2015

2015

December 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

2015: A Year in Review

In many ways 2015 was a year of contrasts. We saw increasing confidence in global financial markets driven by a more stable US economy, juxtaposed with a more fragile Eurozone. In June, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment and the Europeans struggled to agree on how to manage their whopping €323bn debt. The news swiftly moved to the migrant influx into Europe which has threatened the stability of the whole region, seemingly culminating in the second terrorist attack in Paris this year. The migrant crisis combined with the escalating war in Syria threatens the Schengen free-travel agreement, and coupled with managing Greece’s debt, the strength of the EU will likely be affected for years to come.

Meanwhile the US economy is slowing awakening from its seven year hibernation with Fed Chair Yellen likely to raise rates for the first time since June 2006 on 16th December. This is an historic moment for the US economy that finally sees the global driving economy return to a normal rate-setting environment and effectively means that the Fed is finally in a position to manage US economic growth. While the US economy remains structurally shaky this is a step in the right direction. Combined with a new president-elect in November 2016 this should be a big confidence boost for the US and global growth through the latter part of 2016.

Asia-Pac has in many ways gone about its business of sustained growth through 2015. It was a great year for the people of Myanmar with the military elite finally allowing free elections, while disagreements regarding Chinese naval basis in the South China Sea are ongoing. The World Bank has downgraded its forecasts for growth in Asia through to 2017. We expect to see a more subdued period of growth from the big regional economies of China and India as they shift toward a more balanced and sustainable growth trajectory. Having said this, many of the economies across the broader Asian region are forecast for 6-7% growth until 2018. The booming economies of Asia are maturing and shaking off the ‘emerging economies’ label. Of course, the region still grapples with rapid growth problems like pollution, political instability and corruption. Australia is looking at aslower 2016 due in part to lower commodity prices as it seeks to reinvent itself from a resource-based economy. It is looking at alternative areas of growth, taking advantage of a highly skilled workforce.

This leads us to comment quickly on climate change, which recently brought world leaders together in Paris. Expect the tackling of climate change to be high on the agenda for 2016, with the US and China finally getting serious about the biggest danger to global growth and standards of living. The Chinese are feeling the by-product of their rapid growth literally through the air they breathe with the air quality deteriorating to close to unliveable conditions in many cities. In the years ahead we will see some serious advancements in the area of renewable energy, not just from leading Scandinavian and European countries, but from the world’s biggest carbon emitters, especially in Asia-Pac.

Have a safe Christmas, try to disconnect and we look forward to helping in your search for work across our four locations of Sydney, Singapore, Melbourne and Hong Kong in 2016. Please reach out to us directly if you are actively seeking a move. And for bite sized pieces of industry news and the latest job opportunities, be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

November 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

Global Investment Trend: Mobile Trading

As we are all well aware, smartphones have become seamlessly integrated into countless aspects of our daily lives and when it comes to trading, there has been no exception. Gen Y is seen to be at the forefront of this trend with CommSec revealing a noticeable increase in young investors over the years, most likely due to the demographics’ development alongside such major technological innovations. As a whole, mobile trading amongst Australian investors has increased drastically, with equity mobile trading figures up 53% compared to a year ago, according to Investment Trends.

Aside from the tech boom disrupting traditional trading practices, the continued shift to mobile trading seems to be in response to the increasing demand in international equities, desire to gain exposure to diversified income platforms or for some, possibly a final plea to escape the stagnant domestic economy of late. Above all, mobile trading provides round the clock access and response to live data feeds which is arguably a must in such volatile international markets today.

However, studies show that this convenience comes at a cost, with small investors increasingly accessing markets and making trades performing worse than traders who adopt a buy-and-hold strategy. In saying this, desktops and other devices are not immune to trading errors as it is purely the mode, not method being impacted by this trend.

Australian investors have been quite slow in adopting mobile trading in comparison to our neighbouring economies, as only 60% of Australian online investors use smartphone platforms, which is well behind the 81% and 83% of Singapore and Hong Kong investors respectively.

In light of the prevalence of mobile trading, there are numerous apps used by small professional traders across Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore. If trading sparks an interest with you as a professional, explore one of the many apps available such as fpmarkets, CommSec, TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, BOOM Mobile Trading or TradeHero.

 

October 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

Flexitime: Bridging the Work-Life Gap

Over the past few years, businesses across the financial services industry are placing an increased focus upon the notion of ‘Flexitime’ . Flexitime explains the ideology of a variable work schedule aimed to attract and retain the best employees an industry has to offer.

Although this is not a new concept, with flexibility in the workplace being outlined in the Fair Work Act 2009 it is quickly becoming a hot topic in workplaces globally.  Technological advancements such as the introduction of smartphones and Skype mean we are constantly connected to the office, challenging the traditional 9-5 working day.

There are obvious benefits for employees adopting a flexitime approach to their professional life, with a recent study by Flexjobs revealing that employees believe it achieves a greater work-life balance, frees up your schedule for family, health and exercise and saves time and money by cutting out that dreaded daily commute.

The benefits of a flexitime working approach do not stop at employees. By granting such flexibility in terms of working hours, workspaces, etc., employers are allowing their staff to work autonomously which helps to increase employee discipline, communication, focus and engagement. Most importantly however, the flexitime concept accounts for talented individuals with personal life constraints to work to their full potential, which ultimately increases diversity in the workforce.

We can turn to the Australian Big 4 Banks for example. All 4 banks have a strong focus on flexibility in the workforce, whether it is through a “Flexi-space” approach adopted by ANZ to utilise different communication mediums, NAB’s Workspace@NAB initiative to maximise workspace utilisation or Westpac and Commonwealth Bank’s option to purchase additional annual leave. The statistics speak for themselves with 89% of Westpac employees wanting to work flexibly by 2017.

Like anything else, there are always issues of debate such as the obvious fear of work replacing one’s personal life altogether, but also the implications for senior employees in relation to a phased retirement approach. Explanations and responses to these concerns will undoubtedly eventuate as flexitime continues to challenge the command and control approaches of management in today’s professional landscape.

 

September 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

Three Ways to Spring Clean Your Social Media Presence

With the blurred lines between the real and virtual world today, our social media presence is undeniably becoming the first impression for many potential employers. According to CareerBuilder’s Social Media Recruitment Survey, 53% of companies rely on social media as a screening tool, up from 39% and 43% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Such figures remind us of the importance of online awareness, specifically regarding channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that are predominately repurposed as a screening tool in the employment world.

In light of this increasing trend amongst recruitment and HR professionals, we have summarised a few ways to ensure your online accounts help rather than hurt your employability.

1. Google yourself
It may seem quite obvious but by Googling yourself you are able to see what online content is:
a) affiliated with you and;
b) accessible to the general public.

2. Amend privacy settings
From the above step you will be able to assess the degree to which the general public can view your social media accounts in order to see which of your accounts need a more in-depth review of their privacy settings. A helpful tool may be restricting tagging capabilities of others to prevent unprofessional content from being involuntarily shared on your behalf.

3. Play the Part
Indirect actions on social media such as ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ posts may help potential employers gauge a candidate’s overall suitability to a firm’s corporate culture. CareerBuilder’s survey confirms this with 56% of employers admitting to researching candidates to find out more about their professional online persona. To use this to your advantage, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ brands and pages representative of the professional persona you wish to portray.

August 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

Focus On: Foreign Exchange

Foreign Exchange, also known as Forex or FX, is the exchange of one currency for another on the foreign exchange market. FX helps facilitate foreign trade and business and even affects your overseas holidays and purchases. The forex market is bigger than the stock exchange. In fact it’s the largest financial market in the world.

Currency trading is done OTC, or over the counter, meaning that all transactions are done electronically between computers right around the globe, 24 hours a day. Once trading is finished in the US, it begins in Asia. There is no central marketplace like the stock exchange for FX trading.

The price of one currency is set against the price of another, with over US $4tr changing hands each day. Factors such as global economics, policy and politics can affect the performance of different currencies, and essentially traders want to capitalise on this fluctuation by speculating on their rise or fall in the future.

There are three ways of trading on the FX market. The spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current market price. The forwards market trades in contracts and exchanges currencies in the future, rather than straight away, at a price agreed upon when the contract is made. And futures trading also trades in contracts but speculates on the future performance of commodities.

July 2015

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2015

Focus On: the Smart Nation Initiative

The Singapore Smart Nation Initiative was launched in 2014 and employs an ‘E3A Vision’ – ‘ Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, All the time’. Essentially their mission is to improve the lives of all Singaporeans. They also aim to create greater opportunities for business. You just have to spend a few minutes on their site to see it’s all about technology: the Cloud, drones and cutting edge design.

The Initiative is well underway with around $30 billion SGD invested in the project over the past decade and the unveiling of numerous technological prototypes and pilot programs since the beginning of this year.

Generally speaking Singapore is a pretty forward-thinking nation. They have a tech-savvy population and high connectivity capabilities. It certainly sounds like the recipe for a modern, technologically advanced utopia in a country which already boasts a low crime rate and is the second safest in the world.

Naturally they’ll face some challenges getting everyone on board. The first phase of the project involves keeping everyone in Singapore constantly connected to the internet via their mobile devices. This may not be for everyone and may spark some ‘Big Brother’ type skepticism. But as the IDA’s Executive Deputy Chairman said, “Privacy of information is a foundation of anything going forward. There is a difference between privacy and anonymity – the information you don’t mind giving out if it will lead to improvements.”

Our clients include

* Prior invoiced clients across the region.