WOW we finally have evidence that we are saving

Fairfax Media are reporting the following:

Kiwi homeowners have quit loading up debt on their mortgages, sparking a multibillion-dollar switch from spending to savings.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Bill English gave New Zealanders a pat on the back for what he said was a “remarkable swing” in savings behaviour.

“If you’d asked me 12 months ago would you see that kind of swing, that change in behaviour of Kiwis who’d got addicted to debt, I would have said it was impossible,” he said. “But actually it was a $10 billion turnaround, and that’s pretty remarkable.”

Households were spending less, which was bad news for retailers, he said.

Consumer spending was down from more than 64 per cent of gross domestic product to about 62 per cent and was projected to fall to 60 per cent by 2013.

English said this was “the right adjustment”, and the Government would press on with a working group it set up to suggest new ways of making the higher rate of savings permanent.

In the Crown accounts for the year to June, released yesterday, English highlighted data that showed how much people were borrowing against the value of their home.

In 2007, people had borrowed $7b against their homes to spend on items such as overseas trips and second cars.

In the past two years people had borrowed much less and built up about $4b of equity in their homes.

“People are paying off debt, financing an extension out of their savings instead of out of debt. They’re getting more housing without getting more debt,” English said.

Kiwis were showing some “realism” after years of credit growth of 15 to 20 per cent each year.

“The whistle went, everyone realised the game was over and instead of mucking around waiting CLICK HERE to continue reading…

What will the next global asset bubble be?

As advisers we get information from many sources and try to decipher the real message and whether or not it is coming from a credible and knowledgeable place.  The above question is one that I am sure is in the minds of all those who have lost their hard earned savings in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

An interesting theory I have read is that the next asset bubble will be Biotechnology, this came from a credible source in the US who predicted the GFC back in 2005 and although he didn’t have his timing exactly right, he did have the scale correct.

One other interesting theory has sprung up from NZ, from the team at AMP.  Here is a taste of their insights, for more information just click this link…

  • Asset bubbles are a fact of life and flow from human nature, which has a strong tendency to jump on to popular fads.
  • There is a long history of new bubbles forming from what’s left of the last burst bubble – and this time around it’s unlikely to be any different.
  • Easy global money – which is getting easier as growth remains sub-par in developed countries and various emerging countries resist upwards pressure on their currencies – is setting the scene for the next asset bubble.
  • Potential candidates are gold and commodity prices, emerging markets and resources shares, however the absence of obvious overvaluation suggests that we are still in the foothills of the next bubble.

Kiwis exposed to dubious offers – Brian Gaynor

The latest from Brian Gaynor – Milford Asset Management

14 August 2010
Dubious investment offers were in the headlines this week with an attempt by a banned director to acquire DNZ Property Fund shares below their fair value and the news that the liquidator of B’On Financial Services has found no evidence that $17,780,077 of investor funds had ever been invested.

These incidents are disturbing as the aim in the DNZ share purchase is to take advantage of unsophisticated and uninformed investors and there has been a serious abuse of trust and friendship as far as B’On Financial Services is concerned.

These offers show that investors have relatively limited protection in New Zealand and it is important to think twice, and seek credible advice, before making investment decisions.

On July 26, Carrington Securities LP wrote to DNZ Property Fund shareholders offering them 60 cents a share on a “first come, first served” basis. The offer was for two million shares, it expired on August 9 and acceptances were to be sent to a post box in Auckland.

Carrington is a Limited Partnership formed last month by Bernard Whimp of Christchurch.

Whimp was banned as a company director for four years in October 2006.

The offer, which appeared to be fairly official, had the big bold heading “Cash offer for your DNZ Property Fund shares”. The 60c price was barely noticeable but the total amount [click here to see full article]

Pollution In China – Raising a Stink

Efforts to improve China’s environment are having far too little effect

Aug 5th 2010 | TAI LAKE | From The Economist print edition

AN OILY green algal film slops on the shore of Tai Lake, China’s third-largest freshwater body. Its foul odour drifts over nearby villages. By the water’s edge it is hard not to retch. Fishermen complain of dizziness. A clean-up campaign launched by the government three years ago has made little progress.

A similar outbreak in the torrid summer heat of 2007 became a national scandal. Drinking-water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people nearby were suspended for several days while the authorities tried to scoop up the gloop. Shamed by damage to a renowned beauty spot, the government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on sewage works and other measures. Hundreds of nearby factories were closed in an effort to reduce the effluent that causes algae to grow.

This year’s problem smells rather like that of 2007, but comparisons are tricky. The lake is vast and few data are available, so independent monitors rely on anecdotal evidence. Some fishermen on the northern shore say the outbreak this year is just as bad. Others see an improvement. If so, it is hard to say what has helped: anti-pollution measures, algae barriers in the click here to see more

What will the new tax changes mean to me?

This article has been written and researched by Judi Galpin from DecisionMakers in Palmerston North.

The May budget outlined a number of tax changes to come into effect on 1 October this year.

There have been complaints that the tax changes will not ‘give me anything extra’.  In many cases this may be the case, but the intention of the changes was not to give hand-outs.  It was to stimulate the economy, improve productivity and reward those who add to New Zealand’s long-term well-being.

Keeping tax neutrality for the most vulnerable sectors was important, however.  Following the recent global credit crisis where the people of some nations have had to accept decreased incomes, a neutral tax package must be seen as a bonus.

Moving New Zealand to a more productive economy in the long-term is definitely to everyone’s advantage, allaying the common fear of our welfare system becoming overwhelmed by the lack of genuine wealth in the community.  If the tax changes can start us on this road to wealth, eventually, we will all benefit.

Comments like the ‘rich will get richer’ are not helpful as we look to these earners to employ more, invest more and produce more.  Having lost any encouragement to do so previously, we now look to these individuals to own businesses and employ others.

There has been much comment on how the new taxes will affect different sectors of the community. Now that emotional comment has quietened, DecisionMakers has completed calculations to determine the facts.  In all cases we have assumed the worst scenario whereby all income is spent on expenses which have GST included. Read More

Asset Allocation, how important is it?

Do we need to care?

The team from AMP Capital make an argument that asset allocation is not everything, but almost everything.

Everything comes in cycles, and one of the big swings in investment management relates to the perceived importance of asset allocation, i.e. the exposure an individual or fund has to individual asset classes, eg, global shares, Asian shares, New Zealand shares, global bonds, listed/unlisted property, cash, etc.

Through the 1990s and into the last decade the investment management industry increasingly moved away from worrying about asset allocation to focusing on manager selection at the asset class level. This partly refl ected the experience of the 1980s and 1990s – where most asset classes did well so asset allocation was seen as less important and many thought it was too hard anyway.

This is all changing with the global financial crisis and continuing gyrations in investment markets. Coming on the back of a decade of poor  returns from traditional global shares, it provides a reminder of just how important asset allocation is.

To read the full article from AMP Capital please click here…

New Liontamer Investment – GOLD!

This was supplied directly from Liontamer:

Our latest research paper outlines some of the important characteristics of gold as an investment asset.

Called ‘The Investment Case for Gold’ it looks at the history of gold as well as the current and future drivers of the gold price and its unique investment properties. It also examines gold’s volatility and considers how the precious metal might fit into a diversified portfolio.


Investors have long used an exposure to gold to help control risk in a diversified portfolio as it has a low, sometimes negative, correlation to equities and bonds and tends to be less volatile than many other assets. Gold has a number of important investment characteristics that make it particularly attractive during periods of economic uncertainty, periods of high inflation and when there is concern about currency devaluation, as the price of gold tends to hold its purchasing power relative to other traditional asset classes.

There is fundamental support for the gold price at current levels due to the strong supply and demand forces currently operating in markets. Global gold production has been falling every year since 2001 and some historic gold producers are now believed to be near exhausting their reserves. The slack has been taken up through recycled gold and the establishment of new mining projects, but new gold facilities are often both expensive to establish and take a long time to become operational. Meanwhile, demand is coming from three key sources; the jewellery industry, for industrial use and from investors. It is important to note that as these critical supply and demand forces currently serve to underpin the gold price, any major change in these factors could have a significant impact on the gold price, either negatively or positively.

Increasing worldwide demand for gold for investment purposes during the global financial crisis has certainly helped to push the gold price up; however, in inflation-adjusted terms, gold still has some way to go to reach the highs of 1980. Much of this current demand has come about due to the emergence of new investment vehicles, like exchange traded funds, through which investors can access gold. With gold now a more accessible investment option, investors have been able to build their exposure to the precious metal in order to help protect their portfolios during times of market and economic uncertainty.

If you are interested in any of the above please contact your DecisionMakers adviser.

Allan Hubbard, what is really going on?

This post is Brian Gaynor’s response to this dilemma…

It is difficult to write about Allan Hubbard and the Government’s decision to place him, his wife, Aorangi Securities and seven charitable trusts into statutory management.

This is because Hubbard is a very likeable person as well as being one of the country’s most highly regarded individuals due to his business acumen, generosity and humility.

Consequently he enjoys enormous support, particularly in the South Island.

There is widespread belief that the Government’s move is unjustified because investors haven’t lost any money. Ironically, the same people have also argued that our regulators should have moved earlier with the failed finance companies, before investors suffered losses.

The response to Hubbard’s statutory management clearly demonstrates that investors need to sort out two important issues:
* Do they want regulators to move on poorly managed companies before investors lose money or do they want the regulators to wait until losses have occurred?
* Should individuals who are generous – and make large donations to charity – be exempt from securities regulations and best practice business standards?

The issues regarding Hubbard are quite simple; should Aorangi Securities have issued a prospectus, were its funds lent without adequate security and should any of this money have gone to Hubbard and his wife Margaret?

To read more click here…