On the Money

Home ownership is no longer a one-way street

More than in many countries, in Australia home ownership has traditionally been seen as a journey, with most of us aspiring to own a home and pay down a mortgage by the time we retire. Because it’s been seen as…

Phony competition inducing consumer paralysis

Do you think you are paying more than you should for energy, banking, insurance, internet and phone services? You are not alone, and you are probably right. Companies offer a growing number of deals that supposedly enable you to choose…

Help wanted, advice needed… digital wealth to the rescue

Fewer people in Australia are likely to get financial advice in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission – the inevitable consequence of implementing the final report’s wide-ranging recommendations. The irony should not be lost on anyone. Although the Royal…

The greening of China

I recently returned from a research trip to China and was struck by how seriously environmental issues are now being taken by government and town planners. As China continues to develop, environmental issues are increasingly front and centre in what…

Taking ESG beyond impact investing

For fixed-income investors, understanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors – as they are financially material to performance – has proven to be critical in assessing an issuer’s fundamental quality. In our experience, integrating ESG factors into traditional fundamental research,…

Getting the SG settings right

Variations in personal circumstances show that a uniform rate of SG cannot be effective in targeting adequacy for all. However, we must choose a suitable rate – one that provides adequacy for most while not being excessively generous to too…

New Zealand’s search for an alternative to GDP

Last week’s wellbeing budget in New Zealand was based on the Livings Standards Framework (LSF), a set of wellbeing measures that include cultural identity, environment, income and consumption, and social connections. But these provide no overall index of the nation’s…

What Tversky and Kahneman could have told Shorten

The Australian Labor Party’s 2019 election campaign showed a depth and breadth of economic policies rare for an opposition party to present. Its policy agenda was boldly extensive. But in developing these policies over the past five years, it seems…

Negative gearing isn’t a rort – but something else is

Perhaps the most woefully misunderstood economic issue of the election campaign has been negative gearing. I’ve been baffled by the number of times I’ve read commentary by otherwise thoughtful people describing negative gearing as a distortion of the property market…

First home buyer assistance plan: handle with care

The Coalition has put forward a scheme to help first home buyers get into homes, under which the government will underwrite a loan of 15 per cent of the value of the home, to be treated as part of their…