INSIGHT ISSUE 1, 2013
A LIFE’S WORK COMPETITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS PROTECTING YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY
INVESTING IN GROWTH Finding the rewards in Asian markets
JanE WATTS General Manager, Private Wealth BT Financial Group email@example.com
Welcome to the first edition of Insight for 2013. I’d like to open this edition by first sharing our appreciation for your support, which has again garnered industry recognition for our services at the 2013 Australian Private Banking and Wealth Awards. Westpac Private Bank built on last year’s success, winning some of the most prestigious awards, including Outstanding Institution ($10m-$30m) for the second consecutive year. The skills and expertise of the Westpac Private Bank team were further acknowledged with the following individual awards: Outstanding Relationship Manager – David Tayler and Outstanding New Wealth Adviser – Colemen Lee. The Australian Private Banking and Wealth Awards are the only industry awards that are voted for by the people who matter most – our clients. We are honoured to have received this recognition and remain committed to providing you with dynamic solutions that protect and grow your wealth. In this issue of Insight we provide an overview of the results from the Westpac Private Bank Investment Sentiment Indicator, which reveals that investors are feeling more nervous in response to uncertain conditions both here and overseas.
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Despite this, many investors are still looking for ways to stabilise their portfolios and make the most of any opportunities. To this end, Westpac Private Bank’s
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Chief Investment Director George Toubia discusses the benefits and risks of turning to Asian markets. For those who wish to remain onshore, BT Chief Economist Chris Caton has an upbeat outlook for Australia, and Westpac’s Director, Property Markets, Frank Allen provides his analysis of the commercial property market including some tips for new entrants. Also included in this issue is a sobering warning on the growing threat of online fraud, which I urge you to read. And on a lighter note, we celebrate Australia’s best and brightest fashion designers with a report on ‘Runway for Success’, an event that encourages young designers and supports not-for-profit organisation, Fitted for Work. We also look at the business of philanthropy and the donors who are helping to shape the future of Australian higher education. We hope you enjoy this latest edition of Insight. Please remember that we are always keen to hear your feedback and suggestions on topics for future issues.
Jane Watts General Manager, Private Wealth BT Financial Group
Features A life’s work
Gail O’Brien’s courageous campaign to help cancer patients Speaking from experience
Brenda Shanahan is one of Australia’s most influential women in business Competitive contributions
Major donors are going public with their gifts to improve higher education Protecting your online identity
Fraudsters are targetting high net worth Australians Investing in growth
The rewards of investing in Asia Stepping up in style
BT celebrates Australia’s emerging designers
Private Bank updates Economy 16 Economic update Investment 18 Attracting overseas capital Indicator 20 Investor confidence falls Property 22 Investing in commercial property
A LIFE’S WORK Before Gail O’Brien’s husband Chris died, the couple began a project with the potential to transform the nature of cancer treatment. by Helen Vines
“We have the best clinicians, but at the core of treatment must lie a respect for the whole person in all their complexity.” 2
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
The impartiality of the universe couldn’t have been expressed more succinctly than when head and neck surgeon and cancer specialist Professor Chris O’Brien was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2006. Even for a medically well-informed couple like Chris and his wife, Gail, a practising physiotherapist, the subsequent journey through the system was fraught with a plethora of opinions and advice and there were many difficult decisions to make. Amid negotiating the numerous appointments for tests and treatment, the spiritual and emotional journey increasingly became a priority before Chris passed away in 2009. Becoming ill himself changed his views about treatment, which he was quite open about, says Gail. “We have the best clinicians,” she says, “but at the core of treatment must lie a respect for the whole person in all their complexity. We are emotional, spiritual and psychological entities, and not just physical bodies.” Throughout five bouts of surgery and extensive therapies, the O’Briens lobbied for federal and state funding to establish a holistic cancer clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA), in Sydney. At the launch of the Lifehouse project less than a month before Chris died, it was announced that the federal government would commit $100 million and the New South Wales government $50 million in land value (bringing the total to $150 million) to the project. Fundraising continues to ensure that a comprehensive centre for cancer patients reaches fruition. It is expected to open later this year. The vision of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA is to transform cancer treatment through the establishment of world-class treatment and research facilities, and provide holistic, patient-centred care and support for public and private patients and their families, says Gail, who is spokesperson, director and a board member for the foundation.
“Lifehouse is also about end of life. It’s about peace and feeling like you have arrived and don’t have to be running all over town like we did,” she says. “Chris said that, ‘If at the end of the journey there is a precipitous drop to oblivion, you would feel that everything that could have been done was done, and in the kindest possible way.’”
Fortuitous meeting At a recent breast cancer function, Gail was seated next to “two amazing young women” from Westpac Private Bank. She struck up a nice relationship with them and wanted to become part of their clientele. “They have been full of great advice,” she says. In the Sunsuper Ride to Conquer Cancer event last year, the Westpac team raised $58,000, which was matched by the bank. Gail is exceptionally well placed to advocate for others. She was partner and friend to a remarkable man who, through his various roles before his death, was directly and indirectly responsible for the well-being of over a million people. She has also lived in the closest proximity to illness and grief, both personally and professionally. Like carers, parents and friends of cancer sufferers everywhere, she has had to be courageous and bold, stoic and kind. “Death is not really a scary proposition. It’s the suffering that’s really frightening,” she says. “And running around like a lunatic, trying to avoid death at all costs, is not helpful. People need peace in the process. That’s the message.”
The Westpac Group supports the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA through its workplace giving program. Helen Vines is a freelance writer.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE
Brenda Shanahan is one of Australia’s most influential women in business with more than 30 years in senior executive and board roles here and overseas. By Sue Peacock
Brenda Shanahan knows what it’s like to be the only woman, or even the first woman, around a boardroom table. During three decades carving out a career in the finance and stockbroking world, she has had first-hand experience of Australia’s low rate of female participation in the workplace, especially at senior executive level. “There are certainly more women working now and it is more accepted than when I went back to work full-time at the beginning of the 1980s,” she says. “But we still have to get more women into senior roles, especially in the finance world – which is why the current debate around issues like paternity leave is incredibly important. “I think we are getting there. When you look at sectors such as legal and accounting, they have done a great job in recognising this issue and trying to address it. In the corporate sector, we still have some way to go, but a lot of people are working hard on it and I think it’s getting some traction.” Correcting the gender imbalance involves bridging a cultural divide, which is an evolutionary process, she says. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.
“Participation and productivity are the two big areas in this issue. And, frankly, I’m surprised at how narrow the debate has been to date.” “I think maintaining more ‘connectedness’ between new mothers and their workplaces will make a difference,” she says. “Babies are a 24-hour job, but if you can have some connection back to where you are comfortable, you are more likely to go back to it.” A salary-related paid parental leave scheme and better childcare options, combined with improved technology to create more flexible working conditions, will also help mothers return to the workforce.
“Participation and productivity are the two big areas in this issue. And, frankly, I’m surprised at how narrow the debate has been to date.” Shanahan has held executive and board positions in stockbroking, funds management and investment consulting. She prizes reliable and strong relationships in business, citing her more than three-decade association with Westpac Private Bank as an example. “I’ve found the service to be incredible. It’s very personalised and there’s a lot of initiative used.” She was the first female member of the Australian Stock Exchange, a partner at May Mellor Laing & Cruikshank, and principal of investment consulting and global partner at WM Mercer. She has served on boards across the finance, medical research and agribusiness sectors. Originally from the land, she was recruited as a non-executive director of the Australian Wheat Board when it was a statutory authority before it became the stockmarket-listed AWB. Shanahan is currently the chair of St Vincent’s Medical Research Institute in Melbourne and is a non-executive director of Challenger Limited, Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Kimberley Foundation of Australia, Bell Financial Group and DMP Asset Management. Last year her role as a leading member of Australia’s financial sector and her work in the medical research field saw her recognised at The Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group Women of Influence Awards. She was named as the second most influential woman in the category of boards and management. The winners were chosen from more than 350 nominations. Her major focus now is on developing the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Research, a Melbourne-based biomedical engineering centre bringing together clinicians, engineers, scientists and students to find new solutions to health problems.
“I’m passionate about medical research and will be very happy when the new facility is completed,” she says. Sue Peacock is a freelance writer.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
Major donors are going public with their gifts to improve higher education in Australia in the hope that others will follow. By Cameron Cooper Graham Tuckwell seems an unlikely peer of American software tycoon Bill Gates and Hong Kong action movie star Jackie Chan. Yet the man who made his fortune in the relatively obscure world of commodities trading joined Gates and Chan as donors to the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra earlier this year when he signed off on a contribution of $50 million. His money will go towards 25 Tuckwell Scholars who are chosen each year to study in an ANU program encouraging good citizenship and academic excellence. Tuckwell, an alumnus of ANU, is notoriously private. However, in this case he and his wife Louise want Australians to hear about their gift and follow suit. “The Tuckwell gift sets a record for giving to an Australian university and they want to see that record beaten,” says Colin Taylor, ANU’s director of alumni relations and philanthropy. The donation trumps the $20 million engineer John Grill gave the University of Sydney to set up specialist project management training. It complements gifts given to ANU by the likes of the Gates Foundation (for HIV vaccine and food crisis research) and Chan (to develop the Jackie Chan Science Centre as part of the university’s John Curtin School of Medical Research). Taylor says donations can enable research into speculative areas that are often beyond the remit of government. “It’s about doing the things you otherwise can’t get funding for.”
Promising signs The names of the great American philanthropists roll off the tongue, from Carnegie and Rockefeller to Buffett and Gates. Australians have traditionally been less inclined to give.
Sydney University received a donation of $20 million from engineer John Grill.
But there are promising signs. The JBWere report Australian Giving Trends last year showed that giving from Australian private ancillary funds hit a record $197 million, with welfare, international aid and medical research among the big winners. Kevin Bailey, head of philanthropic services at Shadforth Financial Group, says America’s culture of philanthropy draws strongly on generations of immigrants who have experienced ‘the American dream’ and feel a responsibility to give something back. Celebrated Australian philanthropists such as Sidney Myer, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Harold Mitchell – along with many post-war immigrants and wealthy Chinese arrivals – have made their mark locally, he says. “But they are swimming in a sea where the attitude is that the government will provide for things.” As major public Australian universities benefit from a combination of government and private funding, Bailey also takes hope from private institutions such as the longrunning University of Notre Dame in Western Australia and Campion College in western Sydney. He says Campion, which is built on the generosity of private benefactors keen to promote Christian values and academic excellence, is producing “the most extraordinary people”.
“It’s very exciting. Twenty or 30 years down the track, those alumni will be more likely to endow the university that gave them such a start in life – and that’s how the great American universities started.”
Chunk of the pie While we may be playing catch-up with the Americans, there is a growing expectation and demand among high net worth individuals for philanthropic advice. Susan Chenoweth, principal of Chenoweth Philanthropy and former director of philanthropy at the University of Queensland (UQ), says education is often the poor cousin when it comes to philanthropy in Australia. “People tend to give to health and social welfare, and international grant-making. Education doesn’t get a big chunk of the pie,” she says. She notes a shift away from random “chequebook philanthropy” to strategic giving – a trend that can potentially play into the hands of tertiary institutions. “Big gifts are going to institutions such as universities because the donors know and trust their alma mater.”
“Sir William deserves enormous public recognition for his generosity because his gift has helped us build momentum around philanthropic support.” She says donations come chiefly from a mix of alumni, foundations, and private businesses and corporations that have benefited from UNSW’s research output, innovation or graduates. Donors typically hope to make their mark through improvements to areas such as the quality of the student experience, scholarships and research laboratories, with significant gifts enabling major capital projects including faculty buildings and student colleges. “Often those aspirations mean having high-end, hi-tech facilities for the best researchers and their research students to be able to make the breakthroughs and discover knowledge and forge innovations that wouldn’t happen if the facilities weren’t available.” Philanthropic giving enables UNSW to pursue excellence and strive to be the best university possible, rather than simply “chugging along”. “We strive to add value by making a positive impact on society and the communities we serve,” Lang says.
One example is Atlantic Philanthropies’ Chuck Feeney, who has invested more than $250 million in UQ over the past seven years or so. Crucially, Feeney insists on his grants being tied to matching funding from the beneficiary, says Chenoweth. In the UQ’s case, complementary federal and state funding has allowed the development of research facilities such as the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Queensland Brain Institute and the Centre for Clinical Research.
In the same vein, the founders of travel booking company Wotif, Graeme Wood and Andrew Brice, have collectively given tens of millions of dollars to UQ (their alma mater) for their respective interests relating to global change and scholarships for disadvantaged students. “The scholarships provide hope and aspiration for young people who are the first in their family to study and would not even consider university study without this sort of program,” says Chenoweth.
“People can give generously, only to find that the institution doesn’t do what they expected it to do with the money. You need to do the homework beforehand and not have to clean things up afterwards.”
Building momentum In Sydney, the acclaimed new home of energy research, the $130 million Tyree Energy Technologies Building at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has been constructed on the back of significant federal funding and an overall commitment of $11 million from engineer and philanthropist Sir William Tyree. Once again, he’s an alumnus of the university. Jennie Lang, UNSW’s vice-president of advancement, says the gift has prompted other potential donors to come forward.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
Philanthropists are out to help others, but they can also win personally from their generosity. “People who are giving are much more fulfilled and are living a life that has purpose and meaning,” says Bailey. While urging people to embrace philanthropy, he says they must plan carefully, choose their grantees wisely and get value for their money.
Conversely, he warns against being too prescriptive with grants. “Otherwise you can stifle institutions’ abilities to do what they do best.” At ANU, Taylor says there’s a buzz around the campus about the impact the massive Tuckwell gift will have in the decades to come – on students, teachers, alumni and other potential donors. “It really changes the way the university thinks about itself.”
Perhaps most importantly, the Tuckwells have put giving on the broader agenda. “In so many ways,” says Taylor, “philanthropy is about the stories.” Cameron Cooper is a freelance writer.
Protecting your online identity.
Cybercrime is growing and fraudsters have set their sights on high net worth Australians, targeting bank accounts and self managed super funds. There’s no denying the speed and ease of doing business on the internet or via email. Financial transactions that once required at least one, sometimes several, visits to a bank branch or retail outlet can now be completed on your computer, tablet or smart phone with a few clicks.
The simplicity of the process has transformed our lives for the better, but there’s a downside. Cyber criminals are adept in using the internet to commit a range of scams on people who may think that a clever password is all they need to protect their identity.
Last year, for example, a private banker contacted a client after he noticed that two large transfer requests – worth tens of thousands of dollars – were to be directed to overseas accounts. The client knew nothing about the transfers and realised his email account had been compromised – fraudsters had hacked the account and sent the transfer requests. The client was grateful to have avoided a huge financial loss. Many other people haven’t been so lucky. Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
11 steps to help protect against cyber criminals
Ensure your computer has the latest and legitimate anti-virus software installed and ensure you password protect your computer.
Do not use the same password – ensure you use a different password for your computer, email account and internet banking.
Never share passwords and ensure you change them regularly, especially for important online accounts. Regularly delete emails – emails which contain personal information or attachments which are no longer required should be deleted or encrypted and archived.
Do not click on unknown links – if you receive an email from an unknown source do not click on links or open attachments as they may contain malicious software (malware) or ‘phishing’ viruses. Be vigilant of known sources asking for your account or personal details.
The rise in Cybercrime Cybercrime is simply a “sexy new term for old-school criminal behaviour,” says Warren Day, Senior Executive Leader for Stakeholder Services at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It’s no different to cold calling scams offering dubious investments that operated since the telephone was invented, “except that now it’s on the internet”.
6. 7. 8.
Secure personal documents – ensure all personal documents are stored in a secure place.
Shred personal documents – use a shredder to destroy any documents which contain your personal information.
Set up a secondary email account for online shopping and mailing lists and keep it separate from online financial and business activities so it can be changed without disrupting important communications.
9. 10. 11.
When making online payments only provide your details through a secure https web address as this confirms the secure nature of data transmission.
managed superannuation fund accounts or to obtain credit cards. Or, as in the case of the Westpac client, hacking into email accounts. Successful fraudsters – many of whom are based overseas – are highly experienced and, once they’ve accessed your funds, it’s virtually impossible to get the money back. By all accounts the trend is towards increasingly sophisticated scams since these tend to net these fraudsters the most money.
By all accounts the trend is towards increasingly sophisticated scams. There are numerous cyber scams, including those that operate by creating fictitious financial products and services. Fraudsters simply produce what appear to be legitimate websites posing as brokering houses or even market providers. They pass themselves off as registered traders and use Google search techniques to push their name up the list of search terms. Cybercriminals are also adept at identity theft, using personal information to steal money from bank and self 8
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
Research by the Australian Crime Commission has found that high net worth investors are most likely to be targeted by fraudsters. Day says the profile of a cybercrime victim is typically a university educated professional male in his early-50s. “More often than not, we’re dealing with people who are very sophisticated investors: doctors, lawyers, senior-ranking professionals, and partners of professional services firms.”
What to do if your identity has been compromised Westpac is committed to protecting you and your accounts from any fraudulent activities. If you believe your identity has been compromised or used fraudulently, contact the bank or your private banker immediately. We will investigate the incident and take you through steps that will help you protect yourself in the future. For more information on identity takeover, fraud and scams visit our Security page (www.westpac.com.au/security) and have a look at our Identity Theft checklist.
There are a number of reasons why high net worth investors are at greater risk of cybercrime. For example, they’re more likely to invest overseas, often for tax advantages or to access investments opportunities not available in Australia
Social media is another area of concern when it comes to protecting against identity fraud. Cyber criminals use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to collect personal information. That means you should be as vigilant in posting your address, telephone number, and birthday as you would in protecting your personal documents, such as birth certificates, passports and driver’s licence details.
Many private bank clients also have self managed super funds (SMSF), which ASIC says are now a focus for fraudsters. In addition, private bank clients typically have more money in their bank accounts, and they often communicate with their bankers via email, says Leanne Herrett, Executive Manager of Group Investigations at Westpac. That’s why Westpac has such rigorous policies and procedures in place to respond to cyber and internet-based attacks, particularly when transferring money. Herrett says that, while this can sometimes be frustrating for clients, “the reason we do this is to safeguard our clients, their funds and personal details”. Many experienced investors don’t even believe they’ve been conned, says Mike Holm, Operations Manager at AusCERT, a not-for-profit that helps organisations prevent and respond to cyber and internet-based attacks. “They’re told they’ve fallen for a scam and need to stop, but they often keep sending money,” he says.
Similarly, be wary of online forms and mailing lists and question unsolicited contact. Don’t provide too much information and think about how the information may be used. The same goes for questionnaires and mailing lists at events. Those details go onto mailing lists that can be bought by scammers. And don’t forget that phones are now computers, says Holm. “We’re starting to see phones being compromised as well.”
The only proven strategy to prevent cyber crime is ongoing vigilance, because once you’ve been stung the damage is often irreparable. Ben Power is a freelance writer.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
INVESTING IN GROWTH There are rewards to be found in Asian markets if you can manage the risks. By Barbara Drury
Australian investors face a dilemma. They have money to invest, but yields are low and economic growth has stalled. When they look over the back fence at Asia, they see growth and opportunity, but are wary of the risks. By any measure, Asia (excluding Japan) is continuing to grow and is likely to remain the global engine room for decades to come. Asia generates 60 per cent of world growth and is home to half the world’s population. According to the International Monetary Fund, by 2030 Asia will be the world’s largest economic region, fuelled by urban population which is expected to grow by 650 million people in the same period. The contrast with the developed world couldn’t be starker. George Toubia, Westpac Private Bank’s Chief Investment Director, compares a company based in Europe with one based in Asia. The European market is mature: with no urbanisation propelling growth, an ageing population, rising pension
Region of contrasts However, reform is underway. “What excites us about Asia is that it is not just one region, but three or four sub-regions at different phases of economic and capital market evolution,” says Toubia. The thesis for China and India is unique on a stand-alone and relative basis. Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea share some similarities, while the South-East Asian nations form another group with different risks and opportunities. “In any one year you will see a divergence of performance within Asia,” says Toubia. Take last year, for example. In 2012 equity markets in the Philippines jumped by more than 33 per cent. Meanwhile, Chinese shares suffered a mild bear market before finishing the year almost unchanged as investors awaited the outcome of the political leadership transition and the evolution of credit-tightening measures for specific sectors, such as real estate.
“We look for a very disciplined investment approach to Asia, anchored by a strong macro-aware prism...” demands, strong competition, and deficit concerns at government and company levels. Such a company must eke out every basis point of productivity as people rein in their discretionary spending and become increasingly selective in their spending patterns. A company in, say, Indonesia or the Philippines faces the reverse. A growing population is keen to earn more and spend more, increasing corporate revenues and profitability. Meanwhile, government, corporate and personal debt is manageable and company defaults are lower than the West. But, as Toubia points out, strong economic growth and favourable demographics don’t necessarily translate into positive investment returns from Asian markets. Rapid growth raises issues of quality and sustainability that will need to be addressed. Global investor confidence in the Asian region also hinges on political and market reform, and improvements in corporate governance.
The upshot is that investors who want to extract decent risk-adjusted returns can’t afford to take a passive, index approach to the pan-Asian region. Active management by country and sector is needed, along with good bottom-up investment selection, supported by a sound understanding of corporate governance and legal risks that have real potential to dent returns and cause losses. “It’s not a matter of saying ‘I found a great investment opportunity in a Malaysian company growing earnings and free cash flow at 20 per cent per annum’ unless you are confident you will be able to repatriate your money and your rights are protected,” says Toubia. Asian financial markets are relatively small compared to North American and European markets, and this means large inflows and outflows of money can have a significant impact on the performance of an investment.
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Yet the profound structural changes taking place in Asia, and the historic shift of global economic power to the region, make it an investment destination that can’t be ignored. Westpac Private Bank has identified opportunities across various Asian markets. Toubia says Westpac sets a high bar to investment in Asia. “We look for a very disciplined investment approach to Asia, anchored by a strong macro-aware prism and the maturity to avoid periods where market liquidity is driving valuations to unjustified levels,” he says.
Currency dilemma The volatile Australian dollar adds another layer of complexity for Australian investors deploying capital in offshore markets. Currency movements tend to be sudden, fast and difficult to time with precision. In just one week in May this year, the Australian dollar fell from US$1.03 to US97c. Earlier in the year, the Japanese yen fell almost 25 per cent in three months. Both moves had been widely anticipated, but the speed and timing took markets by surprise.
Hedging your currency exposure is possible, but can be expensive, depending on the currency. While investors look to Asia for growth in domestic market oriented companies, there is also an assumption or expectation that Asian currencies will appreciate over time. “In Asia, if you are investing in Asian currency denominated investments, you need to understand currency risk and consider its impact on outcomes,” says Toubia. “When it comes to the choice of hedging that currency risk, you need to be well-informed about when it is practical and not too expensive to do so. That requires proactive thinking because timing is impossible and being reactive is a recipe for failure.”
Investors can’t afford to ignore Asia, but opportunity brings risks that must be managed to reap the rewards of long-term growth and opportunity in the region. Barbara Drury is a freelance writer.
Yuan agreement a cost-cutter Australians doing business with China can now offer their customers and suppliers direct currency conversion. This follows a landmark agreement between the Chinese and Australian governments in April this year to make the Australian dollar and the Chinese yuan directly convertible. “Direct quotation sets off a thought process in business minds,” says Robert Rennie, Westpac Institutional Bank’s Chief Currency Strategist. “The question will now be: If I invoice in Chinese currency, might that give me a competitive advantage in terms of import and export pricing?” Australia is only the third country to have direct currency conversion with China, its largest trading partner, and Westpac is one of only two banks approved to act as market maker. While direct yuan trade is expected to cut costs for companies doing business in China, Rennie says there are still practical issues for Australians wanting to invest there. It is difficult for foreigners to open a Chinese bank account or hold Chinese assets.
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In practice, most opportunities for Australian investors in China are in Chinese equities via a managed fund. Following the direct currency trading agreement, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced it would invest up to 5 per cent of its foreign currency assets, or about $1.9 billion, in Chinese sovereign bonds. Rennie says this is an important move for the RBA. Over time, the yuan is likely to become one of the major reserve currencies in the region. Already, 11 per cent of China’s trade in 2012 was settled in the local currency. As China reduces the barriers to foreign investment, its large bond market could provide opportunities for private investors. Corporate bond markets in Asia are also experiencing rapid growth as companies rely less on bank lending and more on debt issuance to fund their capital markets. “In the fullness of time, it will be very exciting,” Rennie says.
Stepping up in style BT’s first ‘Runway for Success’ highlighted the inspiring work of THE not-for-profit ORGANISATION Fitted for Work and celebrated Australia’s emerging fashion designers.
Leading lights from the world of fashion, sport and entertainment joined clients of the BT Financial Group, Westpac Private Bank, St George Private Clients and Bank of Melbourne Private for a glittering event at The Australian Technology Park, Sydney earlier this year. Fashion was the focus of the evening, with top designers such as Bianca Spender, Carl Kapp, Lee Mathews, Gail Elliott, Oroton, Lisa Ho, Manning Cartell, Wayne Cooper and Kit Willow showcasing their latest collections. All guests were invited to donate items from their own wardrobes to Fitted for Work which was the largest clothing drive experienced by the organisation since inception in 2005.
received assistance to date, 75 per cent of whom were employed within three months. “All Fitted for Work clients have one thing in common: they want to work – these women self-select to participate,” says Jane Watts, General Manager Westpac Private Bank. “This means they are motivated to change their lives. And they do.” Runway for Success also supports Australia’s next generation of fashion designers, offering a cash prize of $10,000, along with a comprehensive financial plan from BT Private Wealth, and mentoring from established designers to help them make their way in a challenging industry.
The charity provides appropriate clothing to women experiencing disadvantage to help them develop the self‑confidence necessary to find work and keep it.
This year’s winner is Christopher Esber, a talented young designer who has already been awarded 2012 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival National Designer Award and has shown collections at fashion weeks in New York and Australia.
Fitted for Work also offers free mentoring and vocational and non-vocational training. More than 12,000 women have
We look forward to continuing to support Fitted for Work and our young designers at the event next year.
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Special Offer McWilliams were a major sponsor at BT’s ‘Runway for success’ and are delighted to present a selection of fine wines, champagne and a liqueur at very special prices for Westpac Private Bank clients. Reg case* price BT case* price
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While I acknowledge that the current circumstances are challenging, there is simply no inevitability that economic growth in Australia will slow further.
Chief Economist BT Financial Group
Share market volatility has continued in June. At the close on 20 June, the Australian market had fallen by 3.4% from its 31 May level while the US market was down by 2.6%. This brings the year-to gains to 2.4% and 11.4% respectively. At the current low point for this correction, during the day on 13 June, the Australian market was down by more than 10% from its 14 May close of 5221. That low point may, however, be challenged on 21 June. There is no doubt what the major international force driving markets is: the continued concern that the Federal Reserve may end its programme of quantitative easing (QE). QE expands the Fed’s balance sheet, and the chart below shows the apparent effect this has had on the US share market in recent years. Fed Balance Sheet and S&P500 $UStin
Earlier this week, in a press conference after an FOMC meeting, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed is likely to begin to “taper” QE – that is to buy fewer long-term securities than the current $85 billion per month – before the end of 2013, with an eventual aim of ceasing such purchases altogether by mid-2014. Note that this wasn’t a statement of what the Fed will do so much as a statement of what it plans to do provided that the economy still shows consistent signs of growth. Note also that “tapered” purchase would still result in further expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet, so if the above chart has any meaning that should still be consistent with a rising share market. The share market fell significantly that afternoon, and again on the following day. Meanwhile, long-term interest rates have risen sharply, with the 10-year bond rate now at 2.44%, from 1.64% as recently as 1 May. This, in turn, causes mortgage rates to rise and thus calls into question the ongoing housing recovery.
1200 2.5 1000
1.9 1.7 Jan 09
600 Jul 09
Source: Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg Financial, L.P.
16 Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
I continue to think that market analysts are jumping at shadows, and that a world in which the Fed is comfortable ending its programme is a world that should be conducive to further share market gains. It is, however, just as well that these issues are being discussed long before we get to the end of the process; the more market volatility this causes now, the less there may be later.
In addition to the US effect, the Australian market has been held back by concerns about the state of the Australian economy, along with continued soft Chinese data. The national accounts for the first quarter, released in early June, depicted an economy growing at just 2.5% in the past year, down from 4.4% as recently as a year ago. They also suggested that the mining investment boom has already peaked, which removes from the economy a major source of growth in recent years. We knew the end of this boom was coming; it just arrived a little earlier than anticipated. This slowdown led to calls of recession, and to assessments that the Australian economy would already be in recession were it not for exports. The latter statement is meaningless: as a general rule, if one excludes all the stuff that is growing strongly the average growth rate always falls. A couple of well-regarded private-sector economists have gained some publicity with their estimates that there is a 20-25% chance of a recession within a year. Think about that. What they are saying is that it may happen but it probably won’t. Who can disagree with that? The issue is that it’s not clear that the rest of the economy will pick up the pace quickly enough to offset the loss of growth from mining capital spending. I am frequently asked just where the replacement growth is going to come from, and the answer does not always convince doubters. The response must be that it won’t come from any one sector, but from everywhere that is helped by lower interest rates and a lower exchange rate (along with an improvement in business sentiment that seems likely to occur after 14 September). 10
Year to % change US Australia
The exchange rate has continued its plunge towards fair value. At time of writing, it stands around 92 cents (still well above my estimate of 80 cents for its “fair value”). The RBA is standing on the sidelines cheering the dollar on. As a rule of thumb, a 5-cent drop in the currency has a stimulative effect on the economy about equal to a quarter-point rate cut. It makes our exports easier to sell, and makes domestically produced goods more competitive with those from offshore. Thus the decline in the currency to date should do the work of two rate cuts. The fall in the currency has added to the perils of the Australian market for overseas investors. Since the recent peak in our market, the $A has fallen by 8%, so a US investor in our market is down by about 16% in the past five weeks. Financial markets continue to think that the cash rate has further to fall, and they may be right. My view is that, given that the cash rate is at a record low, the RBA will be extremely parsimonious in cutting further. It is probably hoping that the rate cuts already in place will get more traction, and that the lower exchange rate will help enough to obviate the need for further cuts.
Mea Culpa Three weeks ago I stood by my then forecast of 5300 for the ASX200 at the end of the year. The ongoing weakness so far this month has persuaded me to revert to my original forecast, published in early January, of 5100. Last year, the reverse happened; I cut my forecast by 200 points in mid2012 and my original forecast finished up being too high by just 51 points. The lesson: never change a forecast until you are absolutely sure that it’s wrong.
Chris Caton Chief Economist
5.0 2.5 0
The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone. They should not be otherwise attributed.
The $A continues to fall
While I acknowledge that the current circumstances are challenging, there is simply no inevitability that economic growth in Australia will slow further. Prior to the GFC, year-to growth dipped to 2.5% or less in 2006, 2003, 2000 and 1997 (see chart). So a slowdown of the magnitude of the current one seems to happen about every three years or so. In none of these four cases did the economy finish in recession and it remains an unlikely outcome in this current case.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013 17
Australia welcomes wealthy investors A new category of visa is aimed at enticing wealthy individuals to invest in Australia.
18 Westpac Private Bank â€“ Insight Magazine â€“ Issue 1, 2013
The Significant Investor Visa was introduced last year as a residency pathway for migrants with more than $5 million dollars to invest in Australia.
—— through a valid trust where the trustees and beneficiaries include the applicant or their spouse or de facto partner together.
The Immigration Department says the aim of the visa is to provide a boost to the Australian economy. Migrant investors approved under this visa will be required to invest at least $5 million into complying investments for a minimum of four years to be eligible to apply for a permanent visa. Significant Investor Visa applicants do not need to satisfy the innovation points test and there are no upper age limits, or language requirements. Residency requirements are also reduced.
More than 305 SIV applications have been lodged, totalling a potential of $1,525 billion in investment. It’s expected that applications will be processed within six to nine months.
Some investments that comply with the Visa requirements include Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds, Australian Securities and Investments Commission regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia; and direct investment into Australian proprietary companies. Different states impose different rules for investment during the four-year period. Some states prescribe that a certain proportion of funds be invested in State Treasury Bonds, while other states require that investments have a connection with or benefit to the state nominating the applicant. The investment must be made and held: —— directly by the applicant or together with their spouse or de facto partner; or —— through a company where the total amount of issued shares are owned by the applicant or together with their spouse or de facto partner; or
Australia’s first approved significant investor visa was awarded to a Chinese toy manufacturer and his young family. “Significant investors bring with them their skills in business, their links to international markets and additional capital for investment in other projects in Australia that interest them,” said former Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor in a media release announcing the visa. “Australia is in active competition with other countries across our region for successful, high wealth individuals and the capital and business acumen that comes with them,” he said. State and territory governments are partnering with the Commonwealth to ensure the available visas are offered to the most experienced business people and high profile investors.
Some 90 per cent of the expressions of interest have been submitted by applicants from China. About 47 per cent of applicants want to invest and live in New South Wales, 38 per cent in Victoria, 10 per cent in Queensland, 3 per cent in Western Australia and 2 per cent in South Australia.1
Source 1. www.basispoint.com.au SIVAustralia newsletter, June 2013
Westpac launches leading SIV Account New migrants seeking permanent residency in Australia through the Significant Investment Visa can take advantage of the Westpac Private Bank – SIV Flexible Investment Account. The SIV Flexible Investment Account is a market-leading offer that includes both a flexible product suite and a private banker or relationship management service. “The approved service allows investors to access different types of investments (such as bonds and property) as well as managed funds,” says Elissa Crowther-Pal, Head of Wealth Services, BT Financial Group. “Our Private Wealth Significant Investor Visa service will be highly compelling for people who have migrated to Australia”, she says.
“We offer a total banking solution for investors, with Australia’s leading private banking team.” Westpac Private Bank was awarded the Most Outstanding Institution for Individuals with $10-$30m by the Australian Private Banking Council in 2012 and 2013. “Our competitive edge is the relationship management banking and wealth service for our high net worth clients. Given the SIV’s minimum investment requirement of $5 million, these clients require the personal attention and service that our private bankers are able to provide,” Crowther-Pal says. For more information about the SIV Flexible Investment Account, contact your Banker to arrange a meeting, or call Westpac Private Bank on (02) 8254 0900.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013 19
A watching brief
Investors are feeling more nervous as economic and political uncertainty hits the front pages.
While high net worth (HNW) investors began 2013 in a relatively positive frame of mind, by the second quarter sentiments were distinctly more pessimistic. The Westpac Private Bank Investor Sentiment Indicator fell to end the quarter almost in negative territory, wiping out nearly half of the gains over the past 12 months. The good news, though, is that compared with the same period last year (-10.9), investors were considerably more confident in the most recent survey (0.7). Investor sentiment measures confidence based on investors’ expectations about the performance of the market, their perceptions of their current financial situation and their intentions to invest in the future. The somewhat volatile performance of the Indicator reflects the nature of the markets and the news cycle. Australians have been treated to a news diet of political and economic uncertainty for much of the last year, particularly as the next Federal Election nears. The economy has been slowing down as mining and manufacturing investment declines and some have suggested a recession is on the cards. Meanwhile the Australian dollar, which has depreciated since April, remains relatively high and unemployment is also increasing. Nonetheless, HNW investors remain considerably more positive than other investors. Those with between $50,000 and $750,000 in assets, known as Mass Affluent investors, ranked their confidence at some 15 points below HNW investors and well into negative territory (see graph). During this period of uncertainty, HNW investors are largely content with their current investments. Satisfaction is highest for those with residential property, with 69.8 per cent happy or very happy, followed by superannuation (58.8 per cent) and managed funds (52.7 per cent). 20 Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
In this survey, more investors chose to leave money in their existing investments and to top them up, as well as to buy new investment products or invest extra into equities compared with the first quarter of 2013. However, this may change as investors’ more pessimistic outlook means new investment activity is likely to fall during the third quarter.
About the research CoreData has been researching Australia’s high net worth (HNW) investors since 2002. Its survey covers asset class, investment type and product data to build a picture of how the HNW investors are feeling about the state of the market and how they plan to react. Those surveyed each quarter are drawn from a group of more than 17,000 HNW investors. More than 220 respondents from this group were included in the latest Westpac Private Bank Investment Sentiment Indicator survey. To satisfy the requirements for the research, investors must have a portfolio of $1 million or more that does not include their superannuation or principal place of residence. Those with an annual household income of $250,000 or more are also classified as HNW investors.
The quarterly research, which has continued for almost a decade, provides a comparison of future intentions with past results. Interestingly, the research reveals that those who followed the predictions of wealthy Australians would have been better off than those who kept invested in the ASX200 index.
Investment activity HNWI Q4 12
Investor sentiment falls HNWI Q1 13
HNWI Q2 13
Mass Affluent Investor Sentiment
-30 Purchased a new investment product/ Invested money directly in new equities
Withdrawn money from existing investments
n=121 (HNWI Q2 13); 138 (HNWI Q1 13); 252 (HNWI Q4 12), respondents who have savings/investments
More high net worth investors have reinvested and purchased new investments in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter while fewer investors have withdrawn money from existing investments.
SMSF attracts 1 in 3
High net worth investors are feeling less confident but are still more positive than ‘Mass Affluent’ investors (those with investments of between $50,000 and $750,000).
Conservative – predominantly looking for income with very little exposure to risky assets
Moderate – looking for returns without much risk and with a view to income
41.5 45.6 46.0
Willing to invest in some riskier assets to achieve higher returns
Public sector superannuation
Willing to invest mainly in ‘riskier’ assets to get higher returns
Full service brokerage account
Are you a risk taker? 11.0
Online share trading account
Self managed super fund
Invested new money in existing investments
HNW Investor Sentiment 30
n=121 (Q2 13); 139 (HNWI Q1 13); 252 (HNWI Q4 12); 116 (HNWI Q3 12)
Corporate superannuation 5.0 1.3
HNWI Q2 13 Mass Affluent Q2 13
30 % Yes
*Multiple answers allowed n=121 (HNWI Q2 13); 878 (Mass Affluent Q2 13)
HNWI Q2 13 HNWI Q1 13 HNWI Q4 12
8.3 5.0 4.8
I don’t feel comfortable with any chance of investment loss
25.6 30.2 27.0
I like my returns to be fairly stable – I don’t like the value of my investments to rise and fall too much I accept that my investments may rise and fall if I want higher returns – however, I’m not interested in high risk investments even if they have a high return
56.2 56.8 60.3 9.9 7.9 7.9
I want to get the best returns I can and I’m prepared to wear significant ups and downs in investment value 0
n=121 (Q2 13); 139 (HNWI Q1 13); 252 (HNWI Q4 12)
Self managed superannuation funds are the most common investment vehicle for high net worth investors (36.4%), followed by online trading accounts (34.7%) and retail superannuation (24.8%).
While high net worth investors describe themselves as less conservative with many looking to invest in ‘riskier’ assets, they remain cautious with most indicating they would not consider high risk investments.
Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013 21
Investment in commercial property should be backed by caution and research.
22 Westpac Private Bank â€“ Insight Magazine â€“ Issue 1, 2013
Research THAT investors could be undertaking includeS getting to know the micro-market of areas they are interested in. FRANK ALLEN Director Westpac Property Markets
Investors seeking to broaden their portfolios are looking at commercial property as an option, investing directly or through Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REITs) or syndicates. The impetus for some measured risk-taking in commercial property is partly being driven by a general acceptance that bad news from Europe and the United States is nothing new and unlikely to change for some years. Comfort is also being drawn from the belief that the Australian economy may just muddle along rather than go backwards, and, perhaps more importantly, cash deposit rates have fallen, leaving investors looking elsewhere. This is a measured and gradual shift in investment psyche. The correction in property yields during the global financial crisis, and their stabilisation since then, is offering good investment returns, as long as the income is secure. This latter factor has been driving offshore buyers to ignore the strong Australian dollar, encouraging cashed-up A-REITs, syndicators and private investors to compete for good, well‑managed income-producing assets. There is even evidence that this activity is producing some capital growth. However, the market for secondary properties in need of capital expenditure, or for those with short leases in place, is much quieter. Few buyers are willing to take on market risk in such an uncertain economic environment. If they are, the price has to reflect the risk. Income yields of 6–9 per cent over a long-term lease of about seven years-plus is more than double what is on offer for cash investments. The potential exists for capital growth as well. The question investors are asking is whether their capital outlay in commercial property is secure. The answer depends on several factors including the quality of the tenant already in place, the ability of the owner or manager to maintain (or even increase) the income flow, and the quality and length of the lease.
Yields and growth The increased interest is somewhat driven by talk over the last six to nine months from a variety of property experts who are predicting a firming in yields, and therefore capital growth, due to the increasing investment activity for prime or good income-producing commercial properties.
Some parties are predicting yields could firm by 5075 basis points. While there is a case to say this could happen, we may well be too close to the GFC for such strong growth, especially as capital remains tight for overly aggressive projects. I don’t believe we will witness imminent strong capital growth in commercial stock. However, we could see some firming in yields, potentially by about 25 basis points over the year, possibly more, but it will be selective. Secondary properties aren’t as in-demand as prime offerings, so it’s a case of positioning for any potential upside. History has shown that the initial demand is always for the more secure or better assets. However, as the number of assets available diminishes further, focus tends to shift outside this area. It is unlikely to be much different this time, but it will require a pick-up in the general economy to drive some confidence that tenant demand will strengthen. At the moment that doesn’t exist, as reflected in the rising level of incentives being offered to tenants to move or even to stay. The 64 million dollar question is just when will the general economy improve? Right now no-one knows. The bad news and uncertainty out of Europe or the US may not be new, but it isn’t going away, and that’s causing the uncertainty. Most are agreed that the growth region will be Asia, but we need a pick-up in the larger established economies to help build confidence.
Time for research It is not necessarily the right time to jump in and buy commercial stock. However, it could be an appropriate time to do your research and look at positioning your investments to take advantage of any potential upside that will happen when things start to look a bit brighter on the domestic economic front. Research that investors could be undertaking includes getting to know the micro-market of areas they are interested in. Investors need to know everything about the market, including any new stock likely to be built and what, if any, locations their tenants on shorter-term leases could be moving to at the end of their lease. Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013 23
A large amount of due diligence is required. In the current flat rental market, the risk in the short-term is that your tenant could decide to downsize their operations, and therefore their leasing requirements. The key to picking up a secondary asset in the current market would be to ensure it has a reasonably good medium-term lease in place to ride out the uncertainty. The last thing you want is to be left holding a vacant property in the current market, or maybe even in a year’s time when the domestic economy may not have picked up and tenants are being offered 30 per cent incentives to move elsewhere.
It is difficult to forecast things being a lot better in a year’s time. Stimulation in the economy won’t come from government spending but will need to be spurred by economic activity itself, including more confident consumer spending and business investment
The challenge for many investors will be making sure they have paid the right price... and it adequately reflects the amount of risk they are taking on.
It’s really about taking a medium rather than short-term view. In most markets, vacancy is around or below average and new supply is controlled. This is unlikely to change for a while – which is where the opportunity may lie because, as the economy picks up, secondary space may be the only vacant space available.
The challenge is picking stock that will offer potential capital growth. Over the short term – the next 12 to 18 months – any capital growth is most likely to come through prime assets because there is a weight of funds chasing those. Over the medium term the potential could lie in quality secondary stock.
Slow swing back The economy has taken longer to swing back to growth than many experts envisaged. While some aspects of this year’s first quarter have been quite good, economic growth remains relatively weak on an annualised basis.
As the economic signs start picking up, and the Reserve Bank’s stimulus potentially takes greater effect, we could start to witness investors assessing secondary property because it could offer a greater return than prime stock. And as funds shift into secondary stock, this could lead to yield compression.
The money focusing on prime should drive yields down. However, the secondary yields could remain flat in the short term, or potentially move out, which makes them attractive again if the buildings have a secure income flow. As the economy starts to pick up and we start to see more leasing activity, vacancies will decline, which may start to push towards secondary assets.
The challenge for many investors will be making sure they have paid the right price for the property and it adequately reflects the amount of risk they are taking on.
Choose your partners An important element of moving into commercial property investment is choosing good partners to work with. If you’re entering into a syndicate, choose someone with a good track record who has set up similar syndicates previously and been relatively successful at offering a good overall return. Choosing prime or secondary stock is a decision based on your investment goals and risk appetite. For example, while there may be a higher level of risk with secondary stock because it is likely to require more capital expenditure, the yield and purchasing price are likely to be more attractive, reflecting the risk. It comes down to choosing the right property and then picking the right sponsor, the person who is going to turn it around for you. If you don’t want to take on too much risk, it may be better to stick with prime. Secondary stock can be improved in several ways. In retail, in particular, a very strong retail investor would be able to look at retail shopping centres and understand why they are not performing as well as they should – potentially because of the tenant mix – or where further value could be added. Office buildings can, at times, require different internal configurations, or upgrades to bring them more in line with current standards, including environmental standards, which are becoming increasingly important to tenants. Inexperienced investors will need to team up with a party with the expertise to do that.
24 Westpac Private Bank – Insight Magazine – Issue 1, 2013
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