David Bassanese
+ About David Bassanese

David Bassanese is one of Australia’s leading economic and financial market analysts, who has authored several investment books and works in a number of advisory roles.

David is Chief Economist at BetaShares, which involves providing economic and investment portfolio advice to both retail and institutional investors. David is also an economic advisor to the National Institute for Economic and Industry Research.

Prior to these roles, David was Economics Commentator with The Australian Financial Review, where is regular “Bassanese” column appeared three times per week, as well as monthly in Smart Investor Magazine.

David’s analysis and commentaries cover local and international economic trends, interest rates, the exchange rate, and share market analysis.

Prior to becoming a Fairfax business columnist in 2003, David spent several years in financial markets as a senior economist and interest rate strategist at Bankers Trust and Macquarie Bank. David started his career at the Federal Treasury in Canberra, after which he spent several years as a research economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.

David has authored two e-books: The Australian ETF Guide: cheap and easy investment strategies using exchange traded funds (ETFs), and The Australian Investor’s Guide to Asset Allocation.

David has a first class honours degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide, and a Master in Public Policy from the J.F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

On the Aussie dollar

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great news for Australian investors and the economy is that the Australian dollar finally appears to be re-aligning itself with fundamentals. Note whether the Australian dollar rises or falls is not inherently good or bad – what matters is whether its moves are in line with what the economy needs. In times of strong demand and rising inflation pressure, it’s handy to have a strong currency that keeps a lid on import prices and dents demand in the trade exposed sectors. But when the economy is soft, we’re better off with a weak currency that can boost the competitiveness of those that export or compete with imports, even at the risk of some lift in imported inflation. In the main, the history of the $A in the post-float era is that it has acted as a the full article ›
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John McGrath
Property Expert
+ About John McGrath

John McGrath is considered one of the most influential figures in the Australian property industry. As Chief Executive of McGrath Estate Agents, he took the company from a start-up in 1988 to one of Australia's most successful residential real estate groups, selling $5.7 billion in residential property in Sydney in FY11.

A total solution company, McGrath Estate Agents currently has offices located throughout Sydney, the Central and North Coasts, Southern Highlands, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Gungahlin (ACT) and the Gold Coast (QLD), as part of its growing franchise network.

In October 2008, he was honoured by the Real Estate Institute of NSW with the Woodrow Weight OBE Award, a lifetime achievement award for his outstanding contribution to the real estate industry.

John himself has become a spokesperson for the industry both in Australia and internationally. John has five books that have reached bestseller status including “You Don’t Have To Be Born Brilliant” and “You Inc.”. In “The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate”, John shares with the reader his invaluable knowledge on the Australian property market.

2014 McGrath Report: top Sydney picks

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

by John McGrath Last week we released our annual McGrath Report and over coming weeks I’ll be delving into some of the themes we’ve covered with greater focus here on week I’m going to tell you what’s happening in Australia’s strongest and fastest growing residential real estate market – Sydney. And next week we’ll take a look at the next capital city market expected to boom – Brisbane. Often called the ‘New York of Australia’, Sydney had about 14.8 per cent price growth across the board over the past 12 months to August and I’m expecting more growth to come. The key drivers of this growth include: The return of investors and influx of SMSF direct investments Significant inflow of the full article ›
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Janine Perrett
+ About Janine Perrett

Janine Perrett has a distinguished 30 year career in Australian broadcasting and newspapers. In the 1980’s she worked in London and New York as a foreign correspondent for The Australian newspaper.

In the 1990’s she worked as a television reporter for the Nine Network on the Sunday and Business Sunday programs. She also founded The Small Business Show and was presenter of that program for its nine year run.

Since then she has worked as a guest presenter on ABC radio and a columnist for News Ltd and the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 2007 she was awarded the prestigious Knight fellowship at Stanford University for a year.

Today she can be seen on Sky News television where she hosts The Perrett Report each night and is a regular panelist and guest presenter on Paul Murray Live and other Sky programs.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Now you know I don't hold with the "pick a super power" and "China taking over from the United States" type silliness. USA, USA in my book. Democracy over communism obviously. Freedom over represssion. Largest investor over new best trading partner. Or look at it this way, whenever things go wrong, who you gonna call? That goes for the entire world, not just us. When the Ruskis shoot down an Asian jetliner who does everyone turn to for confirmation and intelligence and moral support – the US of course.  When the middle east melts down yet again, when the Arab nations can't or won't contain their own problems, who gets pressured to put together a coaliton to bail them out – the US of course. But the most blatant recent example of where's China, global power my foot, the full article ›
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Michael Witts
+ About Michael Witts


Cash rate unchanged at 2.5%

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

by Michael Witts What were the reasons behind today's rate decision? The RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent, following its monthly Board meeting. The RBA continues to stress the transition that is underway, yet incomplete, in the economy. While the housing and related sectors are performing strongly, this higher level of activity and confidence needs to flow through to the broader economy. The comments from the RBA were virtually a carbon copy of previous months and suggests that the unchanged interest rate environment has a considerable period to run prior to any move on rates. What is the RBA's reading on the Australian economy? The RBA is comfortable with the current status of the economy in combination with the setting of interest rates. Inflation is under control, the full article ›
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Craig James
Economy Expert
+ About Craig James

Craig James is CommSec’s Chief Economist.

He became chief economist of Colonial Group in September 1987, before becoming chief economist at CommSec in August 2000 with the Commonwealth takeover of Colonial.

CommSec economic reports are a bit different in that they devise tools such as the ‘Mums and Dads’ share index and the iPod index, and undertake research on the weather and demographic changes to show how they affect the economy.

Craig currently does around 2-3 regular TV crosses a day, ad hoc radio and newspaper interviews and writes regular commentaries as well as presenting to staff, clients and external organisations.

Investor signposts: week beginning 14 September 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another busy week With a lack of ‘top shelf’ indicators in Australia over the coming week, investors are likely to pay more attention to overseas events in the coming week. The main highlights in Australia are car sales on Monday, Reserve Bank Board minutes on Tuesday and the Reserve Bank Bulletin and industry employment figures on Thursday. In the US, the highlight is the Federal Reserve meeting over Tuesday and Wednesday but there are numerous ‘top shelf’ economic indicators to monitor as well. In Australia, the week kicks off on Monday with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the data on new motor vehicle sales for August. The industry group, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, released the original data a week ago and it showed the full article ›
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Olivia Long
+ About Olivia Long

Olivia Long is a Founder and Executive Director of Xpress Super. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer for SuperGuardian Pty Ltd, Xpress Super and PortfolioGuardian. She has had more than 16 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry predominantly in management roles and joined SuperGuardian in 2004. She studied a Bachelor of Communication (Marketing) and various courses with the Financial Services Institute of Australia. She is an active member of SPAA - The SMSF Professionals' Association Australia, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has over 9 years experience in self-managed superannuation.

The SMSF sector has firm foundations

Monday, September 15, 2014

When Xpress Super decided to make a submission to the Financial Service Inquiry (FSI), it forced me to take some time out and sit back and reflect about the self-managed super fund (SMSF) sector. While doing so, those immortal words of the late American broadcaster and author, David Brinkley, came flooding back to me. “A successful man (woman) is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him (her).” For me, that’s the SMSF sector in a nutshell. No one ever misses an opportunity to throw bricks at us, and, while they do so, the sector just goes from strength to strength. Indeed, it’s the very viability of SMSFs, whether it’s the engagement of trustees, the growing expertise of the professionals servicing a sector that now the full article ›
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Ross Walker
+ About Ross Walker

How common is chronic disease?

Monday, July 28, 2014

by Ross Walker A recent report from the Centre for Disease Control in the United States published in the Lancet has suggested that one in two US adults suffer some form of chronic disease. And, surprise, surprise, the report goes on to suggest that the bulk of these conditions could be prevented by the affected individual taking more responsibility for their health by better control of the following factors - stopping cigarettes, eating better, increase in exercise, reducing alcohol consumption and attending their doctors for better control of blood pressure and cholesterol.  I saw a patient the other day who spends a considerable amount of time and money purchasing a variety of books on health and also spending hundreds of dollars per month on vitamin supplements. the full article ›
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David Bates
+ About David Bates

David is the Managing Director of Workforce Guardian where he provides a wide range of strategic, practical and plain-English advice to Australian business owners and operators. He is deeply committed to assisting employers and is a passionate advocate of competition and free-enterprise.

David gained his BA (Government) from the University of Queensland in 1998 before going on to complete a Law degree, with Honours, in 2001. He began his career working for a large, blue-collar union before moving to Canada and then the United Kingdom where he was employed by both the Commission for Racial Equality and the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission.

David routinely represents employers in Fair Work-related proceedings and can assist with every aspect of employment relations compliance. David is also an accomplished and highly sought-after public speaker who facilitates dynamic, informative and highly interactive workshops on all aspects of industrial relations best-practice.

He is proud to lead a highly-qualified team of ER, HR and Technical professionals at Australia’s leading, online employment relations service.

The Modern Awards review: if only it mattered

Friday, September 12, 2014

In case you’ve missed it, the Fair Work Commission is currently engrossed in the four-yearly review of Australia’s (hopelessly complex and rigid) so-called ‘Modern Awards’. These 122 Awards, which impose mandatory minimum terms and conditions of employment that most employers are legally-required to provide to their employees, certainly deserve some scrutiny. But I’m less than hopeful about the Commission doing anything other than tinkering around the edges and leaving exhausted small business employers (in particular) in a perpetual state of confusion for yet another four years. In an extraordinary finding, research which was undertaken at the Commission’s own request concluded that most small business owners have a sense of ‘dread’ the full article ›
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Colin Jowell
+ About Colin Jowell

Colin began his career as a business analyst for McKinsey Inc.

Since then, he has been in leading marketing roles in both digital media and hospitality, but has spent most of his career working for M&C Saatchi. He helped them start up their first South African and Malaysian offices before moving to Australia where he became Head of Strategy.

In April, he founded UDKU with two partners. UDKU helps clients solve business problems reach their full potential using a combination of strategy, innovation and communication.

Structure your army to win

Monday, August 25, 2014

I’ve written about Malcolm Gladwell before. I’m a fan because the trends and patterns he identifies always make intuitive sense – even before they make practical sense. When he wrote The Tipping Point, he talked about Mavens (the people who know a lot about a topic) and Connectors (the people who know a lot of people) as the way in which ideas spread. It was a lovely intuitive idea. And it really took off when social media was ‘invented’, but this came much later. I’ve also written about his book Blink, which was extremely prescient in a marketing world I called ‘Surviving the swipe’. So when he chose his next topic David & Goliath, I was interested. It’s a book that pays respect to being small, nimble and why the full article ›
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Joanne Masters
+ About Joanne Masters

Jo Masters has 14 years of investment banking experience in Australia, with a focus on economic research and currency strategy.

Having completed a Master of Economics, Jo began her career at Macquarie Bank, initially in the Economics Team providing economic and financial market analysis and advice to clients and traders. She covered the major economies, Australia and New Zealand, as well as being integrally involved in setting up the Asian research base.

In 1999, Jo was asked to join the Foreign Exchange Division in the newly created role of Currency Strategist where she focused on G7 and commodity currencies providing written and verbal advice. In 2001 she joined the Corporate Sales Team specialising in wholesale institutional trading with clients including AMP, State Street, ING and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Jo regularly appeared as an expert commentator on CNBC, Bloomberg, Sky and various newswires.

Jo is currently working as a freelance financial writer, with a keen interest in currency markets.

Why isn’t the A$ falling?

Monday, July 28, 2014

by Joanne Masters There is an almost universal expectation that the A$ should be weakening, with many forecasters looking for the local unit to slip below 0.90 against the US$. A lower A$ seems likely given a modest global outlook, moderating commodity prices and a strengthening US$. Despite this backdrop, in the last month the A$ briefly pushed above 0.95, before settling in a tight 0.9350-0.9450 range. And just as the A$ hasn’t weakened as expected, neither has the US$ strengthened as expected (partly reflecting the reluctance of US bond yields to rise).  While this may be annoying for economists and traders, it has been frustrating for policymakers; who have been hoping for a weaker A$ to offset some of the fiscal tightening put in place by the Federal Budget and the full article ›
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Raymond Chan
+ About Raymond Chan

Raymond joined Morgans Financial Limited (formerly RBS Morgans) in 2003 and established the Asian Desk in 2005. As the #1 revenue adviser in Sydney office, Raymond accepted the challenge to set up the Macquarie Street office in 2011, providing strategic advice and managing portfolio for high net worth individuals and institutions.  Prior  to the current position, he worked with Merrill Lynch and HSBC Securities.

Raymond is often invited to provide commentary for Australian leading media such as Sky News Business Channel, Australian Financial Review, SBS TV, SBS Radio, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Sunday Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Australian, TVB Jade, 2CR Radio Network and CRI Beijing

Raymond’s successes include:

* Advisory role to a Sovereign Fund, based in Southern China

* A$140 million share portfolio for a Singapore family

* A$100 million asset allocation Advice for Australian shares and properties for a major property developer in Hong Kong

* Share Portfolio Management to a resort island owner in Malaysia and Hordern Properties Group in Sydney.

Mr Chan is a JP, qualified Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP), CPA Financial Planning Specialist (FPS). Mr. Chan holds a master degree in commerce (funds management) with distinction average and bachelor degree in accounting and finance from the University of New South Wales.

Latte with Ray – Australian reporting season

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What happened last month? Over the month, NASDAQ +2.8%, Hang Seng +1.7%, Shanghai +1.4%, S&P 500 1%, TSE +1%, ASX 200 +0.8%, Dow Jones +0.8%, Nikkei +0.03%. On commodities, Iron Ore -5.4% US$88, WTI Oil -7.7% US$93.7, Gold -1.5% US$1283 Reporting season We have had a pretty good Australian reporting season with more than 50% of companies reporting results exceeding market expectations. BHP – result slightly below consensus with no announcement of capital management. BHP expects the $17 billion demerger of non-core assets won’t happen until mid 2015 which creates some uncertainties. ORG – the stock was up 10% since results. ORG confirmed there will be no immediate equity capital raising and APLNG is on track to produce its first gas in mid 2015. By then, ORG the full article ›
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Simon Bond
Shares Expert
+ About Simon Bond


Simon is 48 years of age and has been in the Investment world almost all his life.

Simon is a Partner at the Newport Office of Morgans Australia, after having spent almost 2 decades learning his trade in the heart of Stockbroking in Collins Street Melbourne at various firms.

Simon is fanatical about the way that technology and the Internet is altering the Investment landscape around the globe and focuses much of his outlook on how these profound changes will affect the outcomes and futures of investors everywhere.

Choose wisely

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

by Simon Bond In 1995, Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book titled The End of Work, in which he contended that worldwide unemployment would increase as information technology eliminated tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors. He predicted devastating impact of automation on blue-collar, retail and wholesale employees. While a small elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers would reap the benefits of the high-tech world economy, the American middle class would continue to shrink and the workplace become ever more stressful.And so it was so, and so it will be that as we move forward unemployment around the world will continue to rise and global GDP will continue to fall.We have been writing about this until we are blue in the face, so here is the full article ›
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Shane Oliver
Financial Markets
+ About Shane Oliver

Shane Oliver is head of investment strategy at chief economist at AMP Capital.

The latest Ebola outbreak – implications for investors

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

by Shane Oliver The worst Ebola outbreak to date in Africa and fears it will spread is leading to some concerns of a global pandemic.  So far there has been little impact on global share markets but if the number of cases continues to rise with more signs of transmission to western countries then nervousness could increase.  While there is reason for concern, the experience with SARS, bird flu and swine flu highlight that worst case pandemic fears don’t usually come to pass. The key for investors is to be alert, but not alarmed.  Introduction The last few weeks have seen a range of factors causing volatility in investment markets including concerns that the Fed might start to raise interest rates earlier than expected, worries about the lack of strength in Europe, the full article ›
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Jason Huljich
+ About Jason Huljich

Mr. Jason C. Huljich, B.Comm serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Direct Property Funds at Centuria Capital Limited. Mr. Huljich has been the Chief Executive Officer of Direct Property Funds at Centuria Property Funds Limited since 2006. He is also the Head of Property at OFM Investment Group. Mr. Huljich has been involved in investment property syndication in Australia since 1996. Mr. Huljich has been an Executive Director of Centuria Capital Limited. since November 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland.

End of financial year. Time to change everything. Or is it?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Are you sick of hearing about the end of the financial year and all the things you should be doing to re-assess your financial position? You’re not the only one. It’s true that ensuring your portfolio adequately reflects your investment objectives and time horizon is crucial for long-term success, but there’s no reason that the end of the financial year is the only time this can be done. In fact, quite the reverse. The fundamentals of good investment are just that, fundamentals. They shouldn’t change just because it’s the end of the financial year, they should be your focus all the time.Today I'll give my take on what makes a fundamentally good property investment, and where investors should be looking for returns from property now, and as we move the full article ›
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Malcolm Mackerras
Political Expert
+ About Malcolm Mackerras

Why commentary on the re-election has been unsatisfactory

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

by Malcolm MackerrasAs I have indicated in past articles for this website, when it comes to commenting on election results I prefer to know those results before commenting. The general election which took place on Saturday 7 September 2013 was completed on Tuesday 29 April 2014 when the counts were finalised for the re-election of six senators for Western Australia on Saturday 5 April. So now let me revise my history. My article on this website dated 9 October 2013 was headed “Senate election – drubbing for Labor and Greens; no good for Abbott”. I now say it was a drubbing for Labor and no good for Abbott but it was not a drubbing for the Greens who succeeded in getting all their incumbents re-elected as well as gaining a Senate seat from Labor the full article ›
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Stephen Small
+ About Stephen Small

Stephen Small is the ETF Capabilities Manager for Australia. He is responsible for the ongoing management of our ETF platform and the creation and quotation of new products. Stephen also assists in the distribution of existing products as the ETF subject matter expert.

Prior to joining UBS, Stephen spent 7 years working for the Australian Stock Exchange spending time on both the compliance and business development sides of business. His final role was Manager of the AQUA & Warrants Business being responsible for ETFs, Managed Funds and Structured Products.

The ETF revolution – turning simple into smart

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

by Stephen SmallOnly a short time ago, if you were looking to invest in a diversified managed fund, you would call your financial adviser, invest via a platform, or go through the arduous task of completing application forms and posting cheques in the mail.  Like every other facet of our lives, innovation and technology are making laborious tasks like this as simple as one click of a button.  Let me introduce the Exchange Traded Fund. Designed to simplify investing, Exchange Traded Funds, have revolutionised the traditional managed fund structure, otherwise known as a managed investment scheme, by listing the fund on an exchange. In effect it makes accessing managed funds as easy as buying a single share on the stock exchange.   If we delve a little deeper, ETFs the full article ›
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Sinclair Taylor
+ About Sinclair Taylor


SMSF: Beauty of buying what you already own

Thursday, November 14, 2013

by Sinclair TaylorIf you’re a business owner with an SMSF, you may have heard of the idea of your fund borrowing money to buy the commercial property you already own. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, and it’s legal! Despite much of the recent media focus being on SMSF’s investing in residential property, the actual fact is that the dollar value of SMSF investments into commercial property is three times higher. This huge disparity is largely driven by superannuation rules that permit related party transactions to occur with ‘business real property’, more so than investor belief that commercial property is a better longer term investment than residential property.  Still reading? Good, because having your SMSF purchase a commercial property the full article ›
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Jim Vrondas
+ About Jim Vrondas

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from the University of NSW in 1994 Jim began his financial markets career as an FX Trader in the Foreign Exchange department of the Bankers Trust Australia investment bank. His in depth understanding of FX markets and its drivers, coupled with subsequent experience as an educator, have made him a highly sought after commentator for businesses and individuals interested in currency markets.

With around 20 years’ experience in financial markets he is currently employed with OzForex as Chief Currency & Payment Strategist for the Asia Pacific region and is a highly sought after commentator on currency related issues. He regularly appears on Sky Business and ABC television and on an ad hoc basis on CNBC, Bloomberg and Reuters in addition to radio, leading newspapers and magazines across Asia Pacific.

Having held several key positions within the OzForex group since 2004 Jim has helped thousands of businesses and individuals seeking to manage all aspects of their foreign currency needs. He is passionate about ensuring all people, no matter what their level of experience, have access to unbiased information they can understand.

Keep a lid on travel expenses

Monday, September 08, 2014

With the Greenback expected to rise once the US Federal Reserve bank starts to signal higher interest rates, the cost of overseas travel for Australians is also likely to rise. If forecasts for a lower Aussie dollar prove to be correct and we see a depreciation over the next 12 months, then it may be a good time to lock the costs of some travel expenses away. People planning a trip at the end of this year or at some point next year may want to think about starting to save with a travel card soon. So rather than taking the risk of loading the card just before you travel, when the Australian dollar could be weaker, it is possible instead to convert at today’s rates for future spending. As an example: if you plan to travel to North America in 2015 and convert Australian dollars the full article ›
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