful launch in Washington DC this month, the company is set to double US growth in the next three months. The company has played a key role to date in assisting Australia’s financial services sector through a period of disruption and uncertainty. Some Australian banks are spending over $300 million each year on compliance and in the last seven years, twenty of the world's biggest banks have paid more than $235 billion in fines. It is now common for bank employees to have 40 or more hours of mandatory training per year. When multiplied across an employee population of 30,000+ staff, the financial services sector is investing vast amounts of employee time into training. “We see the regulatory technology and compliance area really taking off and there is an increasing need for banks to be more efficient and effective in what they do. One client told us that every hour of mandatory training costs them $30 million in lost productivity,” said GRC Managing Director, Julian Fenwick. GRC is using adaptive eLearning technology to help organisations meet regulatory requirements and improve training outcomes without throwing away money. By recognising prior learning, the platform can effectively trim the hours of mandatory learning per employee. American Express is using the adaptive eLearning platform to train over 100,000 people annually in anti-money laundering in eight languages. “In today’s global economy, Australian tech companies need to prioritise global growth as part of their long-term business strategies. At GRC, global growth has always been high on the agenda. We’re delighted to be acknowledged by the NSW Export Awards for something that is a core value of our business,” said Mr Fenwick. GRC’s acknowledgement at last week’s awards comes just a week after GRC accepted the award for Best Compliance Training Program for its work with American Express at the LearnX awards. The company continues to be highly recognised for its innovative and high quality platform and program. GRC will ramp up its global operations in 2017, as they seek to expand their footprint in Asia and the US, whilst keeping an eye on the European market, particularly post-Brexit. The company will be exhibiting at Singapore’s FinTech Summit later this month. About GRC Solutions (www.grcsolutions.com.au): Formerly GRC was part of law firm Blake Dawson Waldron, known as BDW Technology. The company was then spun off in 2013, when Blake Dawson merged with English law firm Ashurst, Today, GRC Solutions is a RegTech company and leader in award-winning online compliance training, spanning legal compliance, risk management and ethics. Across the private, government and non-profit sectors, GRC helps organisations to build resilient cultures amid complex legal and regulatory environments. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, GRC has a strong international presence in the US, New Zealand and Asia. Regional Australia Bank backs Warialda Play Park upgrade 2016-10-31T03:42:27Z 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 2016-10-31T01:03:30Z 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. Regional Australia Bank continues revolutionary Community Partnership Program giving back over $4,000 to Bingara community 2016-10-04T00:08:22Z 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 2016-10-04T00:05:34Z 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. Help LGBTQIA+ youth shine bright at Stepping Stone House’s annual ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ 2016-09-26T03:26:30Z help-lgbtqia-youth-shine-bright-at-stepping-stone-house-s-annual-sleep-under-the-stars Monday 26th September, 2016, Sydney, Australia. Sydney’s transformational organisation for youth at risk, Stepping Stone House, today announces their upcoming ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ – an annual fundraiser to support youth at risk – including LGBTQIA+ youth – and raise awareness for youth homelessness in Sydney. Many young homeless people identify as LGBTQIA+ and have been forced to leave home due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. With a distinct shortage of crisis support and accommodation for LGBTQIA+ youth in Sydney, SSH aims to nurture and support this vulnerable group of young people in the long-term. So sign up and come along on Friday 7th October. Join the SSH family for an overnight sleep out at Hickson Reserve, underneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the harbour and experience first-hand one night on the streets, raising awareness for SSH and Australia’s homeless and LGBTQIA+ youth. “More than 40% of our homeless people in Australia are under 25,” said Jason Juretic, CEO of SSH. “Our Sleep Under the Stars is a fantastic way to empathise with what it’s like to have nowhere to go and no-one to turn to; a situation that many of our young people find themselves in before they come to us.” Last year’s event raised $54,000, helping SSH to provide care and education for at least four extra teenagers for a whole year. Just one night of support can help SSH to skyrocket youth at risk into a brighter future, through a unique combination of mentorship, adventure education, learning and development programs, and community volunteering. “An amazing 87% of our youth complete Year 12, compared to teens in similar circumstances. Fundraisers like the sleep out make all difference in ensuring that our young people have a secure and sustainable path in life,” said Mr Juretic. To get involved in ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ or donate to the cause, visit: www.steppingstonehouse.com.au/events/sleep_under_the_stars_2016/ For volunteering opportunities or further information, go to www.steppingstonehouse.com.au or email info@steppingstonehouse.com.au. About Stepping Stone House (www.steppingstonehouse.com.au): For more than 25 years, Stepping Stone House has paved the way for vulnerable youth aged 12 - 24 to develop and grow into self-sufficient and independent adults, starting with a safe and secure home environment. Through their unique ‘Stepping Stones to Success’ model, the non-profit aims to transform the lives of vulnerable youth; many of whom have been homeless and are unable to live with their families. Stepping Stone House is a nurturing ‘home away from home’, where young people stay for years as part of a dedicated family. Help young people shine bright at Stepping Stone House’s annual ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ 2016-09-21T22:30:00Z help-young-people-shine-bright-at-stepping-stone-house-s-annual-sleep-under-the-stars MEDIA RELEASE Help young people shine bright at Stepping Stone House’s annual ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ Thursday 21st September, 2016, Sydney, Australia. Sydney’s transformational organisation for youth at risk, Stepping Stone House, today announces their upcoming ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ – an annual fundraiser to support vulnerable youth and raise awareness for youth homelessness in Sydney. Come along on Friday 7th October and join the Stepping Stone House family for an overnight sleep out at Hickson Reserve, underneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the harbour and experience first-hand one night on the streets, raising awareness for Stepping Stone House and Australia’s homeless youth. “More than 40% of our homeless people in Australia are under 25,” said Jason Juretic, CEO of Stepping Stone House. “Our Sleep Under the Stars is a fantastic way to empathise with what it’s like to have nowhere to go and no-one to turn to; a situation that many of our young people find themselves in before they come to us.” The inaugural event brings people of all ages and backgrounds together, from young people to families to community groups. Last year’s event raised $54,000, helping Stepping Stone House to reach their 2016 target of $150,000 and provide care and education for at least four extra teenagers. This year’s event promises to kick similar goals. Just one night of support can help Stepping Stone House to skyrocket youth at risk into a brighter future, through a unique combination of mentorship, outdoor education, learning and development programs, and community volunteering. “An amazing 87% of our youth complete Year 12, compared to teens in similar circumstances. Fundraisers like the sleep out make all difference in ensuring that our young people have a secure and sustainable path in life,” said Mr Juretic. To get involved in ‘Sleep Under the Stars’ or donate to the cause, visit: www.steppingstonehouse.com.au/events/sleep_under_the_stars_2016/ For volunteering opportunities or further information, go to www.steppingstonehouse.com.au or email info@steppingstonehouse.com.au. About Stepping Stone House (www.steppingstonehouse.com.au): For more than 25 years, Stepping Stone House has paved the way for vulnerable youth aged 12 - 24 to develop and grow into self-sufficient and independent adults, starting with a safe and secure home environment. Through their unique ‘Stepping Stones to Success’ model, the non-profit aims to transform the lives of vulnerable youth; many of whom have been homeless and are unable to live with their families. Stepping Stone House is a nurturing ‘home away from home’, where young people stay for years as part of a dedicated family. Blue Sky announces new MD as founder Mark Sowerby steps down 2016-08-18T23:56:53Z blue-sky-announces-new-md-as-founder-mark-sowerby-steps-down Blue Sky announces new MD as founder Mark Sowerby steps down Ten years after starting Blue Sky Alternative Investments, founder Mark Sowerby will hand over the reins to the company’s current chief operating officer, Robert Shand, on 30 September 2016. Mr Shand has been with Blue Sky since 2010, was promoted to COO in 2013, and is well known to Blue Sky’s investor and associate network. He will replace Mr Sowerby as managing director, backed by the existing team. Mr Sowerby, who will remain an active advisor to the business and a significant shareholder, is stepping down to spend time with his family and increase his involvement in other projects with a positive social impact. Mr Sowerby founded Blue Sky a decade ago as a private equity business providing expansion capital to growing small businesses. The company has grown to become Australia's only listed fund manager solely focussed on diversified alternative assets, including private equity and venture capital, real assets (primarily water and agriculture), private real estate and hedge funds. Blue Sky listed on the ASX in 2012 and has grown its market capitalisation to nearly $600 million. Today Blue Sky has more than $2 billion in assets under management and has generated an internal rate of return (IRR) across its funds of 16.7 per cent per annum net of fees to the end of June 2016. Blue Sky chair John Kain said Mr Sowerby had achieved a remarkable feat building Blue Sky from the ground up. “Mark’s entrepreneurial vision and drive have shaped the business. To his great credit, Mark has built an extraordinary team with multiple layers of talent and experience, a team which can renew itself and continue to repay our investors’ trust through the decades ahead,” Mr Kain said. “Rob’s three years as COO give him an unparalleled understanding of what makes our business tick. His leadership, vision and clarity of decision-making qualify him to drive Blue Sky and build on the foundations of our first 10 years.” Mr Sowerby said Blue Sky had experienced incredible growth since inception. “We have created a business which is more than just sustainable – it is fast growing, scalable and defensive – a unique combination reflected in our 10 year track record and position as one of Australia's best performing listed companies over the past four and a half years,” Mr Sowerby said. “My decision reflects the ongoing growth and performance we see in the business and team, the foundations of a strong balance sheet and investments, and the incredible structural tailwinds in the sector. The last few years we have grown at 50 per cent per annum, and we see no reason for that to slow down. “The Blue Sky team has now unquestionably earned the right to take over the business. They are hard working, intelligent, empathetic and ethical. They understand why we are different, and the rules that made us who we are. They have lived it, experienced it, and now they own it.” 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 Blue Sky reports 57 per cent profit growth and $2.1 billion in Assets Under Management 2016-08-18T23:56:31Z blue-sky-reports-57-per-cent-profit-growth-and-2-1-billion-in-assets-under-management Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited (ASX: BLA) today announced its results for the year ending 30 June 2016, reporting an underlying Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of $16.3 million (up 57 per cent from $10.4 million in FY15) and a 44 per cent increase in revenue to $63.0 million (up from $43.6 million). The company will pay a fully franked dividend of 16 cents per share to shareholders (record date: 2 September 2016; payment date: 16 September 2016). Fee earning Assets Under Management (AUM) at 30 June 2016 grew to $2.1 billion, up from $1.35 billion at 30 June 2015. As expected, a number of investments in private equity and private real estate were successfully exited throughout the year. Since inception in July 2006, Blue Sky has generated an internal rate of return (IRR) across its funds of 16.7 per cent per annum net of fees to the end of June 2016. Managing director Mark Sowerby said the combination of a ten-year investment track record across the four major alternative asset classes, increased investor engagement across retail, wholesale and institutional clients, and continued strong deal flow would lead to further growth in fee earning AUM in FY17 and beyond. “Reaching $2 billion in AUM this year was an important milestone for us as a business.The fact that most of this is invested in illiquid funds differentiates us from other local fund managers and provides an incredibly solid foundation for our future growth,” Mr Sowerby said. “The Australian funds management industry has $2.6 trillion in funds under management today and this is anticipated to grow to $4.1 trillion over the next five years. By 2021, alternative assets are expected to be the largest investment class in Australia.” Blue Sky is Australia’s only listed fund manager focused on a range of diversified alternative investments, including private equity and venture capital, real assets (primarily water and agriculture), private real estate and hedge funds. ENDS Note to editor Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited (Blue Sky) (ASX:BLA) 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. Alternative assets include direct investment in private equity, private real estate, hedge funds, infrastructure and other real assets. 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. For real-time company announcements, investment opportunities and investment performance, download the Blue Sky Fingerprint app from the App Store or Google Play. For more information please contact Miette Lelievre | 0431 854 878 | mlelievre@agencynorth.com.au