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Michael Collins

Britain amid COVID and the pain of the final exit talks

No option removes the existential threats to the UK stirred by its EU departure. What started in 2016 as enough voters defying the odds has left the UK dangling politically and economically amid a pandemic.

10 reasons low interest rates may limit growth

Ultra low interest rates could be counterproductive for economic growth. Policymakers need to rely less on monetary stimulus and be mindful of the side effects they are creating, especially for retirees and savers.

China and US ‘decoupling’ likely to be mild

The latest iteration of globalisation is forming. Western consumers will face reduced choice and higher prices and global production networks will be less efficient. But the US and China also need each other.

Three reasons China could become the world’s leading consumer

The growth in wealth and aspirations of middle-class Chinese may become a 'consumer of last resort' for the world economy, but to earn that status, China must avoid a ‘trap’ among other challenges.

The populations of key countries are shrinking

Population decline is a new, yet largely ignored, trend with underrated economic and social costs. Much of the growth that drives economies, especially in Australia, comes from population increases.

Apps and ‘dark kitchens’ are changing food delivery

The restaurant business has always operated on thin margins, and home delivery doesn't make it better.  But most of the delivery platforms are also struggling, and an industry shake-up is underway.

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Hamish Douglass on big tech and life after COVID

On the sidelines of the Morningstar Conference, the Magellan co-founder reflects on the pandemic and which sectors are set to gain and lose. He says we were lucky the pandemic hit when it did (videos and transcripts).

Superannuation

Cost of running an SMSF receives updated judgement

Administration costs can rise for complexity, especially owning property in an SMSF, but fees are highly competitive from a wide range of service providers. The break-even cost is less than previously reported.

SMSF strategies

Three areas SMSFs should consider outsourcing

SMSF trustees often cite ‘control of my investments’ as the number one motivation for setting up their own fund. But it still makes sense to outsource some parts of a well-diversified portfolio.

Retirement

Apparently, retirees should learn to SKI

The Retirement Income Review demonstrated limited understanding of the risks faced by self-funded retirees implementing rational human behaviour. Spending to qualify for the age pension is not a solution.

Retirement

7-point checklist for managing the uncertain timing of death

Average life expectancies are a weak predictor of individual outcomes, and it's better to consider a range of probable lifespans. A plan that lasts to the average will disappoint every second retiree.

Exchange traded products

'Quality' ETFs under the microscope

Interest in 'quality' factor ETFs has increased this year, helped by very attractive returns. However, not all ETFs are created alike and there are divergences in portfolio traits which investors can identify.

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Is growth of zombie companies real or fiction?

Much has been written about the rise of 'zombie firms' which should have gone bankrupt, but new research should be comforting to economists and investors alike, with focus on a particular segment.

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