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Worried about low rates, SMSFs drop banks and diversify

Traditional SMSF asset allocations to cash, banks and property are changing as ultra-low interest rates start to bite, and SMSFs take on more diversified equity and fixed interest exposures.

Are Australian bank boards fit for purpose?

Many of Australia's bank directors lack crucial skills in technology, operations and HR as part of a broader shortage of experience that is as important in dodging scandals as in business success.

Headwinds and tailwinds, a decade in review

Looking back over the last decade shows the factors which have driven success for some companies and failure for others, driven by falling interest rates, a lower Aussie dollar and technology changes.  

Focus on quality yield, not near-term income

Many investors are tempted by high yields on shares, but when they are not sustainable, and in weak businesses, the outcome is disappointing compared with better quality and lower yields. 

It’s the large stocks driving fund misery

There’s a lot of talk of the WAAAX stocks causing fund underperformance, but they’re simply not big enough compared with choosing the wrong winners and losers among the large cap stocks.

Winners and losers in sharemarkets, 2017/18

The Australian market again delivered strong returns in 2017-2018 with big sector differences, but there were large variations in global performance depending on the currency hedging strategy.

CEO appointments: internal or external?

The merit of appointing an internal or external CEO depends on the company's circumstances. Internal appointments tend to be more successful, although alignment of interests with shareholders is critical.

The value of wealth management for Australian banks

The wealth management businesses of major banks may be efficient uses of their capital, but it comes with scrutiny of the vertical integration model and culture risks. There's increasing focus on whether it's worth having.

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The risk-return tradeoff: What’s the right asset mix for a 5% return?

Conservative investors are forced to choose between protecting capital and accepting lower income while drawing down capital to maintain living standards or taking additional risk. How can you strike a balance?

How long will my retirement savings last?

Many self-funded retirees will outlive their savings as most men and women now aged 65 will survive at least another 20 years. Compare your spending with how much you earn to see how long your money will last.

Buffett's favourite indicator versus all-in equities

Peter Thornhill shows how his personal portfolio has thrived under an 'all-in equities' strategy, but Warren Buffett's favourite valuation indicator says stock markets are priced at their most extreme ever.

In fact, most people have no super when they die

Contrary to the popular belief supported by the 'fact base' of the Retirement Income Review, four in every five Australians aged 60 and over have no super in the period up to four years before their death.

Five timeless lessons from a life in investing

40 years of investing is distilled into five crucial lessons. An overall theme is to embrace uncertainty to make an impact on how much you earn, how much you spend, how much you save and how much risk you take.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 403

Most Australians hold their superannuation in a balanced fund, often 60% growth/40% defensive or 70%/30%. Lifecycle funds are also popular, where the amount in defensive assets increases with age. Employees who are not engaged with their super (and that's most people when they start full-time work) simply tick a box for the default fund selected on their behalf by their employer. Are these funds still appropriate?

  • 15 April 2021

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