December 24, 2019

Time flies when you’re having fun – where did the decade go?


Mark Causer


This commonly used idiom or cliché describes the feeling of time passing by very quickly. Most scientific research was able to explain away this perception of phenomenon as simply the desire to do, see, hear, read and observe more and not enough time in which to do it all. In scientific circles, it was also referred to as Time Pressure.

This commonly used idiom or cliché describes the feeling of time passing by very quickly. Most scientific research was able to explain away this perception of phenomenon as simply the desire to do, see, hear, read and observe more and not enough time in which to do it all. In scientific circles, it was also referred to as Time Pressure.

2019 was every bit this, from investment markets to the inner workings of the Financial Keys business.

As the 10th and last year of the decade draws to an end and in keeping with Financial Keys tradition, we take a quick look back at the year that was 2019.   

Brexit - to be or not to be.

Although the UK is no longer the global powerhouse it once was, Brexit dominated global headlines and was one of several disruptive forces for global markets. At the time of writing, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party had won a decisive victory, the largest win for the Tories since the days of Margaret Thatcher - while the opposition Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn will have suffered their worst defeat in several decades.

As such, Johnson and the Conservatives will assuredly plough forward with Brexit as this could happen in a matter of months and give us a reason to revisit the investment merits of the UK.

US v China v the rest of the world – the never ending story on trade wars and probably the key disruptor of 2019

Can we finally see a small flickering of light at the end of the tunnel? As we stand today, the assumption is a US / China trade deal will be done. The latest ‘good oil’ would have us suggest that some form of deal is likely to be finalised in the Dec 2019 to Feb 2020 period. The view is that leading into the US November 2020 election, the US President will want at least two quarters of positive economic data to support his re-election campaign and to demonstrate to voters a 'win' over China.

It is in both the US and China’s interests that both countries come to some type of deal. From the US angle, Trump has his political self-interest in mind as well as the long-term interests of the country he is hoping to lead for a second term. In the event a deal is done, the impact may be a wider headline economic recovery in China and a boost to the US as well as increased European confidence around trade negotiations.

The Trump impeachment should only be a sideline act – for now.

There was of course a long list of other disruptors in 2019 – too many to list. Australia even saw a somewhat stable government for six months of 2019!

In researching for the December newsletter, there were many interesting as well as obscure changes during 2019 – I share a few with you;

  • The rise and rise of the ‘techos’ – Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook, Tencent etc. 
  • Scientists edge closer to achieving viable nuclear fusion power production which is safe and produces zero carbon emissions. 
  • New nanoparticle technology promises to reduce symptoms for sufferers of celiac disease by up to 90%.  
  • A construction company in Austin Texas has begun work on affordable 3D-printed houses for the homeless that take only 27 hours to build.  
  • Airbus announce plans to fit their A350-900 aircrafts with sensors that will track, amongst other things, how often you visit the bathroom.  
  • The UK is considering plans to conduct genetic sequencing on all children born in the country.   
  • China has banned 23 million people from purchasing travel tickets as part of their ‘social credit’ population monitoring system.   
  • Amazon is sued for illegally recording children’s voices and conversations on Alexa-enabled devices.   
  • New AI technology demonstrates the ability to write an entire fake news story after being given just a few words. 
  • Russian farmers have begun strapping virtual reality goggles to dairy cows in order to reduce anxiety and improve milk production. 
  • New AI algorithms could predict and prevent marital arguments before they even start.   
  • Modern cars are collecting 25 gigabytes of data per operating hour including monitoring how much you weigh and what you listen to. 
  • Plans are underway for paid advertising in space using giant billboards made up of micro satellites. 
  • US pharmacy giant Walgreens begins rolling out smart refrigerator doors that use facial recognition to customize display ads for customers as they walk past.  

In a somewhat fitting comment, in a recent address at the World Economic Forum, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued persuasively that “the pace of change may never have been this fast, but it will never again be this slow.”

Over the last year, Financial Keys has also been very busy behind the scenes, ensuring that our service offering remains superior and continues to add value to our clients.

Some highlights include:

  • Financial Keys continues to maintain its own Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), enabling us to continue to provide unconflicted advice to clients, in their best interests, with no link to any large corporate entity or institution. 
  • A review of the investment Wrap or administration platforms across the industry. As a result of this review we have been able to negotiate administration fee discounts for our clients. Where suitable, you will be notified of how this may benefit you, if you haven’t already. 
  • Conducted a review of the independent investment consultants across the industry, selecting one particular investment consultant at the end of 2018 to further enhance the Financial Keys investment capability and maintain quality portfolios for clients. 
  • We have negotiated management fee rebates from a number of fund managers and these rebates will be passed back to Financial Keys clients in full. 
  • Financial Keys added to its ranks, welcoming back Matt Congiusta as an Adviser and Principal. Thankfully Matt has driven down the average age of the Principals.

We look forward to working with you into the next decade and sharing how some of these changes and other opportunities we are considering can further enhance your financial position on a personal basis.

Best wishes for the holiday season and a prosperous 2020 to you and your families.

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