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FEATURE SMSF AWARDS 2021

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“By leveraging our leading digital banking and investments we’ve made across the Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group, we’re able to give advisers and clients the tools they need to manage their SMSF in a seamless and intuitive way.” ------------------------------------

Acknowledging industry evolution La Trobe Financial: Innovator winner By Zoe Paterson The importance of innovation can never be overstated, according to La Trobe Financial deputy chief executive and chief investment officer Chris Andrews. “Markets are rarely static and businesses evolve through forward thinking and delivery of relevant products to the market,” Andrews says. Financial services businesses need drive, enthusiasm and commitment to continuously improve and adapt to evolving circumstances. To illustrate this observation, Andrews points to changes the finance and wealth industry has seen over the past 10, 20 and even 70 years since La Trobe Financial was founded. “Over the past seven decades, we have been recognised as pioneers across a range of finance and wealth products. More importantly, our underlining foundational principle of serving the ‘under-served market’ has also played a key role in our commitment to innovation,” he explains. “While the importance of a customercentric service never goes out of fashion, products, customers and delivery do change. To remain a meaningful, value-adding partner for our 81,000 customers requires a commitment to innovation.” During 2021, La Trobe Financial introduced several products and initiatives in response to changing customer preferences and expectations. Responding to strong demand for income-

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“Through our ESG framework we are committed to deliver a further range of products to the market and look forward to some exciting news in this space soon.” Chris Andrews, La Trobe Financial

To support the new developments, the business has recently made several strategic senior appointments, including the appointment of a director of ESG, a head of strategic change projects and a chief transformation officer. Andrews says each role holds a clear mandate to embrace innovation and excellence, while keeping the customer at the heart of every decision and activity. “Of course, fostering a culture of innovation goes beyond a top-down approach. Employees right across the business are encouraged to suggest process improvements, efficiencies and ideas that deliver innovation to the workplace. Innovation can start small and many of our innovations have come through feedback from our front-line staff,” he says. “Placing the customer at the heart of everything we do requires backing our frontline staff to continually listen to the market for any kind of information or suggestion that may help us do what we do better, or provide transformative feedback that leads to new product lines.” These integrated efforts in putting customers first have placed La Trobe Financial at the front of the pack when it comes to innovation. ------------------------------------

producing investments, the business launched two new investment products within its Credit Fund. The 6 Month Notice Account and the 2 Year Account were designed to complement its existing range of income generating, lowvolatility products and provide greater choice and opportunity for investors in the current low-yield environment. With investor interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on the rise, La Trobe Financial has also been working on further developing its ESG framework. The business achieved a carbon-neutral milestone in September and plans to implement multiple projects to ensure it reaches its target of being 100 per cent carbon zero by 2030. “Through our ESG framework we are committed to deliver a further range of products to the market and look forward to some exciting news in this space soon,” Andrews says.

Scale with scope and simplicity Macquarie Wrap: Investment platform winner By Jason Spits At its core, an investment platform is about creating the simplest and easiest means for investors to access a range of products and invest in them, driven by the best technology available, and Macquarie Wrap has been engaged in those activities for more than two decades. Macquarie Group head of wealth product and technology Michelle Weber says this focus on innovation, connectivity and efficiency, directed by conversations with advisers, is a key reason they have