Friday, July 19, 2019

"No silver bullet" - new NAB boss Ross McEwan on salvaging bank's reputation

Veteran banker Ross McEwan has been appointed as chief executive at National Australia Bank. 

Read the story here

The former Royal Bank of Scotland boss replaces Andrew Thorburn who was forced to resign earlier this year after scathing criticism from the financial services Royal Commission. 

Mr McEwan - a one time top executive at the Commonwealth Bank - says there is no "silver bullet" in salvaging NAB's reputation but denies he has been handed a "a poisoned chalice". 

Here's my coverage from The World Today

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Liddell planned closure a factor in energy competition shakeup and ensuring supply, says government energy adviser

The Australian Energy Market Commission says the planned closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in 2022 is a factor in a rule change to allow big commercial users to bypass retailers and compete for lower prices. 

In a sign of rising pressure on power generation, the Federal Government's chief energy advisor is urging rule changes to allow large commercial and industrial users to easily reduce their demand in peak periods and sell it back into the grid. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with the AEMC's Suzanne Falvi and ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

Top Huawei executive Walter Ji says gov't "got it wrong" in banning telco from 5G rollout - "we are trusted, we are safe"

Huawei western Europe chief Walter Ji says the Federal Government got it wrong a year ago when it banned the Chinese telco giant from supplying equipment to Australia's 5G mobile network.

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Asked by ABC's Peter Ryan if Huawei took any direction from the Chinese government or handed over sensitive intelligence data to Beijing, Mr Ji said: "of course not. We are trusted. Australia can trust Huawei and we are safe". 

Listen to the interview from this morning's AM

Walter Ji in the AM studio - by Peter Ryan

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

APRA accepts recommendations from scathing review, but says "show me the money"

The banking regulator APRA has responded to scathing criticisms about its culture, leadership and cosy relationships after an independent review called for urgent change. 

APRA chairman Wayne Byres says he supports the recommendations from a capability review but wants more government funding to become a feared enforcer. 

Here's my coverage on The World Today

APRA slammed as timid "behind the scenes" regulator with cultural problems

Source: APRA Capability Review

An independent review is urging the overhaul of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority slamming it for a poor culture and variable leadership.

In a proposed shakeup of the often secretive prudential regulator, a three member panel chaired by former competition czar Graeme Samuel says the prudential regulator needs tougher penalties, a greater focus on superannuation and the ability to veto the appointment or reappointment of company directors. 

ABC's Peter Ryan analyses the report on AM

Read my report on ABC News Online

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reserve Bank cautious on apartment glut; raises plight of disadvantaged Indigenous Australians

The Reserve Bank has highlighted the plight of disadvantaged indigenous Australians and sustained living standards that are well below the rest of society.

The observations came after the central bank held it’s July board meeting in Darwin for the first time since 1968 where it decided the cut the cash rate for the second consecutive month to a new record low of one percent.

“Members observed that the broad statistics on the labour market for the Northern Territory masked the relative disadvantage of the Indigenous population,” according to the minutes from the meeting.

“Indigenous Australians were less likely to complete school and more likely to experience poor health.

“These measures of Indigenous disadvantage were particularly acute in remote locations where it is more difficult to deliver services.”

While the Northern Territory’s unemployment rate is below the national average,, the minutes say that employment has fallen due to a downturn in the mining cycle.

“This had been accompanied by large flows of people moving to other parts of the country,” the minutes say.

In continuing concerns about the global economy, the minutes say risks from trade tensions between the US and China “remain high”.

The minutes acknowledge that risks to global growth and subdued inflation have increased expectations that global central banks will easy monetary police.

The US Federal Reserve is on track to cut rates in the coming months and the Reserve Bank says markets have priced in a further easing.

Some economists are prediction an eventual cash rates next year as low as 0.5 percent.

“The Board will .. adjust monetary policy off needed to support sustainable growth in the economy, “ the minutes say.

The RBA’s caution comes as day after China’s economic growth in the three months to June came in at 6.2 percent, the slower pace one of the result of the its trade impasse with the United States.

China's economic growth slowest since 1992 as trade war bites

China's economic growth fell to its slowest pace in nearly three decades as trade tensions with the United States take an increasing toll. 

With a trade truce not imminent, Australian investors are becoming increasingly nervous with the Australian economy reliant on exports of iron ore and coal to the the world's second biggest economy.

Here's my analysis from this morning's AM program

Monday, July 15, 2019

Modern slavery, worker exploitation not just in China but also Australia says Ausbil advisor Mans Carlsson-Sweeny

Evidence of forced labour in north-western China has once again raised questions about Australia's links with companies which make their money out of modern slavery. 

I speak with Mans Carlsson-Sweeny head of ESG Research at fund manager Ausbil who advises investors about what they should invest in, and the major risks of financing modern slavery. 

Here's the interview from The World Today

"Canary in coalmine" - financial watchdog finds 85 systemic issues in Royal Commission fallout as complaints surge

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority is investigating 85 systemic issues across the financial services sector and has identified 16 breaches that are potentially "serious contraventions". 

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As it deals with a deluge of complaints stemming from last year's financial services royal commission, AFCA says the potentially systemic issues include misleading conduct, processing errors, poor complaints handling and the conduct of employees. 

AFCA chief ombudsman David Locke speaks exclusively with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Source: AFCA six month report