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What the weekly polls revealed in 2014

Thank you if you participated in any of our polls during the year. Some readers may not have seen the final results in a particular week, so we have reproduced them all here. They show a readership of diverse opinion in some areas but united in many others. I particularly liked how only 9% of respondents were optimistic enough to think that the Socceroos would progress beyond the first round of the World Cup.

Overall we have observed a mistrust of government, a desire to improve the system and make it fairer, that there’s no crystal ball, concern for our future well-being, an aversion to complexity, a sense that people need to be protected from themselves (but also have financial freedom) and a healthy level of scepticism.

Although we sometimes received over 200 votes in a week, a small minority of our readers have participated in the polls, so we will be discontinuing this feature in 2015.

See how your opinion fared in our poll summary below.

Leisa Bell is assistant editor at Cuffelinks.


Dec 11: Did the Financial Systems Inquiry do enough to restore the public's faith in financial advice?

Restoring faith will take a lot more than this Inquiry4578%
No, it barely addressed the vertical integration model1017%
Yes, by making ASIC stronger and more proactive23%
Yes, by redefining 'general advice' to something like 'sales'12%
Yes, by introducing a principles-based product design and distribution obligation00%


Dec 4: Do you think Australian residential property prices are topping out?

Yes, too expensive and facing some headwinds5846%
Depends on location, location, location4838%
No, low rates and strong demand mean they will continue to run2016%


Nov 27: Do you think the 'Best Interests Duty' rules for financial advisers are now appropriate?

No, go too far and too much risk for advisers4239%
Yes, even if not clear, should be as strong as possible3634%
Yes, it is clear how they should apply1514%
Don't care anymore, let's accept and move on1413%


Nov 20: Where do you expect Australian investors will receive the best returns over the next decade?

Who knows?2630%
Global equities with currency risk unhedged2428%
Australian equities2124%
Another asset class1011%
Global equities with currency risk hedged67%


Nov 13: Are you worried by the high level of debt carried by governments and households?

Yes, there will be adverse market consequences some time5353%
Depends on the level and type of assets held against the debt2424%
Not until interest rates start to rise1515%
No, the market will adjust and absorb the increases88%


Nov 6: Should our superannuation focus shift from accumulating a lump sum to income outcomes?

Yes, we should inform members about retirement income5162%
Don't know or think they are equally important2530%
No, accumulation is more important67%


Oct 30: The investment industry is primarily designed to help the ultimate beneficiaries rather than the agents working in it.



Oct 23: Should large investors be divesting of fossil fuel related investments?

No, these energy sources are critical for our economy3246%
Yes, for environmental or ethical reasons1826%
Yes, economic returns will suffer as use declines1116%
No, climate change science is bunkum913%


Oct 16: Do you agree with Nick Sherry that our super system is too complex?

Yes, complexity adds to cost4848%
Yes, people are turned off super because they cannot understand it2929%
No, we need the complexity to make it more flexible1515%
No, complexity is a sign of a sophisticated system77%


Oct 9: Into which asset class are you currently investing more money?

Australian equities3837%
Cash or staying out of the market for a while2928%
Global equities1515%
Term deposits or bonds1010%
Alternatives or infrastructure66%


Oct 2: Will investment management look significantly different in 10 years?

Yes, mainly new entrants based on technology and client needs2542%
No, existing players will continue to dominate with similar products1423%
Don't know, too many variables to make prediction1322%
Yes, mainly due to regulatory change813%


Sep 25: Do you agree with the FSC call for a new statutory authority governing financial planners?

Yes, it would help to improve the quality of advice3357%
No, it would remove self-responsibility for advice and create red tape1729%
Don't know but it doesn't address the main issues712%
Other: No, it's trying to avoid a better standard12%


Sep 17: Do you try to time the market when allocating money to equities?

Yes, I believe I can add value2330%
No, it's a waste of time2330%
Yes, but not sure it has much merit2026%
Don't know, depends on market conditions1013%


Sep 11: In exchange for $100,000 now, how much per year for life would you accept?

$5,001 to $7,5006830%
$7,501 to $10,0006729%
Over $10,0005524%
$4,000 to $5,0003817%


Sep 4: Is it appropriate to freeze the super guarantee rate at 9.5% for seven years?

No, people should be saving for their retirement7267%
Yes, people will spend more and stimulate the economy2321%
Depends on whether the employer holds onto it76%
Don't know, super keeps changing anyway66%


Aug 27: Should public super funds allocate more to 'alternative' assets?

Depends on what is in 'alternatives'3955%
Yes, should diversify and take longer term view1825%
No, too illiquid and do not offer enough extra return1217%

  • give choice
  • I don't care



Aug 21: Should super funds report estimated retirement income in statements?

Yes, it's an important part of retirement planning5859%
No, the estimate requires too many assumptions3838%

  • yes but only when the person reaches say 50 because before that it is too pie in
  • Yes but with a range of scenarios
  • depends on the age of the age of the client



Aug 14: FSI question: Should part of a retirees’ super go into an income stream product?

No, people should have investment flexibility2426%
Yes, to prevent drawing all in a lump sum2325%
Yes, to reduce potential dependence on age pension2325%
No, stop playing with the super rules1617%

  • No lump sum provision, other than to roll over into a SMSF.
  • Yes - but as determined by the SMSF - not some lame industry product
  • Invest it yourself, AND... Do not spend the capital
  • depends on the income product
  • No, but some limits should be placed on withdrawals from super.
  • To stop them SKIing it all, getting the pension and going "Ipaidtaxesallmelife"
  • Just limit the maximum % that can be drawn in any year to 10% until age 85



Aug 7: Is it worth paying more for active funds management?

No, they can't consistently outperform a cheap index fund after fees3240%
Yes, it's possible to identify managers who deliver excess returns over long terms2936%
Depends on the asset class1924%


Jul 31: Should young people be allowed to access their super to buy a home?

No, super is for retirement and it will drive up prices12782%
Yes, they need help to enter the property market2315%

  • yes with caveats regarding their age, account balance.
  • These schemes always come in overblown markets. US 2005-2007
  • Lack of liquidity
  • Will this be another driver to increase property prices?



Jul 24: Should SMSFs be allowed to borrow to invest in property?

No, need to protect retirement savings from such leverage7160%
Yes, it's a legitimate asset class and borrowing is fine2622%
Yes but only when SMSFs buying related business premises2218%


Jul 17: Should the Murray Inquiry aim to reduce the percentage of advisers aligned to the five major institutions?

Yes, 80% is much too high5273%
No, leave it to market forces1420%
It is too difficult for the Inquiry to do anything about it57%


Jul 10: Should lump sum withdrawals from superannuation be restricted?

Yes, the money needs to last for a long retirement and reduce age pension demands3547%
No, stop tinkering with the superannuation rules3345%

  • Limit lump sum withdrawals to cases of serious need only and not for holidays an
  • the big firms have pissed it all up against the wall, why can’t I have a shot.
  • Tax Lump sums
  • partially, as there may be mortgages that need repaying
  • deemed from point of retirement
  • Yes with exemptions re health spending etc



Jul 3: Should CBA's financial advice business face a Royal Commission?

Yes, there's still much to be answered3058%
No, just an expensive exercise and would not achieve much1835%
No, CBA is addressing its past problems now48%


Jun 25: Is the AUD currently overvalued at 0.93-0.94 US cents? Where do you think it should be?

Between 0.80 and 0.90 US cents2941%
Between 0.70 and 0.80 US cents2130%
Above 0.90 US cents1623%
Less than 0.70 US cents57%


Jun 19: Do you support the paid parental leave scheme for mothers earning $100,000 a year?

No, not at all4743%
No, it needs to be less generous4541%
Yes, it encourages staying in the workforce1816%


Jun 8: How do you think the Socceroos will fare in the World Cup?

Lose all three group games convincingly3436%
Lose all three group games but exit with heads held high2931%
At least one point from the group games but fail to progress2324%
Surprise us all by progressing to the Round of 1699%


Jun 3: Should the young unemployed take any job they can get?

Yes, must make a start in life and start earning income6563%
No, better to study and open other opportunities2827%
Yes, should not bludge on others88%
No, should wait for the job they want33%


May 28: What do you think about politicians breaking election promises?

It’s inexcusable4042%
Circumstances change, so policies need to change too2728%
I don’t believe election promises in the first place2526%
Sincerity doesn’t win elections33%


May 22: Given the budget needs, is it time to make negative gearing less generous?

Yes, and abolish completely6037%
Yes, but retain to some extent6037%
No, it's required to provide rental accommodation2918%
No, people have bought property on this basis149%


May 14: Was the budget fair and well-balanced towards different groups?

No, too much pain for the less well-off7862%
No, too much pain for the middle class86%
No, too much pain for high income earners32%


May 8: Should we have a 1% then 2% 'tax levy' on incomes over $150,000?

Depends what else is in the budget3941%
Yes, we need to fix the deficit2627%
No, it will reduce economic activity1516%
No, it doesn't raise much money99%

  • No new tax promise broken
  • No, the whole tax regime needs to be reengineered for long-term sustainability
  • No - it's a breach of trust
  • No, it should not affect just the wealthy - apply it to everyone.
  • pay back previous tax cuts
  • gst



Apr 29: Over what timeframe should the budget aim for a surplus?

Between three and seven years3641%
Longer than seven years2731%
No need to aim for a surplus1618%
Within the next three years56%
Surplus will never be achieved again45%


Apr 16: Should super pensions for the very wealthy aged over 60 continue to be tax-free?

Yes, that was the rule when they built their super6047%
No, too generous for people with a lot of money4938%
Don't know, depends what other changes are made1915%


Apr 10: Should the pension age be increased?

Yes, to address longevity and budget deficit issues6852%
No, people have worked hard and deserve it at 654132%
Yes, but not necessary yet2116%


Apr 3: Do you expect significant changes in the May 2014 Federal Budget?

Yes, both increases in taxes and reductions in spending12174%
Yes, reductions in spending1710%
Yes, increases in taxes and government revenues159%
Ho hum, no significant changes106%


Mar 25: What parts of the proposed FoFA amendments will return after the current 'freeze'?

Both commissions and Best Interest Duty1737%
It won't come back for a long time1022%
None, they have attracted far too much criticism920%
Only payment of commissions on 'general advice'613%
Only the change to the Best Interest Duty49%


Mar18: Will allowing commissions on financial products sold under 'general advice' create conflicted payments?

Depends how it is monitored by regulators1014%
Don't know, too complex, wait and see69%


Mar 12: Should the minimum payment from a super pension be mandated at 4%?

No, there should be no forced withdrawal2133%
No, it is too high and forces withdrawal of retirement savings too quickly1727%
Yes, money should be withdrawn from such a tax-advantaged vehicle1524%
Yes, it's an appropriate amount of money to live on711%

  • the maximum amount should be the limited not the minimum amount
  • 3% minimum
  • yes possibly more



Mar 4: Should SMSFs be allowed to borrow to invest in residential property?

No, too much leveraged risk for a retirement vehicle2026%
Yes, as long as the gearing is not too high1823%
Yes, it's a legitimate asset for a retirement vehicle1621%
No, retirement assets require better liquidity1621%
No, rental yields after costs are too low68%

  • Future generations - first home. Maintains out-of-sync with the world
  • No .....the SMSF residential market has crowded out first time home buyers.



Feb 25: Which fees in the wealth management value chain will fall most in the next three years?

platform providers3558%
fund managers1627%
financial planners610%


Feb 16: Three years from now, where will most of your Australian equity exposure be invested?

Directly into listed Australian shares3452%
Listed Investment Companies (LICs)1422%
Unlisted managed funds812%
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)69%
The new ASX mFund service35%


Feb 10: What increase do you expect in total All Ords dividends in 2014 over 2013?

0 to 5%2543%
5% to 10%1933%
Over 10%59%
Don't know47%
Who cares?35%



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