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Who curates Firstlinks?

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Firstlinks (previously published as Cuffelinks) is a community sharing both the knowledge and the battle scars of experience from an informed and impartial point of view, without pushing products or promoting services.

Cuffelinks was founded in 2012 by Graham Hand and Chris Cuffe and was acquired by Morningstar Australasia in October 2019. 

Graham Hand

Graham Hand is Managing Editor of Firstlinks and Editorial Director at Morningstar.

Graham has 42 years’ experience in financial markets, starting at the Commonwealth Bank in 1976 where he headed New Issues before becoming General Manager, Capital Markets. From 1988, he was Deputy Treasurer at the State Bank of New South Wales, and from 1995, he was Managing Director, Treasury at NatWest Markets Australia.

Graham then embarked on full-time writing and consulting roles, where his clients included AMP, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, Colonial First State, CUSCAL, Travelex and Arab Bank. He consulted to Colonial First State from 2001 and was appointed General Manager, Funding & Alliances in 2007, managing the funding for the largest geared share funds in the country, peaking at $10 billion, and establishing seven boutique asset management businesses across all asset classes.

In 2001, Graham’s first book, Naked Among Cannibals, an analysis of the evolution of Australian banking, featured in the Top 10 Business Books in Australia for several months. His first novel, Beyond Lucas Heights, was published in 2005. He wrote a monthly column on banking and funds management for CFO Magazine, and his articles have appeared in Euromoney, International Financing Review andMoney Management magazines, as well as websites Crikey and Banking Day.

Graham has an honours degree in economics from the University of NSW and a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia (now the Financial Services Institute of Australasia).

Prior to joining Morningstar, Graham was a Director of the Listed Investment Company, Absolute Equity Performance Fund (ASX:AEG, the listed version of the Bennelong Long Short Equity Fund) and a member of the Compliance Committee of Lazard Asset Management Pacific Co. He is currently a Director of Wealth02, and unconflicted, low cost managed account platform solution for advisers

Leisa Bell, Assistant Editor

Leisa Bell joined Cuffelinks in 2013 as Assistant Editor and is also Editorial Associate at Morningstar.

Leisa has spent most of her career in the banking and finance industry, from specialising as a credit analyst to financial publishing. For 15 years, she worked across multiple levels of banking (retail, business, treasury, corporate and investment banking), both domestic and international. After a career break to raise children, she spent five years managing a small finance consultancy before joining a fledging Cuffelinks in 2013, assisting with editing, publishing and business administration.

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The creator of the 4% rule and his own retirement

The 4% withdrawal rate in retirement is an industry standard, a level where a retiree could be confident of not running out of money. Its creator Bill Bengen explains its use in this interview with Michael Kitces.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 383

One of the downsides of Donald Trump commanding the headlines is that we skim over other significant issues. For example, few Australians read the China Daily News or coverage of its contents, missing official statements that are terrifying hundreds of Australian producers. China says Australia will 'pay tremendously' for its recent lack of respect.

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Seven items your estate plan may have left out

Most people pay cursory attention to estate planning, limited to a will and maybe a chat with the children. Those who want to make their intentions clearer and easier for others should check these quick tips.

Graeme Shaw on why investing is at a pivotal moment

Company profits have not improved for many years but higher valuations have been driven by falling rates and excess liquidity. Conditions do not suit a value and contrarian manager but here are some opportunities.

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Exchange Traded Funds have moved well beyond indexes to a range of sectors, themes, smart beta and active. They are attracting strong flows from both experienced investors and newcomers.

11 key findings on retirement dreams during the pandemic

A mid-pandemic survey of over 1,000 people near or in retirement found three in four are not confident how long their money will last. Only 18% felt their money was safe during a strong economic downturn.

Latest Updates

Retirement

Five ways the Retirement Review points to new policies

The Retirement Income Review goes much further than an innocent-sounding 'fact base', and is sure to guide policies in the run up to the next election. It will change how we think about retirement incomes.

Property

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As people stayed home during the pandemic, a bearish view swept over most property sectors, but many have thrived and prices have recovered rapidly. The best opportunities are in long leases with quality tenants.

Retirement

Retirement Review gives strong views on hoarding of super

The Review includes some profound findings, most notable that retirement income should include drawing down far more capital. Expect post-retirement products to proliferate under a Retirement Income Covenant.

Superannuation

Paul Keating on why super relies on “not draining the bath”

Paul Keating is the champion of compulsory superannuation as the central means of funding retirement. In the wake of the Retirement Income Review, he is at his passionate best defending the system, with Leigh Sales.

Latest from Morningstar

Is your portfolio too heavy on technology stocks?

Investors with heavy allocations to a broad US index should check how much is exposed to tech stocks, especially when valuations look a bit steep. It might be time to reallocate to other sectors or styles.

Investment strategies

Beware of burning down the barn to bury the debt

At some point, policymakers will turn to the task of deleveraging, to work off massive debt burdens built up during the pandemic. Australia is already ticking the boxes on many policies used in the past.

Superannuation

New bankruptcy rules may have a domino impact on SMSF pensions

During COVID, bankruptcy rules have allowed small businesses to trade while insolvent. It may mean an SMSF is hit by the collapse of a business leaving trustees struggling to meet their own legal obligations.

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