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13 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Nearly $60 million in customer money mixed up at collapsed broker

(13 February 2019, The Age, Business, p25, by Sarah Danckert) ‘Administrators picking through the wreckage of one of the country’s largest online broking houses Halifax Investment Services, have found that $57 million in money invested by clients has been mixed up with funds belonging to the company. Halifax collapsed before Christmas, freezing $210 million invested … Continue reading

13 Feb 2019 (AFR online) – The 9 bad habits of highly ineffective investors

[COMMENT: Now many people will not necessarily agree with all of the items below (especially the one about timing the market because many of us know that you can), but it is one set of opinions from one ‘expert’. ] (13 February 2019, AFR online, by Shane Oliver) ‘In the upside-down world logic that applies … Continue reading

9 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Banking Royal Commission: now you will get what you pay for in financial advice

(9 February 2019, AFR, p30, by Ben Smythe) ‘As highlighted in the royal commission, people paid a lot of money for what they thought was financial advice. But in fact what they were paying for were expensive financial products (in-house superannuation, managed fund funds etc) with little or no financial advice that was specific to … Continue reading

9 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Banking royal commission: what it means for you

(9 February 2019, AFR, p28, by Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon) ‘Get set for changes to how you pay your financial planner, get a mortgage and what you do with your super when you move jobs.’ ‘One of the few unresolved consumer questions about the royal commission report Kenneth Hayne delivered to the government this week is: “Who … Continue reading

6 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Hayne report kicks true reform down the road … again

[COMMENT: Here is a good summary of financial institution disasters in recent years, including the highlighted ones below. But why do they continue to happen, almost cyclically?] (6 February 2019, The Age, p21, by Andrew Linden and Warren Staples) ‘Every 10 to 15 years it’s the same. Since financial deregulation in the 1980s, we’ve had … Continue reading

5 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Argo Investments predicts volatile 2019 for ASX investors

(5 February 2019, AFR, p15, by Simon Evans) ‘The managing director of the $7 billion Argo Investments says 2019 is likely to be as volatile as last year because there are so many local uncertainties still to be resolved including the severity of the housing downturn, the Hayne royal commission fallout and the federal election. … Continue reading

2 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Find your super fund in the top performers

(2 February 2019, AFR, p28, by Joanna Mather) ‘Unlisted assets have again proved their worth for superannuation savers. The best-performing funds managed to weather the volatility of 2018 to end the year in positive territory, with the median growth fund returning 0.8 per cent for the year. In an exclusive to AFR Weekend, research house … Continue reading

2 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Hedge funds sell and short banks ahead of banking royal commission final report

(2 February 2019, AFR, p23, by James Frost) ‘Bank stocks stumbled on Friday as hedge funds and international investors bet the publication of Commissioner Ken Hayne’s final recommendations would provide a catalyst for further falls.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

1 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Labor franking shake-up plan could spark buybacks, special dividends

(1 February 2019, The Age, Business, p22, by Clancy Yeates) ‘The spectre of a changes to dividend taxes under a Labor government has sparked fresh predictions that some of Australia’s largest companies could pay special dividends, or launch off-market share buybacks to get funds back to shareholders before the policy is put in place. The … Continue reading

21 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Year of shame for fund managers? – Why are Australia’s large cap fund managers failing to beat the index?

[COMMENT: This article is a great insight into the (contrarian) performance of fund managers and equity markets. It is well worth reading the full article – see link at the bottom.] (21 January 2019, AFR, p32, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Jack Bogle, the father of index investing who passed away on Thursday, would not have been … Continue reading

18 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Little-known Panther Trust slays fundie competition in 2018 Mercer survey

(18 January 2019, AFR, p1, by: Vesna Poljak, Sarah Turner and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘A little-known stockpicker based out of a serviced office in Crows Nest, five kilometres from the Sydney CBD, has defeated 92 other investors overseeing tens of billions of dollars to seize the crown of best long-only Australian shares strategy in Mercer’s 2018 … Continue reading

18 Jan 2019 (TheAge) – Super funds defy sharemarket volatility to finish year just ahead

[COMMENT: Here we go again… some commentary on the performance of superannuation funds. I have noted previously that this is a very difficult exercise because some of the funds are rather different to others (eg. not all ‘balanced funds’ are the same), and it is difficult for retail investors to usefully compare the results. Anyhow, … Continue reading

9 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Has a stock market bottom been established?

(9 January 2019, AFR, p26, by Mohamed A. El-Erian) ‘The January 4 monster rally in risk assets, which saw major stock indexes surge by 3 to 4 per cent and the “risk-free” yield on 10-year US Treasuries rise by 11 basis points, was a stark illustration of the power of a favourable alignment of the … Continue reading

8 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Chanticleer: Check how much your stock is undervalued

[COMMENT: Here is another list of stocks and a guide to their ‘intrinsic value’ to help determine whether they are over-sold value stocks, or over-valued and expensive. I always like to compare these opinions of share price value with reality a few months down the track. So this will be interesting to re-visit later in … Continue reading

5 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Financial Review: hedge funds’ best long and short ideas 2019

[COMMENT: For what it’s worth, this article some thoughts and opinions about ideas for investing/trading in the year ahead.] (5 January 2019, AFR, p18, by: Jonathan Shapiro and Vesna Poljak) ‘Australian hedge fund managers are betting that real estate companies bear the brunt of a property market downturn while childcare and consumer stocks are also … Continue reading

2 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Junk bond fears: Will 2019 see investors burnt by risky US corporate debt?

(2 January 2019, AFR, p28, by Karen Maley) ‘Are investors about to learn the hidden perils lurking in speculative US corporate debt? For the past decade, US companies have been on an unprecedented borrowing binge, taking advantage of ultra-low interest rates to load up on debt, either to fund mergers or leveraged buyouts, or to … Continue reading

2 Jan 2019 (AFR) – December drama ends bleak year for markets

(2 January 2019, AFR, p25, by Michael Mackenzie) ‘With the books now closed on 2018, few investors will look back fondly on the past 12 months. Some of the bleakest times since the dark days of the financial crisis turned into the most volatile in a dramatic December. It has left pretty much every major … Continue reading

2 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Investment: Superannuation and house prices post dire result in 2018

[COMMENT: The regular readers of my blog entries will know that I don’t think much about reports such as this news story, because it uses a rather arbitrary start date for measuring the fund performance. For fund managers who need to report their performance to their own investors, and to the industry, then they have … Continue reading

22 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Smart Investor: Asset allocation: Understanding the basics

(22 December 2018, AFR, p46, by James Weir, director of Steward Wealth) ‘When you build your portfolio, start with the big picture. Like any project, when you construct a portfolio you’re best to start with the big picture and work toward the detail, which means you start with the overall asset allocation. Asset allocation is … Continue reading

21 Dec 2018 (AFR) – BWX slashes full-year outlook, stock tumbles 47pc

[COMMENT: Note to self… When studying the price charts, and noting a fall in the share price, look for company announcements, and especially an earnings or profit downgrade. If so, it might be time to close an open position.] (21 December 2018, AFR, p19, by Carrie LaFrenz) ‘Just days before Christmas, BWX Limited has revealed … Continue reading

21 Dec 2018 (AFR) – ASIC takes aim at conflicted brokers, bankers over equity market deals

(21 December 2018, AFR, p1, by: Jemima Whyte and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The corporate regulator is questioning whether Australia’s liberal rules for capital raisings have created an environment that favours a select club of stockbrokers and investors, and flagged plans for tougher scrutiny of debt markets and large share sales. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s … Continue reading

19 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Super funds risk posting 2018 loss

(19 December 2018, AFR, p3, by Tim Boyd) ‘Super funds are at risk of posting a negative result for 2018 for the first time since 2011 due to ongoing market volatility, according to figures from research houses Chant West and SuperRatings. The median balanced fund, with 60 per cent to 76 per cent in growth … Continue reading

19 Dec 2018 (AFR) – ATO eyes cryptocurrency activity in annual tax returns

(19 December 2018, AFR, p2, by Tom McIlroy) ‘The Tax Office has restated warnings to Australians trading cryptocurrency to declare profits in their annual returns, amid an increase in questions about reporting requirements. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are considered property, not currency, for tax purposes in Australia, making them liable for capital gains tax when … Continue reading

17 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Market Minds: Where to find outstanding value in the market

(17 December 2018, AFR, p29, by Sean Fenton) ‘A market that has shrugged off risk for the last few years has come crashing back to earth with a surge in volatility. What has changed to create this turnaround? Certainly the constant news of escalating trade tensions between the US and China, Brexit uncertainty and a … Continue reading

17 Dec 2018 (AFR) – IOOF one step away from forced restructure

(17 December 2018, AFR, p1, by James Frost) ‘IOOF is one step away from a forced restructure after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority was prompted to perform an emergency downgrade of its risk rating of the company because of fears it posed a threat to its customers and/or the Australian financial system.’ Read more at … Continue reading

12 Dec 2018 (AFR) – High-frequency trading loses its spark: ASIC

[COMMENT: Now this is interesting. In recent years there has been concern amongst investors and traders that HFT was taking over the markets and making it harder for retail investors to trade for a living. But if this report is true, then it’s not so bad.] (12 December 2018, AFR, p17, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The … Continue reading

12 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Treasury Wines’ painful $4 billion spillage

[COMMENT: Technical analysts (aka chart readers) could have spotted a potential loser here, some months before the share price tanked. They would have trimmed any losses and quite the stock.] (12 December 2018, AFR, p17, by Simon Evans) ‘Old-school investors who believe share sales by directors and top executives are a potential danger signal have … Continue reading

11 Oct 2018 (AFR) – October housing finance up 2.6pc, first investor rise since February

(11 October 2018, AFR, p6, By Michael Bleby) ‘Investor mortgage lending rose for the first time in eight months in October as loan promises for investment purchases picked up in a more active spring market. The 0.6 per cent monthly gain in investor loan commitments lifted the total to $9.9 billion from $9.8 billion in … Continue reading

10 Dec 2018 (AFR) – The 2018 contrarians who got it right: what they’re saying now

[COMMENT: It is always interesting to look back at the so-called predictions from months ago, and see how many commentators came close to an accurate prediction. Take a look here…] (10 December 2018, AFR, p23, by: Katherine Greifeld, Vildana Hajric, Ben Bartenstein and Aline Oyamada) ‘With just three weeks to go, 2018’s market contrarians are … Continue reading

10 Dec 2018 (AFR) – ‘Frank Squared’: Circularity of Quintis deal examined in receivers’ hearings

[COMMENT: This interesting news story brings some great insight into what can sometimes happen behind the scenes with managed funds.] (10 December 2018, AFR, p20, by Vesna Poljak) ‘The Abu Dhabi Investment Council was able to exit $10 million of plantations managed by the sandalwood grower Quintis by virtue of a three-way transaction financed by … Continue reading