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Is Europe headed for another recession?

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Market Commentary, News

The Brussels Times

As we slowly leave the cold season behind us, a wintry chill has suddenly descended on the eurozone economy. Looming storm clouds threaten further disruption. And just as the authorities struggle to get Brussels moving again when a snowstorm hits, eurozone policymakers are ill-equipped to stimulate the economy if it stalls. Indeed, there is a big danger they would actually make matters worse.

Worrying signals

The warning signals are already flashing orange. After a surprisingly strong 2017, the economy weakened substantially last year. When growth almost ground to a halt in the third quarter – and major economies such as Germany and Italy actually shrank – many thought it was just a blip. But the news since then has been ominous. Exports have flagged. Industrial production is falling. Business confidence is down. The blip now looks like a downturn – and if businesses cut back their investment and consumers their spending, it could readily become a recession.

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BT launches 6 new portfolios

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Investment Banking News, News


BT has launched six active, diversified, managed portfolios to meet the core investment needs of a range of clients. The six portfolios, CoreSeries, are available on BT Panorama and cater to different risk profiles with no portfolio level investment management fees and a low underlying fee between 50np and 78bps. The CoreSeries portfolios use retail and institutional investment strategies, providing access and transparency to a range of external managers.

BT head of investment product Rodney Greenhalgh said it was structured to offer transparency, efficiency and a competitive fee structure. CoreSeries offers advisers and their retail clients access to a range of high-quality investment managers with several strategies not otherwise available in Australia to retail investors. “We have utilised our institutional portfolio construction capabilities and scale to deliver a purpose-built SMA with a range of benefits to our clients and their advisers,” said Mr Greenhalgh.

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Xinja pulls largest Aus equity crowdfunding

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Investment Banking News, News


Xinja Bank has raised nearly $2.6 million in its second equity crowdfunding campaign, the largest achieved in the country, with the company saying that Australians are looking to digital banking following the royal commission.The amount raised from the sale of shares on the Equitise crowdfunding platform beat the previous record of $2.44 million Xinja raised in its first campaign early last year. Shares in this round were offered at $2.04, rising up from $1.20 in the first campaign.

According to the neobank, it now has more than 2,500 investors, with over 1,500 in this round and 1,222 in the first, and more than 200 participating in both rounds. The majority of investors, Xinja said, were aged between 24-44, with the percentage of women backing the campaign increasing to 27 per cent, from 17 per cent in the first round. “This equity crowdfund campaign shows that Xinja’s call to shake up the banking sector resonates with many thousands of Australians,” said Eric Wilson, chief executive and founder, Xinja.

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March 2019

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2019, Market Commentary, Newsletters

The state of Australia’s banking and financial services industry is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Following the recent Royal Commission, how can we understand and process the possible ramifications for industry participants?

It’s clear that some participants have acted with recklessness across many sectors within the industry, but what may be more alarming is the institutionalisation of that behaviour, along with the failures of compliance regimes and the systemic failure of organisations to identify and remove those actors from their organisations.

Further, the failure of governance authorities to enforce already relatively strong regulations has not helped. Financial Services Institute of Australia (FINSIA) CEO Chris Whitehead highlighted this point, noting that stronger enforcement along with cultural reform and the elimination of conflicted remuneration models made up the core themes of the final Royal Commission report.

FINSIA and other industry bodies are in an important position after the Royal Commissions’ findings as they are committed to continuing education qualifications and professional ethics from all levels of participant seniority. FINSIA has long advocated for increased education and professionalism and industry bodies like FINSIA are extremely important to the rejuvenation of the whole industry.

Conflicted remuneration models and suspect fees have been a significant thorn uncovered by the Commission, with Commissioner Kenneth Hayne stressing that the cultural toxicity of many organisations to uphold sales and commissions over quality client servicing and observance of the law and standards is a key negative of the industry. Commissioner Hayne stated, “Rewarding misconduct is wrong. Yet incentive, bonus and commission schemes throughout the financial services industry have measured sales and profit, but not compliance with the law and proper standards.”

In a commitment to cleaning up the industry, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg noted the Government would follow up the Royal Commission with an independent inquiry in three years to ensure recommendations and guidance had been followed. With the Government and industry bodies committed to change, we shall wait to see the real response from industry participants beyond their initial public statements. Australian Banking Association (ABA) CEO Anna Bligh has stated in no uncertain terms that the banking industry takes full responsibility for its actions and is committed to rectifying the deep issues within its structures and behaviour.

Simply put, we will only know with time whether change brings better client experience, and a fairer fee environment. The importance of the failure of regulatory agencies to impose their powers, prosecute and monitor the industry must not be overlooked. Regardless of the value of self-regulation and best practice industry standards, without proper governance, the industry lost its way. It is possible the government needs to look further into these regulatory agency failures given that the framework already in place was relatively robust.

Finance Industry Remains Top Breached Sector

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in News


The Finance Industry for the fourth consecutive quarter is among the top three industry sectors by notifiable breaches. The Notifiable Data Breaches Quarterly report for the fourth quarter of last year, released last week revealed the finance industry at second place, sitting just behind health service. From October to November the finance sector including superannuation had 40 breaches, while healthcare had 54 and legal services 23.

Of the data breaches, 11 were due to human error, 28 were malicious or criminal attacks and just one was a system fault. The most common human fault was sending information to the wrong recipient while the most common malicious attack was a cyber incident comprising of phishing, stolen credentials, ransomware and hacking. Chief product officer of SailPoint, a software firm, Paul Trulove said he was not surprised to see the finance industry so high.

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