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Australian banks prove resilient but risks remain

Australian major banks reported a decline in financial performance in 2020 but as the impact of the pandemic evolves, the banks maintained a strong focus on customers. Is the renewed market optimism justified?

Bank scorecard 2020: when will the mojo return?

Banks severely cut dividends in 2020 but are expected to improve payments in 2021. History provides clues to when the banks will return to their 2019 levels of profitability, but who is positioned the best?

How active bond funds hunt for value in fixed income

Fixed income opportunities beyond term deposits and hybrids remain scarce for retail investors, but active bond funds can access other securities where value is still available. Here are examples.

Small investors miss out as institutions and banks cash in

Retail shareholders are being scaled back and diluted by boards and investment banks. If retail shareholders own 30% of a company, the Share Purchase Plan should represent 30% of the overall raising.

Is it a myth that 'purpose' can drive corporate profits?

If ESG, ethical investing, philanthropy and CSR aren’t creating the magnitude of change needed, is there an alternative way of bridging the gap between profit growth and social benefit?

Bank reporting season scorecard May 2020

Uncertainty was the key theme in recent results, but how did they score on loan provisions, capital resources, margins and most importantly, dividends. There's a lot of guesswork going on in banks.

Australian banks undervalued amid economic turmoil

Australian bank share prices are down about 40% since February 2020, with many of the risks factored in. It's hard to estimate short-term loan losses and asset growth, but the longer term is more positive.

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.

NAB hybrid: one says buy, one says sell, you decide

Differences of opinion make a market, and hybrid specialists disagree on the likelihood that NAB will call one of its hybrids early. It makes a major difference to the expected return on NABHA.

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. 

Most viewed in recent weeks

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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