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Led by award-winning consumer advocate Denise Brailey, BFCSA (Inc) are a group of people who are concerned about the appalling growth of Loan Fraud around the world. BFCSA (Inc) is a not for profit organisation in the spirit of global community concern and justice.

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Nursing home residents ‘doped for years at a time’ The Australian 12:00am January 15, 2019 Rick Morton   EXCLUSIVE  A damning submission to the aged-care royal commission reveals elderly nursing home residents have been doped for years at a time with psychotropic drugs, one of which is prescribed in Australia for only three-month sessions and is not approved for dementia patients overseas. Unprecedented research by former pharmacist and current dementia researcher Juanita Westbury found the use of “as-needed” antipsychotic prescriptions in nursing homes was the highest it had been. Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates has backed Dr Westbury and says the royal commission must address the issue “because it is systemic, unlike physical and sexual violence”. “We have seen a significant shift from physical restraints to chemical restraint in the past ­decade, or even longer, so now it is hidden,” Mr Yates said. “Residents in aged-care homes are...
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  Banks turn to covered bonds as funding spreads widen Australian Financial Review 14 Jan 2019 7:10 PM Jonathan Shapiro   Australia's big four banks have turned to ultra-safe covered bonds to meet their annual funding targets, as wholesale funding margins have increased to their highest level in two years. On Friday, ANZ Banking Group completed a £750 million ($1.34 billion) AAA-rated covered bond issue, marking the first time the bank had turned to this form of funding in more than a year. Covered bonds grant investors additional security because they are backed by a pool of mortgages. They rank ahead of senior bonds, followed by Tier II bonds, which carry additional risks because they can be "bailed-in" or converted to equity in a crisis. Tier II bonds however rank ahead of Tier I hybrids and ordinary shareholder equity, which are the most expensive forms of capital for banks to raise....
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Labor's capital expenditure tax plan welcomed by business Australian Financial Review 14 Jan 2019 8:00 PM John Kehoe   Business pressure is building on the Morrison government to beat Labor's proposed $10 billion in accelerated tax breaks for corporate capital expenditure that will reward investment-intensive manufacturers, energy generators, oil and gas producers, miners and other firms. The little-noticed 20 per cent instant asset write-off for capital expenditure above $20,000 is one of Labor's few economic policies that will directly help the big end of town. It contrasts with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's class-war rhetoric, planned tax hikes on the wealthy and proposed bolstering of trade union power. In the lead-up to the federal government budget in April and expected May election, the Morrison government is under pressure from business to counter Labor's corporate tax policy, after Mr Shorten blocked the Coalition's proposed cut to the 30 per cent tax rate for...
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Commercial property deals fall 9pc as transaction market enters downturn Australian Financial Review 14 Jan 2019 5:54 PM Larry Schlesinger   Transaction activity in Australian commercial real estate has entered a cyclical downturn with new figures from CBRE showing the value of deals fell 9 per cent to $32.8 billion in 2018 in part due to a major slump in Chinese investment. Over the same period, the volume of deals slumped 10 per cent to their lowest level in five years, with CBRE recording 818 deals valued at $5 million or more over the year compared with 908 deals in 2017 and 1055 deals in 2016. A major factor in the large fall in activity in 2018 was a pullback from Chinese investors with the CBRE figures showing they spent just over $1 billion on commercial property in 2018 – also the lowest figure in five years. "With a large volume...
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One third of self-managed super funds are too small to make adequate returns The New Daily 10:16pm, Jan 14 Rod Myer   Almost half of Australians with self-managed super funds are undercutting their own retirements, according to last week’s Productivity Commission report into superannuation, which found many funds were too small to make comparable returns. Despite the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority expressing concern about SMSF borrowings for at least five years, debt in the funds blew out by 47.5 per cent in the year to September 2017 as regulators tried to wind back property investment. In its report on super, the PC said: “Large SMSFs earn broadly similar net returns to APRA-regulated funds, but smaller ones (with less than $500,000 in assets) perform significantly worse on average.” Almost half of funds too small “An estimated 380,000 members are in smaller SMSFs that have been established for more than two years. The...
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Future Fund tender plan for superannuation Australian Financial Review 15 Jan 2019 5:55 AM John Kehoe   EXCLUSIVE  The federal government would host competitive tenders to manage default superannuation investments for workers to try to deliver higher returns via a system involving the Future Fund, under an option being canvassed by the Morrison government. Some senior Liberals are sceptical of regulators selecting the best 10 default superannuation funds for new workforce entrants, as recommended by the Productivity Commission's report last week, though it hasn't been ruled out. An option being explored by senior ministers is the Future Fund being called in as part of a competitive government-run tender to help manage the superannuation investments of workers, according to senior sources. Industry and retail superannuation funds, or other asset managers, could bid to manage the day-to-day buying and selling investment decisions, potentially after the $149 billion sovereign wealth fund made high-level asset...
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Engineers question strength of Opal Tower support beams The Australian 12:00am January 15, 2019 Elias Visontay   EXCLUSIVE  Engineers investigating defects at Sydney’s Opal Tower have raised doubts about errors in the design of key horizontal support beams. As an interim report into the cracking of concrete panels that triggered two evacuations of the building is expected to be released, investigators disagree as to whether the grade of reinforced concrete used in the support beams was strong enough to withstand the pressure of precast concrete panels installed on top of them. Several sources close to the ­investigation have told The Australian that one theory is that the beams lacked sufficient strength, causing pressure on the concrete panels, which cracked and sparked the evacuations. But another theory is that grouting between the precast panels and the beams contributed to the cracking in the panels. Investigators’ reports handed to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts...
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The Australian Dream Died Alone in an Apartment Bloomberg January 12, 2019 David Fickling David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.   For people in the U.S., the American Dream is a vision of broadly shared prosperity, freedom and opportunity. Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream focuses on rising incomes and national renewal. Australians once had a simpler aspiration: owning a detached suburban home on a quarter-acre of land. That vision died a while ago. Back in the 1980s, single-family detached homes comprised about three-quarters of building approvals, and even through the 1990s and 2000s the proportion was still around two-thirds. Since then, it’s plummeted to less than half, with high-rises taking up an increasing share of Australia’s traditionally single-story skylines. In many ways,...
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Call to close errant developers’ loopholes The Australian 12:00am January 14, 2019 Sam Buckingham-Jones   More than 1350 construction companies in Australia went into administration in a 12-month ­period, a figure experts say highlights how some are used to avoid liability, leaving unit owners and body corporates exposed. In the wake of the fallout from the Opal Tower fiasco, in which more than 300 people were evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks appeared in the Sydney building, construction industry veterans have called for proposed reforms to be fast-tracked. According to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s most recent insolvency statistics, 1354 construction companies entered external administration in the year to September 2018. The previous year, to September 2017, there were 1506, and 1647 for the 2016 period. In NSW, owners can take the builder and developer of an apartment block to court under the state’s statutory warranties, which are two years...
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Pressure on banks to raise rates The Australian 12:00am January 14, 2019 David Rogers   Pressure is growing on Australia’s major banks to wind back new mortgage discounts and push through further out-of-cycle increases to lending rates in response to higher funding costs. Last week’s home loan rate rises by Bank of Queensland could trigger a new round of increases despite a still record-low official cash rate set by the Reserve Bank, analysts warned. At the same time a run-up in global funding costs could increase the chance of an official rate cut later this year. “Another blowout in bank funding costs is adding to the pressure for an RBA rate cut,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital. “This is bad news for households seeing falling house prices.” In recent months, the difference in yield between three-month bank bills and the expected RBA cash...
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Regulators sound alarm over SMSF property speculation The Australian 12:00am January 14, 2019 Michael Roddan   EXCLUSIVE  A surge in property speculation by leveraged self-managed super funds amid sliding house prices in the nation’s biggest cities has sparked concerns among the powerful Council of Financial Regulators that many may be in over their heads. Confidential documents, obtained by The Australian under Freedom of Information rules, reveal a renewed rush by SMSFs to take out mortgages for property investment despite an increasing crackdown by the major banks to close off the problematic credit products. Documents collated for the regulator show the total value of property investment loans held by SMSFs has raced to $39 billion — more than 5 per cent of all assets in the $700bn self-managed super sector by the end of the June quarter. Loans for property investment through SMSFs are considered “limited recourse” because if the loan defaults,...
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Chunky capital concerns over big four banks' Kiwi arms Australian Financial Review 14 Jan 2019 12:15 AM Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald   As the big four banks tackle Australia's banking regulator and how exactly it wants them to raise another $75 billion capital, there is another storm brewing across the Tasman. And while the numbers out of New Zealand may be smaller, bankers reckon the storm front is both more fierce and more likely to spark equity raisings or asset sales than regulator changes back home. The big four banks are likely to need about another $15 billion to $20 billion in tier one capital in their Kiwi subsidiaries to keep banking in New Zealand. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand wants Australia's big four - which together account for nearly 90 per cent of NZ's bank assets - to lift tier one capital to 16 per cent, from about 13...
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Big banks lobby APRA over $75b 'too big to fail' capital requirements Australian Financial Review 13 Jan 2019 11:00 PM Jonathan Shapiro   The big four banks are trying to convince the prudential regulator to reconsider its proposal to force them to raise an additional $75 billion of so-called Tier II bonds to meet "too big to fail" capital requirements. They will argue that the global market for Tier II bonds may not be large enough for them to raise up to 7 per cent of their risk weighted assets via this type of debt, in responses to an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority consultation paper that are due at the end of January. That APRA paper, released on November 8 said the banks should raise additional Tier II funds to comply with global 'total loss absorbing capital' rules intended to limit future taxpayer bail-outs by "bailing in" private investors. The release...
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Cracked Opal Tower ‘tip of iceberg’ of faults The Australian 12:00am January 12, 2019 Sam Buckingham-Jones   EXCLUSIVE  Australia’s construction system should be audited “immediately” and a dedicated emergency fund set up for apartment residents displaced by dodgy building work, a national body representing $1.2 trillion of managed property says. The chief executive of Australia’s peak strata body says poor building quality across the country — including the use of flammable cladding, illegal asbestos and cheap electrical ­cables — should be an election issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Speaking for the first time since the start of the Opal Tower situation in Sydney, in which a 392-apartment building cracked and forced evacuations on Christmas Eve, Alisha Fisher, CEO of the Strata Community Association, said the incident was the “tip of the iceberg”. “The bottom line is that the last 12 months have been a horror...
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Future Fund could manage your superannuation Australian Financial Review12 Jan 2019 12:12 AM John Kehoe   EXCLUSIVE  The Morrison government is actively considering allowing a federal institution such as the Future Fund to offer low-fee superannuation accounts in a potential major shake up move to inject competition into Australia's underperforming $2.7 trillion retirement fund system. The Australian Financial Review has been told by several government sources that allowing the $149 billion Future Fund or another public wealth management entity to directly manage super and be eligible to accept default members is a live option among senior ministers who are examining the proposal. The idea, promoted by Future Fund chairman and former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello and top economist Nicholas Gruen, is gaining momentum in the wake of the damning royal commission into financial services and this week's Productivity Commission report. The independent government economic adviser exposed that Australians were losing $3.8...
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  Funds run by big banks would miss out on best performer list The Australian 12:00am January 12, 2019 Anthony Klan   EXCLUSIVE  Not one superannuation fund run by the nation’s banks and major financial institutions would make it into a proposed “best in show” list of top 10 performers, data shows. Industry funds took out each place in the list of 10 highest returning funds in the year to June, with that $653 billion not-for-profit sector similarly outperforming over three, five, 10 and 15 years, according to highly regarded analyst SuperRatings. Of the 10 worst performers on a list of the nation’s biggest 50 balanced funds last financial year just two were industry funds — one of which was TWUSuper, the biggest super fund for the nation’s transport workers — while seven were funds operated by AMP, ANZ, CBA, Westpac and NAB. The government this week released the Productivity Commission’s...
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Chinese buyers ‘will avert property cataclysm’ The Australian 12:00am January 12, 2019 Luke Griffiths   Ongoing Asian investment in Australian property, particularly from Chinese buyers, is the only thing saving the local market from a “cataclysmic” wipe-out, property developer Michael ­Drapac says. The founder and chairman of Drapac Capital Partners has long predicted a significant fall in property prices, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, and while interest from Asia would avert a “horrific” outcome, an overall correction of 30 per cent should still be expected. His comments come as figures this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of apartment approvals in November fell to a five-year low, driven mostly by a 26 per cent fall in Victoria and a 15 per cent fall in NSW. The NSW Property Council also reported a 22 per cent fall in industry confidence over the past 12 months. Drapac, 63, says...
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It’s Canberra or quits for top crime busters The Australian 12:00am January 12, 2019 Jared Owens   EXCLUSIVE  Australia’s leading criminal intelligence agency plans to recall dozens of operatives from state offices to Canberra, prompting fears of a brain drain as staff take redundancy payouts rather than move to the nation’s capital. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission said the overhaul would ensure its staff were “in the right location, with the right skills” to combat serious and organised crime. But staff have demanded a clearer justification for the change that will ­affect about 65 of the agency’s 800 workers. The restructure will be felt mostly in Queensland, where one-third of about 90 staff expect to be asked to move. Community and Public Sector Union deputy president Lisa Newman said the commission risked losing some of its best intelligence officers since “few if any” interstate staff would contemplate moving. “It’s quite mystifying...
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APRA mute on lack of action The Australian 12:00am January 11, 2019 Ben Butler   The prudential regulator has failed to respond to criticism by the Productivity Commission that it has been “missing in action” by not taking action against super­annuation trustees who rip off members. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority member Helen Rowell yesterday failed to address calls in a blockbuster Productivity Commission report for the regulator to ditch its preference for backroom deals in favour of taking public legal action in order to raise standards across the scandal-ridden super sector. However, Mrs Rowell, APRA’s super tsar, said the regulator welcomed the Productivity Commission’s calls for a capability review — an inquiry by external experts into the agency’s ability to enforce the laws for which it is responsible. A spokesman for the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, which regulates some parts of the super industry and was also criticised by the...
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NAB’s new spin king Philippa King a financial novice The Australian 12:00am January 11, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   EXCLUSIVE  National Australia Bank has filled a longstanding vacancy by tapping former Malcolm Turnbull and Mike Baird adviser Philippa King for a government affairs post. The Australian can confirm Ms King will start in the role of general manager government affairs and public policy this month, after employees were told of the appointment early this week. A NAB spokeswoman confirmed the appointment and said: “Philippa has significant experience and demonstrated capability in domestic and inter­national policy and political environments, having worked under Coalition and ALP governments and navigating a range of complicated and sensitive issues. “She has shown great ability to work across all sides of politics, making her highly suitable for this position. “The seniority of her postings reinforce the confidence in her by successive governments.” But several industry executives canvassed by...
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