April 2014



Have I got some nice junk for you

01 May 2014 |

 junkThe search for decent returns is evident in the growing appetite for junk bonds. Yet the yields are comparatively low when compared with what is available to Australian investors.

What you should know about share trading

13 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

share tradingSuper investors thinking of selling their shares would do well to watch the daily activity. Some decidedly dubious activity is occurring in the stock market.

Why are interest rates so low when debt is so high?

07 April 2014 |

QuestionThe biggest puzzle facing super investors is the low level of interest rates at a time of high government debt. It is a symptom of the Dr Strangelove world of modern finance, where "notional" debt is out of control and the only way to cope is to have no cost on that debt.

High speed computers v you

02 April 2014 |

high speed tradingHigh frequency trading, feral computer programs manipulating share prices, are rife in the world's stock markets. It is hard to adjust investment strategies to cope, but super investors should at least be aware of their existence.

The pros and cons of annuities

01 April 2014 |

Bank pros and consAnnuities are neither exciting nor especially rewarding. They are regarded by many as a poor deal. But are they? In fragile global economic conditions they may be a reasonable option for some.

Investing at the smaller end of the market

30 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

 small end DIY super investors tend to shy away from the smaller companies on the stock exchange. But there are ways of investing in the overall sector that are lower risk and there may be some opportunities. The sector looks undervalued when compared with the big companies.

The global property tidal wave

28 April 2014 |

property tsunamiHigh property prices and low affordability are becoming a global phenomenon. It is another example of the globalisation of investment markets. Super investors should take that into account when making decisions.

What do the changes at NAB mean?

03 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

 NABThe departue of CEO Cameron Clyne at NAB has focused interest on the sector. Self managed super investors have greatly increased their holdings in the banks, although this has largely been at the expense of retail shareholders. What will it mean for bank share prices?

Banks steady but unremarkable

01 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

unremarkableThe banks look to be travelling relatively well, but are considered to be fully priced. The continued growth in housing lending suggests that investment in banks and investment in residential property are actually quite similar strategies.


Investors 1, the poor 0

01 May 2014 | Reynard

 winThe current debate over the need for Budget cuts is heavily biased towards the need to cut welfare. Investors, either in super or in housing, are not being asked to "share the pain". It does have implications.

Investment and cognitive bias

24 April 2014 | Reynard

BiasIt is common to talk about having and investment "philosophy". But what can real philosophy (and psychology) tell us about investment practice?

Share prices go nowhere but dividends strong

10 April 2014 | Reynard

stocksSuper investors would have done much better if they had looked at the New Zealand and Canadian markets than Australia. But despite share prices being 20% below the peak for more than five years, a record, the income from dividends is keeping total returns strong.

Spending too much, look out

02 April 2014 | Reynard

Government DebtThere is a gap between what the government is getting paid and what it is spending that must be closed. That is not good news for investors.

Slithershanks on property

01 May 2014 | PSI

 slithershanksProperty investors should always keep their goals in mind, such as becoming the Queen of Brazil one day, or perhaps writing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony before he did. It is an important lesson to remember.

Can Arthur Sinodinis remember what FOFA is?

04 April 2014 | Slithershanks

 Forgetful Arthur SinodinisSlithershanks think it's time to rush to the aid of Arthur Sinodinis, who is clearly having a little trouble with his memory.

Money is all in the mind

27 April 2014 | Louise Bedford

Louise BedfordMoney is not bad in itself, but people do some strange things when they are dealing with it. Examining one's attitude to money is vital when investing. The self awareness can be invaluable.


Let the government create money

27 April 2014 |

makemoneyThe global financial crisis was caused by traders going wild, making up their own rules. Governments took a back seat. Many are calling for government to take back the control. It is an important debate for self managed super investors because financial stability is the most important variable in investment.

Politically correct sexism and ageism

06 April 2014 |

CorrectAttacking "rich old white men" who have substantial super is apparently perfectly aceptable, despite the obvious ageism, sexism and perhaps even racism. It is a poor way to conduct a discussion about social equity and the budget deficit.

Most will rely on pension for retirement

31 March 2014 |

RetirementSuper was supposed to take the pressure off the budget as Australia ages. But a survey has shown that only 15% of couples and 5% of singles will be able to rely only on super for their retirement.

It's going to be tough to be old in Australia

09 April 2014 |

workThe "demographic bulge" is about to put great pressure on the Australian budget. A raising of the pension age, more means testing of welfare and co-payments for government services are all being put on the table by governments. The pressure to make DIY super work is increasing.


Picking the best portfolio allocations

23 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

AllocationMaking the right allocations into industry sectors is an important investment skill. Brokers are moving away from resources and Wesfarmers is believed to be fully priced.

The supposed advantage of shares

21 April 2014 |

AdvantageShares are supposed to do much better than other asset classes. But it depends when you start your comparison.

Sorry, you are going to live longer

13 April 2014 | Staff reporter

healthAustralia's superannuation system is going to fall short. DIY investors are on notice to be realistic about how long they will live. Is longevity insurance an option?

Picking the right commodities play

06 April 2014 | Broker reports editor

PlaySuper investors looking for diversity should have some capital in commodities. But the risks and rewards are higher, so it is necessary to make some complex assessments of macroecomics and supply and demand patterns.


The great fee boom

27 April 2014 |

feeboomSuper fund managers are paid according to the size of assets under management, not a fee for service. As the super fund pool grows to $1.7 trillion, those fees are rising sharply. The cost to savers is massive, according to a new report.

They want to keep your money for longer

23 April 2014 |

keeping your money longerThe finance industry is lobbying to raise the age at which people will be able to get access to their super. It is being justified as being in line with the raising of the retirement age, but closer scrutiny suggests there are darker motives.

What happens if your adviser takes your money?

10 April 2014 |

stealA report by the Financial Ombudsman Service shows that some financial advisers are failing to look after their clients' money.

Accountants may not be able to give advice

08 April 2014 |

accountantThe rules permitting accountants to give financial advice are only an interim measure. Next financial year, all accountants will need to have acquired the appropriate licence, and only 30 have done so. A crisis could be in the offing.

The ATO is getting serious about compliance

07 April 2014 | Staff reporter

ATOUp until now, the ATO has only had a big stick to punish DIY super funds that do the wrong thing. Closing them down. But soon there are likely to be fines for contraventions, meaning that the risks of being penalised are likely to rise.



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