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News and Insights

Market Commentary - August 2012

by Brendan Gallagher

Investment market’s focus on Europe has continued to dominate headlines over the past quarter with Spain now replacing Greece on centre stage. Sovereign debt and banking issues of these countries, together with nervousness of the recent Greece elections, led to falling markets in May and early June. Since then, share markets have strengthened as each of the European spot fires has been extinguished.

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August 3, 2012

The world is a different place to that of the last bull market (2003-2007) and the way we look at investing in the global investment universe should be re-examined. Financial Keys has identified a fund manager with the characteristics that make it truly a manager of our time. The Magellan Global Fund (MGF) is designed to take advantage of the changing landscape of global markets.

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August 2, 2012

Is Cash Really King?

by Mark Causer

There have been many articles written on the Global Financial Crisis (or GFC as it is now commonly referred to); so much so that I am sure the acronym is headed for the Oxford Dictionary! It is hard to find ANY story that provides an optimistic short, medium or even longer term view (insert country of choice to suit your argument).

All of this volatility has made global investors extremely nervous. As a result, many have flooded back to the supposed safety of ‘cash’ (term deposits, savings accounts, cash management trusts) - billions of dollars have been transferred back into cash. Investing money into cash has never made anybody wealthy, however Australians are now more aware that the Government will protect their cash (up to $250,000) and over the last few years cash has managed to contribute a positive return to their investment portfolios. Therefore the obvious thing to do is move to cash to avoid risk!

But how safe is this strategy? Is cash really King or possibly the Court Jester?

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August 1, 2012

Market Commentary - May 2012

by Brendan Gallagher

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hit a nine month high early in May, closing at 4,429.5 points after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates by a larger than expected 50 basis points. Since then, renewed fear of a disorderly Greek default and exit from the Euro has been a major driver of a flight to safety and subsequent falls in global share markets.

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May 2, 2012

2012 Federal Budget

by Mark Causer

On the 8th of May 2012, Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered his fifth (and some might predict his last) Federal budget. Falling out of this Budget are the usual announcements to which advisers and accountants must consult with their clients, to ensure that their personal circumstances are maximised for the following 2013 financial year and potentially beyond.

Given the impact that this year’s Budget places on Superannuation, therefore accumulation and retirement planning, we have placed a little more focus onto this area in this quarter’s newsletter.

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May 1, 2012

Market Commentary - February 2012

by Brendan Gallagher

European sovereign debt issues continued to influence local and international markets over the past quarter. While Australian shares and bonds continue to produce strong income, the volatility of share prices continues.

Europe remains the drag on global markets. The debt crisis lingers and has seen several countries have their credit rating downgraded, including France. Germany remains the only major European economy with a triple-A rating. The Greek debt crisis provides ongoing news headlines out of Europe. European leaders are offering additional funds to prop up the Greek economy provided strict austerity policies are introduced, designed to cut costs, boost the governments ailing revenues and cut debt levels. With so many European countries and institutions involved, it is a slow and complicated process.

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February 3, 2012

In November 2011, after intense lobbying by the banks, the Australian Government announced they had amended regulations to allow the Australian banks to issue covered bonds, while still ensuring the relative security or priority of deposit holders.

This announcement made its way into the financial pages and also received a small amount of media coverage. Peter Fullerton, Senior Credit Analyst from Schroder Investment Management lifts the bonnet to see what all the fuss is about and outlines his findings in this article.

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February 2, 2012

It will not come as a surprise to any of you, especially the first home buyer, that Australia has one of the most expensive property markets in the world. Capital city house prices have more than quadrupled and household debt has tripled since 1990.

The recent annual Demographia survey of house prices across seven English speaking nations places Australia up front, with the exception of land starved Hong Kong, Australia remains the highest cost housing market in the Anglo world. Out of the 325 metropolitan markets around the world, Sydney was the 3rd most expensive and Melbourne the 5th with other major cities not much better. In the US, many bustling metropolises like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston have house prices much less than one third of those seen in Melbourne and Sydney.

As a result of Australia’s very expensive property market, homeowners really notice any slight increases when interest rates are raised. In fact, such is the expense and percentage of the family annual salary that mortgage repayments devour, talk of interest rate drops and RBA’s 2.30pm announcement takes on unprecedented importance – many investment houses will run a ‘book’ on which way rates will move!

Following on from this in more recent times, is the general public feeling of utter helplessness when our major banks fail to pass on any rate cuts. While we have some relief now with low interest rates relative to days gone by (think 1990s when rates where high double digits), most projections show that interest rates will rise again and many people may start to feel stress from their mortgage, if the GFC is not already placing a strain on their monthly budget.

This article is designed to provide some helpful tips on how to beat rate rises and avoid mortgage stress.

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February 1, 2012

With the current volatility in global markets, many investors are making nervous decisions and selling their growth investments for cash. Like others, they are retreating to the sidelines and are merely watching and taking no action. Both of these strategies can potentially be damaging financially, because a declining market may well offer investment opportunities.

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November 1, 2011

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