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Innovation is key to survival in business to keep financial services relevant and stay ahead of the competition.

Just like business, financial services need to evolve to stay in the game. The latest innovation in financial services is Individual Managed Accounts (IMA), which provide a synergy between service and product. A standard IMA platform features a comprehensive range of investment portfolio reports, up-to-date portfolio pricing and 24-7 website access.

In an environment where customer service and client contact are focal points, a good IMA should have the capability to provide an individual investment strategy, a portfolio administration and management service, a professional adviser who offers you a wide range of investment opportunities, and efficient after-tax outcomes.

One of the leading IMA style services in Australia is the Managed Portfolio Service (MPS). MPS is an administration service that records all investments, manages dividends and distributions, and provides comprehensive reports, including CGT positions. Individuals using MPS are able to access all their reports and portfolio details online with 24-hour access to the MPS website.

The financially savvy investor often desires a high level of value-add contact with their financial adviser. MPS provides this, taking over time-consuming administrative tasks, leaving the adviser free to concentrate on tailored investment strategies and able to deliver the most efficient tax outcome for the client.

Those using the service also enjoy access to a wide range of new investment opportunities through IPOs and capital raisings, as well as a diverse number of existing investments, such as listed shares, fixed interest securities and derivatives. This, coupled with personalised strategies, means MPS is ideal for Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs).

Innovative Superannuation

There has been innovation in the superannuation arena over the last year, making it more accessible to all Australians. New rules introduced in July last year allow people who reduce their employment from full-time to part-time the ability to access their super benefits from their preservation age, in the form of a non-commutable income stream, without having to fully retire or leave their job.

And from January 1, 2006 the option to split super with spouses has been available. The Bill, passed in late December, allows a person to split up to 85 percent of ‘deductible contributions’ (such as employer contributions) or up to 100 percent of ‘non-deductible contributions’ (such as personal, after-tax contributions) with their spouse. This gives low income or non-working spouses the ability to control their own super, and consequently their own retirement.

Self-funding instalment warrants used in SMSFs is another recent innovation in super. Because of the franking system in Australia, holding self-funding instalment warrants in SMSFs as a tax efficient investment is relatively unique to Australian investors.

This article is for general advice only. We have not considered your relevant circumstances. Before acting on this advice you should contact your investment adviser.

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