Pulse Alert – News Pulse for December 3, 2018

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Banks’ new year revolution

Bank shareholders, bankers and financial planners face an anxious summer. Come February, the royal commission into financial services, whose hearings wound up yesterday in Melbourne, will hand down a final report that could pave the way for a drastic restructuring of the nation’s biggest industry: banking and funds management. Already, the carnage has been severe. AMP, once a revered pillar of the financial establishment, has shed half its value this year, its reputation in tatters, its business model in crisis. The big four banks, in the throes of divesting their beleaguered funds management arms, have lost a combined $50 billion in market value since the royal commission was announced just over a year ago. Only Macquarie Bank has emerged with its reputation intact.

The government was wrong, in hindsight, to resist establishing the royal commission, however much a gravy train it has been for lawyers and consultants. We, too, misjudged the extent of the misconduct. The commissioner and counsel assisting have performed a public service, forensically distilling problems and their causes with notably less time and resources than the regulators and umpteen parliamentary and ad hoc inquiries have had.

‘Sometimes you feel one voice doesn’t make a difference’: How small business changed paid parental leave

Tess McCabe cried when she found out the law around paid parental leave for small business owners is going to be changed.

“Sometimes you feel like one voice doesn’t make a difference,” McCabe says. “I was so shocked. It was exactly what self employed people want, the choice to take those blocks of paid parental leave in the first year in a way that suits them.”

Warning: Don’t be caught out by 7A

Mum and dad investors risk being caught up in changes to tax treatments of some small business loans  as the federal government looks to overhaul so-called division 7A rules.

Long-mooted changes to the commonly-used loan mechanism have been delayed until at least 2019 but updated compliance guidelines covering lending to individual shareholders and related entities have been issued by the Australian Taxation Office.

Pre-launch home loan fintech Athena raises $25 million just six months after another multi-million raise

Home loan fintech startup Athena has secured $25 million in funding, little more than six months after it closed a $15 million Series A round .

Founded in 2017 by ex-bankers Nathan Walsh and Michael Starkey, Athena is a cloud-based digital home-loan platform seeking to provide an alternative to the big banks and disrupt the home-loan market.

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