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Special Reports

Global sharemarkets have risen this year as major risks have eased
Compared with a year ago the world economy is in much better shape; the US has slowly grown back to full employment, China continues to roar ahead and the European and Japanese economies have started to grow again.

December 2017

How to navigate the common estate planning pitfalls
People often think they have a very clear idea of what they want to achieve with their estate plan and they usually think it will be straight-forward.  But unfortunately that's not usually the case.

December 2017

Investor bias:  The eye only sees what the mind is prepared to comprehend
Perhaps the most unhelpful of the psychological flaws we are prone to as investors is 'confirmation bias'. Our desire to seek out information which reinforces our existing beliefs and to reject anything which undermines our prejudices is powerful and dangerous.

November 2017

Australian banks still worth a place in most portfolios… despite what some commentators say
Barring disasters, the Australian banks should produce returns of the order of 10% per annum over the next decade… which means banks will be worth a place in most investment portfolios.

October 2017

Are interest rates unnaturally low? Or are they where they should be?

We hear the claim that interest rates have been kept unnaturally low by Central Banks around the world with the clear implication that no good will come of this and, before long, they will be forced to take them back to more natural levels.

July 2017

The end of the residential property boom?
Residential property has been a wonderful investment for millions of Australians over the past 30+ years. However, as Warren Buffett also noted, past returns and future returns are quite different things.

June 2017

Financial Insights - 2017 Federal Budget Edition
In delivering his second budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered a budget purporting to lift the economy from an underlying cash balance deficit of $29.4b for 2017-18 to a projected surplus of $7.4b by 2020-21. The Budget expects the economy to rebound and grow at 2.75% in 2017-18 and 3.0% in 2018-19, supported by growth in household consumption, exports and a transition to non-mining business investment.

May 2017

Contributing to your community and establishing a lasting legacy
Giving back to the community through contributions to charitable projects and initiatives is highly rewarding.  Philanthropy can truly connect your family across multiple generations, now and into perpetuity.

April 2017

Is it an honour to be named an executor… or is it a burden with significant risk?
An executor is appointed within your will and is responsible for managing your estate and distributing assets according to your wishes. The duties of an executor can be significantly time consuming, exceptionally complex and emotionally draining.

March 2017

Rethinking post-retirement asset allocation
While growth assets are widely accepted in asset allocation decisions during the accumulation phase, many investors overlook the benefit allocating to shares can provide in the way of growing tax-effective income in the post-retirement phase.

March 2017

China, the Rest of the West and Viewing the World through New Lenses

Prospects for Chinese equities in light of Donald Trump's presidency

February 2017

Geopolitical risk has gone up a little this year, but not enough to change investment strategy or our long term forecasts

The past six months has been marked by dramatic geopolitical surprises:

December 2016

What are the limits on superannuation contributions in the 2016/17 financial year?

In the 2016 Federal Budget, the government proposed a number of changes to the superannuation rules,. Since then, some of the proposals have been dropped but the majority have been legislated with amendments. 

December 2016

What's Driving Voter Resentment in the US and Europe?

Across the world, there has been a surge in support for populist causes and politicians, but this disillusionment with the status quo was not fomented in a vacuum. 

November 2016

Trump v Clinton: who will be better for the US sharemarket?

US voters are about to decide the 45th President of the United States by choosing between Republican nominee, Donald Trump, or Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton. 

October 2016

The power of social proof (or how 'herd behaviour' can drive investment bubbles and busts)

Social proof is when people follow the actions of others in an attempt to reflect the “correct” behaviour for a given situation.

September 2016

Has it really been 26 years without a recession in Australia? Or is it only two?

How long is it since Australia had a recession? Most would say 26 years. That's close to a world record!

August 2016

How companies make the leap from good to great

In the Formula One car race recently held in Melbourne the difference between first and fifth place was 59 seconds.

July 2016

What level of return should we accept from shares?

When we look at historical returns, we find that over very long periods of time, in a variety of countries, shares have generally produced returns of around...

June 2016

Superannuation year-end planning for 2015/16 - how do the Federal Budget proposals change your intent to contribute prior to 1 July 2016?

Understanding what you could do before and after 30 June 2016 can provide the icing on the tax cake for employees, investors and those in small business... 

June 2016

Behavioural finance: Why ‘short-termism’ is hard-wired in investors (and why it’s bad for their wealth)

At the start of a new year, investors tend to ponder the prospects for the subsequent 12 months.

May 2016

Federal Budget 2016: An economic plan, not just another budget

In this special federal budget edition of Financial Insights, we have listed the main proposals of the 2016 Federal Budget, commenting on those measures which most impact upon you in your financial journeys.

May 2016

Why investors' current pessimism is misplaced 

In the recent film of Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short, no one wants to believe the US housing market is heading for a crash...

March 2016

Super inheritances: The lump sum versus pension conundrum 

Let’s look at the case of Richie and his wife Sue. Richie is a member of a superannuation fund which also has life insurance. At the age of 60, Richie passes away...

9 March 2016

What do world-class companies do better than their competitors? 

Company management, if they have a worthwhile ambition, it’s this one: to turn their businesses into world-class operations.

February 2016

Have we reached the limits of Quantitative Easing? 

We are more than six years into a recovery in the developed world and official interest rates are still at emergency levels...

December 2015

It's a good time to invest in shares - despite the recession talk

In recent times there has been much discussion as to whether Australia is about to enter a recession.

December 2015

The promised splurge on infrastructure - will it revive the global economy? 

In 1919, a US lieutenant colonel helped lead an 81-strong convoy of vehicles across the US as part of a campaign by the military to highlight the need for better highways across the US...

November 2015

The Australian Housing Outlook report 2015 - 2018 

We are pleased to share with Australian Unity the latest edition of the Australian Housing Outlook, exclusively complied and researched for QBE by BIS Shrapnel...

November 2015

Dividend imputation's unheralded magic...

What a dreadful thing is the dividend-imputation tax system....

September 2015

What's causing the volatility in global investment markets?

Share markets around the world have been experiencing a significant level of volatility....

August 2015

Will Greece stay with the euro? 

Greece is negotiating with its creditors to gain a third bailout....

August 2015

Greece succumbs to Stein's Law...

Herbert Stein (1916-1999) was a US economist who was influential in his time....

July 2015

Which investment markets are attractive right now...and which are not?

Quite a bit of media attention has been around the subject of equity and property markets being quite expensive...

June 2015

What are the key implications of the 2015 Federal Budget?

'Families and Fairness' is how the Treasurer, Joe Hockey labeled his second federal budget....

May 2015

Superannuation year end planning for 2014/15

The end of the financial year always seems to creep up...

May 2015

The way out for debt-stricken governments could be to come after your wealth

Austerity has failed to reduce the debt burdens of governments...

April 2015

Interest rates tipped to stay low for a long time yet

We predict very low interest rates....

March 2015

How the internet has unwittingly halted the globalisation tide

The world's first great era of globalisation...

February 2015

Death benefits and SMSFs: How to ensure there are no nasty surprises.

Estate Planning is an essential part of superannuation...

January 2015

2015: The year ahead for investment markets

The US-led global recovery looks set to continue into 2015...

December 2014

Most share markets remain attractively priced, despite recent volatility and bad news

Much has happened in investment markets over the past six months - some good, some bad...

December 2014

What's causing the recent increase in sharemarket volatility? And why it may just be a shorter term issue.

In the last week or so, we have seen an escalation in volatility in the Australian sharemarket...

October 2014
Global re-balancing slowly healing the wounds from the GFC

Whenever people pinpoint the causes of the global financial crisis, they usually list the massive expansion of credit...

July 2014
Long term sharemarket prospects remain solid with normal ups and downs

Sharemarkets have continued to produce solid returns over the first half of this year...

June 2014

 Superannuation year end planning for 2014

The end of the financial year always seems to crop up faster than it should... 

June 2014

2014 Federal Budget Special Overview - 'Contribute and Build'

‘Contribute and Build’ is how the Treasurer, Joe Hockey labelled his first federal budget....

May 2014

What are the pros and cons of holding life insurance in super?

Having insurance cover in super is often seen as an attractive way for someone to structure some or all of their benefits...

April 2014

The aged care reforms – what you need to know

Aged care can be a minefield for prospective residents and their families to navigate, and it is about to get more difficult with significant rule changes looming...

March 2014

Two investment themes which will help drive sharemarket opportunities in Asia

Online Advertising is a theme we expect to attract massive investor interest in years to come...

February 2014

How Mutual Wills can help provide certainty for beneficiaries

Mutual wills are wills that include a binding contract between the parties...

January 2014

Even after a strong 2013 from sharemarkets, their long term prospects remain solid

It’s fair to say that 2013 was generally a good year for investors in share markets...

December 2013

How the superannuation ’Bring Forward Rule’ works for people aged 64

A common question from clients concerns the rules around making non‑concessional contributions to superannuation and the ‘bring forward rule’...

November 2013

The New Internet Age

Rather like the disruptive technology of the railways in the 1800s, which spawned a succession of stock market booms, we believe the Internet could prove just as potent at exciting similar crowd behaviour... 

November 2013

Update on the US Government Shutdown

The US government shutdown has entered its second week. This is not as dire as it sounds... 

October 2013

The liquidity risks of holding business property in an SMSF… and an efficient solution

Small business owners looking to fund the purchase of illiquid assets, such as property, through their selfmanaged super fund (SMSF) could benefit from some distinct advantages...

September 2013

Super and Divorce: Making the best of a bad situation

The issue of superannuation and divorce requires a good understanding of the interactions between family, superannuation and tax laws as well as a great deal of patience and emotional sensitivity...

August 2013

Current Australian sharemarket volatility just a speed bump (and a good buying opportunity) 

After 12 months of almost uninterrupted rises, the Australian sharemarket fell by almost 10% in May/June.

July 2013

Don't sail in murky waters? Why ‘known unknowns’ help take risk out of investing

When all the risks are plain to see, investors understandably become cautious. But often, the very best time to buy is when the risks are well and truly known...

June 2013

The case for diversifying your investments

Market history tells us that asset classes perform differently from one year to the next...

June 2013

The 2013 Federal Budget: How the proposed changes to superannuation could affect you

In the lead up to the Federal Budget the Government heralded a significant number of proposals for changes to superannuation which could impact on the financial positions of many Australians.

May 2013

The issues in Cyprus should not derail the global economic recovery

Despite the Cypriot tragedy and threat of contagion into the broader Eurozone, the next few years will see stronger global GDP numbers 

than in a very, very long time... 

April 2013

SMSFs and the new insurance regulation - what SMSF Trustees need to know

Trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) will now have to consider the need to hold insurance cover for their members...

March 2013

Resilient US economy set to grow in spite of austerity measures

Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva warns about the great threat his country faces; the spending cuts and tax increases imposed by 

Portugal’s rescuers...

February 2013

How investors can harness emotions for better investment decisions

The market meltdown triggered in 2008 by the global financial and economic crisis has left a legacy of pessimism that continues to rule the minds of many investors despite subsequent periods of both economic and market recovery...

January 2013

Share market shrugging off bad news

Over the past six months share markets have continued to be hit by bad news...

7 December 2012

The Australian dollar’s Achilles Heel might finally cause a de-valuation

The Australian dollar (AUD) is routinely considered to be the commodity currency par excellence...

9 October 2012

The implications of the slackening mining boom

“The end of the boom” story gained a lot of currency over the past month...

5 September 2012

Stronger Super Reforms: How SuperStream and MySuper will impact employer super arrangements

The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the Government’s Stronger Super reforms and comment on the potential impact proposed changes will have on employer superannuation arrangements...

20 August 2012

How risk insurance fits into your financial plan

Typically you would expect that you would grow your assets until you retire and then those assets would be depleted over your retirement, possibly with some left for your estate.

20 July 2012

The Eurozone Crisis: It’s up to the politicians, not central bankers, now

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was blunt when justifying why the central bank left interest rates 

unchanged in June even though the eurozone recession is deepening...

10 July 2012

Europe’s dreadful and maybe not-so-dreadful choices

UK Prime Minister David Cameron upset his European counterparts recently...

22 May 2012

Investment opportunities to increase in Asian markets in 2012

Investors in Asian markets, and emerging markets in general, experienced some challenging times in 2011...

8 March 2012

The problems business owners face when a partner dies or is disabled

This Financial Insights examines some of the issues that confront the family members of deceased or disabled small and medium business owners seeking to extract their interest out of the former owner’s business...

13 February 2012

Why central banking is becoming increasingly challenging

The past four years have presented the greatest challenge to central banks in a generation...

6 February 2012

How will investment markets fare in 2012?

Few investors will be sad to see the end of 2011...

16 January 2012

The European Debt crisis rolls on – but the good news is that sharemarkets aren’t too worried

Over the past ten weeks, the news out of Europe has increasingly worsened... 

1 December 2011

How long will your savings last in retirement?

Try our 'Money Life Calculator'

8 November 2011

The storm before the calm

For the month, the ASX 200 fell by 6.7%, its sixth successive monthly fall...

11 October 2011

Central banks take centre stage

The global economy is set for a rocky few months, characterised by risk aversion in financial markets resulting in weaker economic growth...

6 October 2011

The pros and cons of the different ownership structures for insurance cover for business estate planning

Business estate refers to planning how a business will be managed in the event of death, illness, injury or retirement of one of its key stakeholders.

3 October 2011

The US and European debt crisis turns into a crisis of confidence in Australia

Over the past six weeks, sharemarkets around the world have been crunched on fears surrounding solvency...

20 September 2011

Markets recover after August falls 

Few investors will be sorry to see the back of August...

8 September 2011

Positive signs for the Australian economy, but caution will warranted 

Despite policymakers retaining a positive outlook for the Australian economy

3 August 2011

Lessons from the Eurozone debt crisis 

The eurozone debt crisis is still unfolding. No one knows how or when it will end...

13 July 2011

Problems in Europe may be overstated 

The month of May saw the Australian share market have its worst month since June last year...

7 June 2011

To what extent do key financial factors impact on the life of your retirement savings? 

Everyone has different expectations as to what level of income will provide them with comfortable retirement...

6 May 2011

One Woe Doth Tread Upon Another's Heel 

As Shakespeare wrote centuries ago, (and paraphrasing just slightly) there’s nothing so bad that it can’t get worse...

12 April 2011

How to safeguard your vision of a secure financial future for your business and its 

people if the unexpected happens


Business estate planning is the process of arranging your business affairs...

8 March 2011

A tragic start to the year 

All Australians know the main story so far this year has been the tragic floods...
7 February 2011
What will 2011 look like – a quick economic overview 

The Australian economy begins 2011 with a fair head of steam: employment has increased by 3.7% in the past twelve months…
12 January 2011
Negative Gearing Vs Superannuation 

What is the best way of investing spare income to create wealth...
15 December 2010
Where to now for the Australian Dollar? 

Share markets had a moderately successful October. The US market rose by more than 3%...
15 November 2010
A mood change in investment markets? 

Share markets did better in September. Investors breathed a sigh of relief...
12 October 2010
What’s driving consumption in the Australian economy? 

Recent comments from Reserve Bank officials suggest that policymakers are increasingly concerned...
6 October 2010
What are some of the key financial issues to consider prior to entering an Aged Care Hostel or Nursing Home? 

Nursing homes and hostels are categorised by the government as aged care facilities. The main difference between the two...
1 October 2010
The new growth model 

The Australian economy is becoming increasingly dependent on a narrow source of growth...
2 September 2010
Global equity markets continue to feel the pressure 

For a while, markets were starting to get some support from the consistently good economic data...
13 August 2010
Good news for retirees – Government extends pension drawdown relief 

You might remember that as a result of the impact of the Global Financial Crisis on retirees’ retirement nest-eggs...
5 July 2010
What are the implications of the proposed changes to superannuation rules? 

The Government proposed two significant changes to the superannuation...