Self-Managed Super Fund Growth Consolidated

Updated data from the Australian Taxation Office has confirmed the sustained growth in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), as Australians increasingly look to take control of their retirement finances.

Recent ATO data shows that in the five years to June 2018, the number of SMSFs grew by 19%, while total SMSF assets grew 57% to $750bn. Similarly, super contributions to SMSFs grew 79% to $41.8bn, making just over a quarter of total Australian super contributions.

The information underlines the recent change in attitude held by Australians looking to secure their retirements. In the wake of the Financial Services Royal Commission, distrust in the financial industry is among many factors explaining the prolonged move towards self-directed superannuation strategies.

However, the risks associated with these funds suggests that the data is not all good news for self-directed investors.

The largest category of asset held in SMSFs is in listed shares, typically representing the bulk of any given fund. A US study from Deloitte found that 52% of respondents did not work with financial professionals to plan their retirements, citing being “more comfortable handling retirement planning on their own”.

Also, the increasing proportion of those choosing to go solo also opens many up to the pitfalls of the open stock market. With only 14% of professionally managed US stock funds, according to a Creative Planning study, the wealth to be earned in the market will prove elusive for many retirement savers.

James Dunn of the Australian has argued that SMSFs typically fall short due to undiversified holdings, especially in cash or property, causing many to “miss out on market gains”. Tony Boyd wrote earlier this year in the AFR, pointing out that SMSF managers “feel the pain of volatility in markets more than most”.

HALO a perfect tool for self-directed investors

The situation has led some to label the financial climate as a “retirement crisis”, but it’s not the case for those with the right tools at their disposal.

HALO is an all-in-one platform designed for self-directed investors, giving them the same tools and analysis used by professional fund managers without any loss of flexibility.

The program simplifies the analysis and trading process without any loss of functionality. The proprietary algorithms use the latest in financial research and quantitative analysis to ensure that clients are given all they need to succeed in their DIY investment and saving strategies.

“More and more investors want to take direct control of their portfolios, but they may not have the proper tools. The HALO Investment Research Platform enables investors to analyse their portfolio with all the critical metrics they need,” says creator Nicolas Bryon.

The program also includes a fully integrated trading platform, and with a mobile app in development, investors can make real-time decisions about their superannuation, protecting them from potential market volatility.

At the same time, HALO offers more cautious investors the means to diversify away from cash holdings, ensuring Australians safety for their retirement

With many choosing to take control of their own super funds, HALO is a must-have for savers desiring to make the most of their investments.

Macrovue and the push into international markets with addition of US indices

Industry leading portfolio analysis tool HALO has announced its entrance onto the global stage with the acquisition of Macrovue, allowing Australian investors access cost-competitive access to international markets.

Until now, Australians have struggled to break into international trading markets, with high brokerage costs, exchange rate fees, and difficult-to-find market insights proving too great a barrier for entry.

However, the addition of US-led indices to the HALO platform, overseen by the acquisition of Macrovue, is ground-breaking for Australian investors. Macrovue’s primary function is the facilitation of domestic and international trading via its proprietary platform, with cost and capability both “beating the banks”, according to HALO creator, Nicolas Bryon.

Australian Performance and Global Comparison

The ASX ranks as the world’s 16th largest stock exchange by market cap, with average share growth in Australia at 9.1% per annum over a 30-year period, according to research from Vanguard. However, US stocks performed significantly better over the long term, with an average growth of 10.6% for the same period.

For Australian investors, brokers, and fund managers, breaking into the performance potentials of the US market, and other global markets has often been non-viable. The consequence is that Australians regularly risk missing out on investment in cutting edge developments, especially in the fast-moving tech industry.

However, Macrovue specifically targets global trends, bringing the world of development to the fingertips of Australian investors.

The proprietary technology is also set to be white-labelled through various distribution channels, giving international access to investors through their current brokers and financial advisors.

With US and Asian markets outpacing Australian markets in a number of key industries earmarked for future growth, the news of Macrovue’s acquisition is welcome to those seeking new channels of investment.

Vues To Suit All Investor Preferences

A key differentiator for Macrovue is the availability of themed portfolio selection. Called ‘Vues’, the platform selects a concentrated bundle of ten global stocks based on up-to-date themes, such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G, or Sustainable Food.

Millennial and younger investors are increasingly seeking investments based as much on their impact as their returns. Macrovue’s cutting-edge thematic selections means that people no longer have to balance return potential against ethical concerns, or spend unnecessary time finding the right stocks.

Each Vue is presented as a ready-made bundle of 10 diversified stocks, chosen both by theme and performance capabilities. Despite the apparent simplicity, the proprietary quant model works behind the scenes to ensure the right balance of risk, taking historical performance and quantitative into account before selecting the bundle.

By choosing the Vue that suits both their financial goals and your global concerns, investors will guarantee solid performance while maintaining clarity around the projects their investments help fund.

Wall Street soars yet again; Bitcoin crashes below $10,000

Wall Street shot past a fresh set of a milestones on Wednesday as irrepressible investor appetite returned US stocks to their steady stream of record finishes.
Across the Atlantic, however, European equities churned lower as market players took their cue from downbeat sentiment in Asia.
Virtual currency bitcoin dived, falling below $10,000 for the first time in six weeks in what one analyst called a “cryptocalypse” as several digital currencies took a hammering. But bitcoin pared some of its losses in late US trading, to move back above $11,000.
In New York, all three major indices set records, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending above 26,000 points for the first time, just eight trading sessions after breaking through the 25,000-point barrier.
Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Associates told AFP the sustained New York rally was boosted by a “confluence of good news,” including strong company earnings, slashed corporate tax rates, higher worker compensation and new investment.
“This is a boost for productivity,” and gave market players greater confidence, she said.
Aviation giant Boeing led the Dow higher on plans for a joint venture while rising oil prices helped lift energy stocks.
But in London, stocks fell “as traders opt to lock in profits following the latest rally,” noted Russ Mould, investment director at online stockbroker AJ Bell.
Adding to the gloom, disappointing earnings eclipsed takeover activity in the British capital. 
Publisher and conference organiser Informa revealed it was in talks to buy rival UBM to create a giant worth more than £9.0 billion ($12.4 billion, 10.1 billion euros).
The deal is aimed at accelerating growth and slashing costs, the companies said in a statement. But investors were unconvinced, sending Informa shares tumbling. 
The FTSE 100 was also punished as poor results from luxury fashion giant Burberry and publisher Pearson sent the two companies’ share prices diving.
Tough times for bitcoin
Bitcoin fell below $10,000 for the first time since early December, following on Tuesday’s 15 percent slump.
The leading cryptocurrency is down from record highs approaching $20,000 in the week before Christmas, having rocketed 25-fold over the year before being hit by concerns about a bubble and worries about crackdowns on trading in it.
“It’s been a Cryptocalypse overnight with BTC (bitcoin) and other virtual currencies coming under heavy selling pressure,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
But Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, sounded a slightly positive note: “Not all hope is lost. The cryptocurrency market is privy to these wild swings and seasoned veterans in this space have seen this happen many times previously.”
In Asia, most markets fell into the red with energy firms rocked by lower oil prices earlier in the week. 
But Hong Kong stocks hit an all-time high to break a record that had been in place for more than 10 years.

$260 billion ‘cryptocalypse’ as cryptos plunge 30 per cent

THE cryptocurrency market has lost $US206 billion overnight in what traders are describing as a “cryptocalypse”, with bitcoin heading back towards its $US10,000 milestone first reached last November.

But it was smaller currencies including ripple, ethereum and bitcoin cash that were the hardest hit in the latest sell-off, which was sparked by fresh fears of a crackdown on virtual currencies by governments in South Korea and China.

At the time of writing, ripple was down nearly 50 per cent on the previous day, ethereum had lost nearly 34 per cent of its value, bitcoin cash was down nearly 37 per cent and bitcoin was down 27 per cent to just under $US10,200.

The market capitalisation of more than 1300 cryptocurrencies has dropped by around 30 per cent over the past 24 hours, down from $US702 billion to $US496 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.

“It’s been a cryptocalypse overnight with bitcoin and other virtual currencies coming under heavy selling pressure as the regulatory scrutiny intensifies not only in China and South Korea but across the globe,” Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note on Wednesday. “The debate over zero or $US100,000 for bitcoin this year continues, however.”

Mr McKenna added that while retail investors had chased bitcoin out of fear of missing out, most institutional investors — with the exception of dedicated bitcoin funds and traders — would avoid the currency “because of fear of embarrassment and job loss”. “FEJL is as powerful a motivator as FOMO,” he said.

Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth, said “not all hope” was lost, pointing out that every previous wild swing had been followed “by a rally more powerful than the last”.

He added that “every year over the last three years, the cryptocurrency market has witnessed strong corrections 22 to 23 days prior to Chinese Lunar New Year”.

It came amid reports China’s government was preparing to ramp up its crackdown on virtual currencies by blocking access to wallet services and exchange websites, according to Bloomberg.

China had already banned domestic exchanges and “initial coin offerings”, and earlier this month signalled its intention to crack down on bitcoin mining companies in order “guide” them towards an “orderly exit” from the country.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s finance minister said a crackdown on cryptocurrencies was still a possibility, describing the current frenzy as “irrational”.

Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview with local radio station TBS that banning trading in digital currencies was “a live option” subject to a thorough government review, the Associated Press reported.

“There are no disagreements over regulating speculation [such as using real-name accounts and levying taxes on cryptocurrency trading],” Mr Kim said, adding that shutting down digital currency exchanges was “a live option but government ministries need to very seriously review it”.

Last week, an announcement by South Korea’s justice minister that the country was preparing legislation to ban cryptocurrency trading sent shockwaves through the market.

A spokesman for the presidential office later issued a clarification. “Justice Minister Park’s comments related to the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but it’s not a measure that has been finalised,” the statement said.

The news has caused outrage in South Korea, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency markets, with a petition opposing the crackdown attracting more than 200,000 signatures and a fresh poll showing President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating falling.

Reports have suggested up to three million South Koreans may have invested in cryptocurrencies, and the country is believed to account for one-quarter of the global market by transaction volume.

According to industry website CryptoCompare, more than 10 per cent of ethereum is traded in South Korean won, second only to US dollars which account for around 32 per cent. Nearly 14 per cent of ripple and 5 per cent of bitcoin is traded in won.

On bitcoin message boards, the mood was grim. “Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight,” wrote one Reddit user, attaching a video overlaying falling market graphs with the ending scene from the film Titanic.

“Survivors of the Titanic got compensated about $22,000 in today’s USD,” replied one user. “Guess that’s my new BTC sell point.”