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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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Just how steep is the negative equity cliff? The Australian 12:00am April 16, 2019 James Kirby   As property prices continue to drop, a serious split has emerged over just how many people are facing negative equity — where their house price is lower than the value of their mortgage. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, it is just two borrowers in every hundred. But private researchers are generally pencilling in a figure closer to one in 10. Negative equity is little known in Australia, where decades of rising house prices insulated the wider population from the corrosive effect of sliding prices. But a spike in numbers could quickly hit consumer spending and ultimately shares in banks and construction companies. The alarming gap between private estimates and the RBA on the issue has prompted LF Economics founder Lindsay David to suggest the RBA figure — released last week as part...
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Four months on, Opal Tower faults remain unresolved MacroBusiness 12:30 pm on April 15, 2019 Leith van Onselen   Four months after cracks in Sydney’s Opal apartment tower led to residents being evacuated on Christmas Eve, around half of the complex remains unoccupied. From The ABC: Almost half of the apartments in Sydney’s troubled Opal Tower are still vacant, nearly four months after the building was first evacuated on Christmas Eve… A spokesperson for the tower’s builder Icon Co told the ABC it was recently given permission from the owner’s corporation — a collective body comprised of the tower’s residents — to proceed with rectification works to common areas of the tower. The tower’s Owners Corporation said it had taken so long because it was waiting on engineering advice before giving Icon the go ahead… Occupants were stranded in temporary accommodation after they were evacuated… Back in February, Bronwyn Weir –...
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Over 60pc of Sydney buyers better off renting Australian Financial Review Apr 16, 2019 12.00am Ingrid Fuary-Wagner   More than 60 per cent of Sydneysiders who bought properties in the past 25 years would have been financially better off renting and investing their money in the local stockmarket instead. An analysis by EY of the stockmarket and Sydney property prices across the city's 43 local government areas between 1994 and now found that in 62 per cent of like-for-like cases, it was financially advantageous – over a 10-year period – for would-be buyers to take the amount of money needed for a 20 per cent deposit for an apartment in a particular area, invest it in a leveraged ASX200 fund (with a margin loan at 50 per cent loan-to-value ratio)and to rent a similar property in the same location instead. "A lot of people assume you’re better off owning your own...
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ASIC chairman James Shipton is a child of the Melbourne establishment   Aaron Patrick Senior Correspondent Updated Oct 17, 2017 — 5.26pm,first published at 9.48am   When James Shipton wants to understand what's really going on in corporate Australia, he will be able to pick up the phone and call four men he's known almost 30 years who, like him, have stormed to the top of the finance industry in their 40s. Shipton, the new chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, lived as a Melbourne University undergraduate student with Ben Gray and Robin Bishop, who plan to become Australia's most powerful private equity investors, John Knox, the head of Credit Suisse Australia, and Christian Johnston, the head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs Australia. A child of the Melbourne establishment – he coached rugby at Geelong Grammar and his father was a patrician Liberal MP – Shipton was a resident student at...
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ANZ revamps dispute practice The Australian 12:00am April 15, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   EXCLUSIVE  ANZ will formalise new dispute resolution principles for matters involving individuals and small business as it seeks to reduce customer complaints and handle the fallout from the Hayne royal commission. The 15 general rules — which do not cover class actions or other legal cases involving groups — will be made public today. They include principles such as don’t defend the indefensible, be even handed, take quick action, assess ANZ’s position early and only litigate where there is no reasonable alternative. ANZ’s deputy chief executive Alexis George told The Australian the move to document the principles publicly was an “important step” for the bank to ensure they “cascade through” its staff and legal firms. “It has been a catalyst for discussion and we just didn’t talk about this internally,” Ms George said. “It will be an opportunity...
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ASIC doubles wealth investigations Australian Financial Review Apr 15, 2019 12.00am Edmund Tadros   The corporate regulator is investigating 90 cases of potential wrongdoing in the wealth management arms of major banks and financial institutions, double the number it was looking at last September. The update on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's wealth management project, made during a Senate estimates hearing, also revealed that the regulator has beefed up its staffing of the investigations to 70 from 45. In addition, 76 of those investigations have involved the regulator using its powers to force companies to produce information, said Tim Mullaly, ASIC's executive director of financial services enforcement. "Currently in that project, there are now approximately 90 investigations afoot. Since September, that's an increase of 45 investigations ... so it is a significant amount," he told the Senate estimates hearing. He said that 14 of the 90 matters were at the...
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NAB bid to stop meltdown in mortgage broker business Australian Financial Review Apr 15, 2019 12.01am Duncan Hughes   National Australia Bank has lost the support of the country's largest mortgage broking group, with its market share among borrowers seeking to refinance more than halving from 8.5 per cent to less than 4 per cent, forcing it to begin offering sweeteners to shore up support. Brokers working for Australian Finance Group claim NAB's variable interest rate hike in January, the time it is taking to approve loans, senior management shakeout and fallout from the Hayne royal commission are behind the dramatic drop in the number of loans being referred. AFG says NAB has lost market share across fixed interest, investor, homeowner and refinancing over the past 12 months. NAB disputes the concerns, claiming it is committed to its existing customers, has "strongly improved" customer retention, and is the best-performing major bank...
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The housing bust and why it's likely to continue ABC News 15 April 2019 Ian Verrender Business Editor     That's the problem with tearaway booms. The more exaggerated the run-up, the greater the pain when the inevitable decline kicks in. Australian housing prices have been unwinding at a serious clip now for close to a year and a half, led by the cities that kicked off the boom, Sydney and Melbourne. Suddenly, what previously was brushed aside as a healthy correction, now has regulators and policy makers, including the Reserve Bank, concerned. While the declines so far are yet to present a threat to the broader economy, they are unlikely to be contained. Even normally cool heads are predicting a continuation of the great Aussie housing market unwind for at least the rest of this year. The problem now is that the fundamentals driving the slide cannot easily be altered....
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RBA confirms weak housing market conditions MacroBusiness 12:36 pm on April 12, 2019 David Llewellyn-Smith   The new RBA Financial Stability Review is out and brimming with anxiety: Risks to the household sector have increased over the past six months given weak housing market conditions. Housing prices have fallen significantly in Sydney and Melbourne after the earlier large run-up in prices, while in Perth and other mining exposed regions, prices have been declining for several years. However, nationally, only a small share of borrowers have seen the value of their property fall below the value of their loan. Improved lending standards over recent years have supported this outcome. If there were further large housing price falls, the share of borrowers in negative equity would increase significantly. Even then, negative equity need not be problematic for financial stability as long as the unemployment rate remains low and households continue to be able...
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Bankers fear more strikes in exec pay 'showdown' Sydney Morning Herald April 11, 2019 12.00am Clancy Yeates and Mathew Dunckley   EXCLUSIVE  Banks face a fresh showdown with shareholders over executive pay and risk copping second "strikes," senior bankers warn, after the regulator urged boards to put less weight on financial targets when paying bonuses. In an attempt to improve bank culture, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is expected to propose restrictions on bank executive pay in the coming weeks. Chairman Wayne Byres last month signalled it would be calling on boards to give more consideration to non-financial factors such as customer outcomes when determining bonuses, as recommended by the royal commission. But senior bankers have told the Sydney Morning Herald and Age such a change is likely to be resisted by key investors, some of whom have previously worried that non-financial targets can be more easily “gamed.” The bankers'...
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Rise of renegade business Viridian to change financial advice The Australian 7:21am April 12, 2019 Robert Gottliebsen   Four years ago, some 20 Westpac advisers and support staff in Melbourne left the security of the powerful banking organisation to start their own personal financial advice business. Their colleagues in Westpac shook their heads and didn’t give the business they started - called Viridian - much chance. Four years later those 20 renegades, led by Glenn Calder, have developed Viridian into a business that is set to change the way personal financial advice is delivered in Australia. In a stunning development, Westpac is actually transferring its whole investment advisory business to the former renegades. ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth Bank are all looking to exit personal investment advice or certainly change their approach to it. These decisions are part of a total transformation of the way banks are set to operate in Australia....
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CBA boss under pressure to reveal extent of job cuts Australian Financial Review Apr 12, 2019 1.47pm James Eyers   Commonwealth Bank has told the Finance Sector Union that newspaper reports of mass redundancies and branch axings are "misleading and unnecessarily alarming", as banks are being wedged between analyst demands for cost reduction as credit growth softens, and unions and politicians who want to see them continue to be big employers. Earlier on Friday, FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano wrote to CBA chief executive Matt Comyn asking him to explain reports the bank planned to chop its workforce by 20 per cent, or 10,000 people, and close 300 branches. The union described the numbers as “outrageous acts”, although analysts say the widespread adoption of digital banking means banks will continue to cut operating costs to maintain profits in coming years. As CBA goes more digital – driven by more customers banking...
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Inside the Liberal Party’s bare economic policy Professional Planner April 12, 2019 Dominic McCormick   I rarely write about politics, but since I touched on some of Labor’s policies in the April issue of Professional Planner, and we are heading towards one of the more interesting elections in decades, taking a look at the Liberal National Party policy approach makes sense. There are clearly fairness and complexity issues in some of the proposed Labor tax policies, as I pointed to last month. But at least you can call these attempts at genuine reform, even if lacking full consideration of outcomes for all. On the other hand, the LNP seems to have one broad underlying economic policy framework that doesn’t really rely on reform. That is, it appears to me to be attempting to preserve and revive the debt/asset bubble economy it has helped manufacture and curate over the last 6 years....
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Australia’s growing debt explodes the myth that Libs are better economic managers michaelwest.com.auApr 12, 2019 John Menadue John Laurence Menadue AO is an Australian businessman and public commentator, and formerly a senior public servant and diplomat. He is the founding chair and board member of the Centre for Policy Development.  Yesterday, Scott Morrison said on announcing the election: “Labor cannot manage money”. John Menadue who served as head of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under both Whitlam and Fraser governments disagrees. It’s the Coalition, hidebound by an out-dated ideology about markets and private enterprise, who cannot manage the economy. IN AN earlier post, I argued that the economy is a means to an end. It is not an end in itself. The economy must ensure and hopefully advance the health of our planet and our society. Unfortunately the government sees the economy as paramount. It believes that this will play...
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ASIO likely restored to A-G’s under Shorten The Australian 12:00am April 12, 2019 Paul Maley   A Shorten-led government could reinstitute the now-defunct position­ of national security adviser­ and unpick the controversial Home Affairs Department by ­restoring ASIO to the care of the Attorney-General. The opposition is said to be ­debating how best to arrange the nation’s national security architecture, which for the past decade has been in a near-constant state of change. While national security is unlikel­y to be a policy area emphasised by Labor, a change of governme­nt could bring significant change in the way intellig­ence and federal law-enforcement communities are ­organised. Officially, Labor is keeping its powder dry on possible changes until after May 18. Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus said a Labor government would review the home affairs portfolio, a national security mega-department created by then prime minister Malcolm­ Turnbull as a means of appeasing right-wing...
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Big banks brace for shock and Orr of the New Zealand kind The Australian 12:00am April 11, 2019 Richard Gluyas   For the major banks, last year was a tale of two Orrs. After being skewered by Rowena Orr QC in the Hayne royal commission, they are now on the hook for much deeper capital buffers courtesy of a December consultation paper from Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Adrian Orr. If anyone thought a proposal to almost double tier-one capital requirements could be dismissed as a central bank thought bubble, it’s time to think again. The potential implications are serious, including large capital shortfalls by the 2023 financial year, possible abandonment or delays in capital management plans, and dividend cuts to more sustainable levels. Submissions on the consultation paper, which was released last December, are open until May 3, with a final decision not expected until September. Already, there’s been...
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BoQ results disappoint, CEO Rose warns of tough times ahead The Australian 12:00am April 12, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   Bank of Queensland interim chief Anthony Rose is adamant the lender is “staring into” a tough period ahead, as he warned earnings would not improve in the second half and declared the lowest half-year dividend in about five years. The Brisbane-based bank disappointed investors yesterday with an interim profit that was weighed on by factors, including an underperforming retail bank, issues with its owner-manager branches and higher costs. Mr Rose told The Australian while there were operational challenges for BoQ, he didn’t expect the May 18 federal election to curb already softer lending volumes across housing and business loans. “I don’t think it tends to have an impact on lending,” he said. But BoQ and its regional peers are using the election to step up their combined and separate lobbying against heavier...
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Vietnamese bank implicated in Australian money transfer cartel Australian Financial Review Apr 11, 2019 9.10am Misa Han, James Fernyhough   Major Vietnamese bank Sacombank has been implicated in an exchange rate fixing case that saw allegations of cartel behaviour brought against three Australian money transfer companies. On Thursday five people appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with allegedly fixing the exchange rate for the Australian dollar and Vietnamese dong. While Vietnamese bank Sacombank was not named in the charges, court documents released late on Thursday contained allegations from the Australian Federal Policy that the bank had encouraged the three companies to fix exchange rates. The charges were the result of a five-year joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the alleged behaviour was "extremely serious" and related to almost a quarter of the amount of money transferred from...
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Breaking Bad: Hells Angels’ venture on ASX passes ASIC muster michaelwest.com.auApr 9, 2019 Michael West   Investors were furious to find their high-tech battery lab in Thailand was stocked, not with high-tech batteries, but with old ice cream machines. Surely the corporate regulators would fire up now at this, yet another deception by a company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange? Michael West reports. What about the claims of insider trading, the misleading and deceptive ASX announcements, issuing shares to family members? The dubious fracking “technology”, which never worked, but was acquired from none other than the chairman’s private company? It was galling enough watching the value of their shares in LWP Technologies go up in smoke (and mirrors) while the company’s promotor, Siegfried Konig, was shipping in a salary of $430,000 a year. Yet the piece de resistance was when, after years of trying to put a rocket under corporate...
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Medcraft's mission to change the world Australian Financial Review Apr 12, 2019 12.00am Justin O'Brien Professor Justin O’Brien is co-editor with Thomas Clarke of the University of Technology, Sydney, of The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation, published this month by Oxford University Press, and author of the forthcoming Trust, Accountability and Purpose: The Regulation of Corporate Governance, to be published in June by Cambridge University Press.   EXCLUSIVE  It can be somewhat dangerous for an economist to mine a literary masterpiece to frame one of the contentious political debates facing the planet: the future of globalisation. Unperturbed, in 2018 the director-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, turned to Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard for the most celebrated political advice uttered in modern European literature. Set in 1860 as the forces of Garibaldi were preparing for an invasion to unify Italy, di Lampedusa has the...
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