Banking & Finance


Fund manager profit party is over, warns super sector

Sally Rose   Super funds want fees they pay to manage money halved, saying margins of 60 per cent are unacceptable.

ASIC calls for more power against banks

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft says banks' products should have the best interests of financial consumers in mind.

James Eyers   The ASIC wants the federal government to ramp up the penalties for violating commercial law.

Dastyari sees Dracula behind the Dollarmites

Senator Sam Dastyari questions whether banks should be in schools providing financial advice

Shaun Drummond   Watch out children, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has your Commonwealth Bank Dollarmite accounts in his sights. 

UBS shifts $7b of Asian deposits into cash

The Asia-Pacific deposits that UBS has moved into alternative structures are mainly in US dollars and Japanese yen.

Regina Tan   UBS Group has shifted more than $US5 billion of riskier Asia-Pacific deposits into alternative cash investments.

Financial companies ignoring women's needs

Women identify with feeling a responsibility to preserve wealth, particularly inherited wealth, and to leave a legacy for the next generation, Lisa Claes, ING Direct executive director of customer delivery, says.

Ruth Liew   Women are increasingly making most of the household financial decisions, but they are not being properly catered for by the financial services industry, writes Ruth Liew.

Will banks cut dividends as economy weakens?

The banks would cut their dividends if Australia slips into recession, UBS says.

Vanessa Desloires   The big four should be able to maintain their high payouts amid a weaker economy but would likely need to slash them if Australia falls into recession, UBS says.

Super sector outgrows local sharemarket

Tony Brennan says super funds will increasingly need to look outside the Australian market.

Sally Rose   Australian-listed companies will need to issue less equity and raise more bonds as the $2 trillion superannuation sector outgrows the local sharemarket. 

Pointers to avoiding child-slavery investment

AMP managing director Stephen Dunne says super fund members don't know how their money is invested.

Ruth Liew   Do you know if your super is supporting child slavery, illegal forest logging or water pollution?

Banks card margins decline as customers switch

Banks say rule changes introduced in 2011 are encouraging a lot more people to choose low rate credit cards

Shaun Drummond   Major banks admit the margins they earn on credit cards jumped by around 2 per cent after the financial crisis hit, but profitability has been flat or declining since then.

ASIC concern over default super selection

ASIC senior executive Ged Fitzpatrick warned super funds on poor disclosure.

Sally Rose   A lack of competition in the default super fund market could be letting some funds get away with doing a sloppy job of risk disclosure and member communications. 

Westpac urged to cut branches


James Eyers   Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer has been urged to set out a plan for cost reductions, including reducing branch numbers.

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Super funds seeking riskier returns

Super firms are lowering their long-range returns targets.

Sally Rose   Ultra-low interest rates are pushing superannuation funds into alternative assets in a hunt for higher returns.

Former landlords scramble to avoid investor loan sting

David Ryman has changed his home loan from an investor mortgage to an owner-occupied mortgage.

Clancy Yeates   Banks say a growing number of customers are getting in touch to change their investor home loan to an owner-occupied loan, after interest rate rises targeted at landlords revealed gaps in lenders' records.

RBA payment powers like 'secret society'

Senator Sam Dastyari has likened the Reserve Bank's Payments System Board to a secret society.

Shaun Drummond   Labor senator Sam Dastyari thinks the RBA should give up its power to regulate payments because it lacks a consumer mandate.

Chi-X just into black, but spending big

Chi-X CEO John Fildes said profits would continue to be subdued in the next few years because its shareholders are backing it to ramp up spending on a host of new products.

Shaun Drummond   Chi-X Australia chief executive John Fildes hopes full user pays funding for ASIC will ease the cost of its surveillance on his bottom line, which has moved into the black for the first time since it started competing with ASX in 2011.

Carlyle backs Prospa securitisation to boost SME lending

Online business lender Prospa will increase its loan book on the back of a fundraising supported by Carlyle and Ironbridge.

James Eyers and Sarah Thompson   Global alternative asset manager the Carlyle Group has invested $50 million in the first securitisation deal in Australia of unsecured, online business loans, which will allow Prospa to step up its small-business lending as the big banks overlook the sector.

Visa faces $20m fine in landmark ACCC case

Visa faces fines of up to $20 million after being found by the ACCC to have abused its market power.

Patrick Durkin   The ACCC has won a landmark case against Visa for abusing its market power, a win business says proves the existing laws work and the Abbott government is right to dump its changes.

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Singapore's DBS eyes Australian expansion

DBS Group chief executive Piyush Gupta says closer integration with Asia is "inexorable".

Clancy Yeates   Southeast Asia's biggest bank, DBS Bank, says the squeeze on the margins that big Australian banks make from lending to large corporate clients is here to stay, as it eyes a larger local presence.

Banker joy as tax axed

Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted says the tax on large deposits would have been the "thin edge of the wedge".

Clancy Yeates, Shaun Drummond, Ben Potter   Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted says the government's move to scrap plans for a tax on bank deposits has made his day.

Finance oath gains high-level support

RBA governor Glenn Stevens says the Banking and Finance Oath can improve trust in the finance industry.

James Eyers   Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres is among the 500 signatories to the Banking and Finance Oath.

Banks hit brakes on property investor lending

Growth in bank lending to property investors has slowed dramatically, new APRA figures show.

James Eyers   Investor loan books for all of the big four banks were essentially held flat over July, APRA figures released on Monday show.

'We're doing nothing wrong,' says Cash Converters chief

Cash Converters boss, Peter Cumins, says customers do not have an issue with the company or its products.

Shaun Drummond   Cash converters chief Peter Cumins has defended his payday lending business, saying he is proud of the service it gives its customers and is looking forward to the loss of competition in payday lending as rival Money3 pulls out.

User pays could make ASIC fat and lazy

Australian Institute of Company Directors chief John Brogden  has labelled plans for a levy on big business to fund the regulator "lazy".

Sally Rose and Patrick Durkin   Forcing the country's biggest banks and businesses to pick up the bill for the cost of policing them risks creating a bloated and ineffective corporate regulator, warn those being asked to pay.

RBA hints at clipping Amex's wings

Amex cards can reward holders with up to 3 points per dollar spent whereas it is typically 0.5 to 1 point per dollar for the rival schemes.

Shaun Drummond   Popular American Express cards issued by banks may lose their generous points if the Reserve Bank makes good on its plan to regulate Amex for the first time.

Bruce Billson endorses disruptive online SME lenders

Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson says the government will not stand in the way of fintech that is lifting competition in the banking sector.

James Eyers   Minister Bruce Billson has backed a flurry of new online lenders targeting small and medium businesses to pressure the big banks to extend more credit to the often ignored sector.

Westpac turns its back on sales targets for staff

Westpac is moving away from using sales targets when assessing staff for pay rises.

Clancy Yeates   Westpac is moving away from linking staff pay rises to sales targets, a move unionists are pushing for from rivals ANZ and Commonwealth Bank as they also negotiate employee pay deals.

Bendigo, ME Bank jack up investor loan rates

Bendigo Bank says raising interest rates for housing investors will help it limit loan growth in this part of the market.

Clancy Yeates   Bendigo Bank and ME Bank are joining rivals in jacking up interest rates for property investors in response to a regulatory clampdown on lending to landlords.

Shadforth acquisition helps boost IOOF profit

IOOF chief executive Chris Kelaher.

Matthew Smith   IOOF's results reveal a $7.3m contingency for "defending complaints and claims brought against it" amid allegations of misconduct.

Huge card profits driven by the poor

CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland dubbed the vast array of features on cards "confusopoly" because they actually reduce competition.

Shaun Drummond   Regulators and politicians are turning up the heat on a very profitable corner of retail banking that relies on poor people: credit cards.

Ex-Mac banker to chair NSW insurance arm

Former Macquarie Bank executive Michael Carapiet.

Ruth Liew   Former Macquarie Bank executive Michael Carapiet has been named the chairman of a new state government general insurance arm.