Last year, in the first full year of our Products & Services Round-up, Industry Moves reported on a total of 86 products.
Over a third of those products were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in some format – either a listed investment company (LIC), exchange-traded fund (ETF), or a listed managed fund – a sign that so many of the products launched these days are much more accessible to the retail investor.
In total, we reported on 12 ETFs, 11 LICs and seven listed managed funds. ETFs offered ranged from the BetaShares Australian Sustainability Leaders ETF, which invests in companies screened for sustainable business activities, to the cutting-edge ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF.
In the listed investment space, we had the Benjamin Hornigold LIC, named after a pirate and run by associate professor at Bond University, Stuart McAuliffe. And the more vanilla, Magellan Global Trust, which just invests in 15 to 35 of the world’s best stocks.
Listed managed funds included the (listed in December), Montgomery Global Equities Fund and two funds through which investors can take bets on the direction of the Australian dollar/US dollar exchange rate – the BetaShares Strong US Dollar Fund and the BetaShares Strong Australian Dollar Fund.
There were also four social impact (or social benefit) bonds launched, including the Westpac and Social Outcomes' Youth CONNECT Bond, which aims to improve youth homelessness, and the NAB & Life Without Barriers' #YouthChoices Social Benefit Bond, which wants to reduce recidivism.
We included one initial public offering (IPO) in our monthly wrap last year, even though it’s not a traditional fund-type investment, because it is still an investment around which there was a lot of hype. The Netwealth IPO reaped millions for its founders but it didn’t happen overnight. The company was founded in 1999 and its successful listing is a sign of how retail distribution of investment products is shifting away from the big banks, in favour of more independent firms like Netwealth.
Other interesting products we reported on included: Palisade's Renewable Energy Fund, which invests in Australian-based renewable energy assets, focusing on wind and solar assets; and two impact funds – the Social Ventures Australia SVA Diversified Impact Fund and Standard Life's Global Equity Impact Fund.
It looks like fund managers are really wising up to the fact that real money can be made from investing responsibly and ethically, and that it’s what investors are demanding.