« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »


Setting aside the more challenging question of why I do this, I have also been asked - how many  people read it. Easier to help you with: These are the stats supplied by the helpful folk at Typepad at the time stamp of this post.

Total number of page views: 11323
Average per day: 14.71
Last 7 days: 146
Today since midnight GMT: 24

Total at the top is since inception of the blog. I guess three years now - that daily average is likewise since inception, and therefore very creditable, bearing in mind my target audience are a few score senior managers at insurers, brokerages, and banks in New Zealand. Occasionally when I post a good link (often referred), or say something especially interesting, or rude, it spikes up to 300 odd.

Wakey Wakey

Must remember to wake up fully before blogging. Eagle eyes found the charmingly kiwi 'tachnology' and the delightfully east-end 'shiting' in one early morning post a few days ago. The latter was actually 'shifting' - as in time-shifting. Without which the meaning of the post may have been elusive. Refer below to 'Online attempts...' on the 26th.

Who Lied?

This has got to be the best quote from a sitting prime minister that I have seen in quite some time. Honest, to the point, revealing of all their political wiles:

“We screwed up. Not just a bit. Big time...It was perfectly clear that what we were saying wasn't true...You cannot mention a single major government measure we can be proud of...I almost died when I had to pretend that we were actually governing. We lied morning, noon and night.”

NZMBA Complaint to The Herald

The NZMBA has complained to The Herald. Apparently The Herald gave the impression it had spoken with Brian Berry, and it had not. Megan Salt wrote:

I am dismayed at the article in The Business of Monday 25th September, written by Christine Nikiel showing a photo of Brian Berry with the caption Mortgage brokers, such as Mortgage Works Brian Berry, are finding banks prefer to deal direct with homeowners

Brian Berry was not interviewed for this article, the photo is not recent and in addition Brian did not make the quote attributed to him in the context of this story.

We consider this to be irresponsible and lazy journalism and we ask that you make it clear that Brian Berry was not interviewed for the article by Christine.

Megan Salt


I have looked on the Herald site and cannot find the original article - if anyone can find it I would appreciate the link. We may not yet be at the level of the Tawera Nikau story, yet, but its definitely worth tracking.

While the NZMBA may smart a little at the public withdrawal from the broker market by a couple of funders recently they are quite right not to worry about that, and not to respond to it either.

In another recent article it would have been more informative to get a better discussion of why brokers are useful to banks and clients alike and how they provide an important economic function. Dr. Tripe quoted in this article gets a measly one paragraph, and I bet he has more to say on the subject.

Brokers of all sorts perform useful functions including: packaging, comparing, finding, negotiating, for buyers. Their role for sellers is less often discussed, debate in these articles focused on cost - yet if you are a new lender seeking to operate in New Zealand - well you can quickly plug into the broker market with a commission schedule and a roadshow. It is somewhat harder to build a retail brand or a branch network. Even an established business may benefit from brokers - short on your sales target? You can run a big consumer ad campaign. But it has a longer lead time and higher cost than dropping an email out to 800 mortgage advisers with a special incentive added on.

Another Online Approach to Financial Services

Another interesting online approach to financial services: www.peopleschampion.com

As someone who has spent quite a lot of time and money at this game I have formed some views. Successful operations will be - high volume, low cost, transactional, and will tend to be focused on value seekers with a high cost and convenience drive, who are prepared to do a lot of the work to complete the sale. It may be a while before NZ can support a number of these.

Meanwhile, online access strategies for existing service providers continue to be very successful - as time shifting is the big driver behind the adoption of this technology.

Student boozers on the decline?

In a finding that will surprise no regular student of human nature, The Undercover Economist, notes that there is a corelation between how extra money comes to the hands of student's and how it is spent. Those with an interest in the fate of the Kahui twins, and other students of welfare reform should take note - as do insurers paying disability claims! Link here.

BMI Anyone?

Insurers have been asked by a number of advisers in recent years to abandon use of BMI in assessing whether applicants are overweight. You might read up on the issue over here:

Meanwhile in Madrid, organisers of a fashion show are using BMI to screen out models that are too thin - I kid you not - out of concern for giving young women a bad example. Hmmm.

Actually - isn't it kind of the point that they are a bad example?

Obligatory model picture:

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt on which you pay interest is, largely, unpleasant, avoidable, and financially a bad idea. Disheartening. So is this piece: Credit Card item hardly inspiring as financial journalism.

The link created by the writer between 'regulation' and the rate of interest charged on the credit card is an interesting one. Its not regulation that makes mainstream banks charge less on their credit cards - the issue is one of credit policy, risk selection, and reputational risk.  Regulate interest rates on credit cards and the boundaries will pull in tighter around the more creditworthy.

I also liked this quote: "if you cut out the people who are least likely to repay, if you cut out the most marginal borrowers - the ones who are deepest in trouble - then you are cutting out the heart of our profits." It looks to me like the first part of this statement can't be quite right - maybe not quoted quite right at least: if they never repay anything there is no profit in that. Perhaps they mean if they never repay the principal. Which might well be true.

So why do so many people do it?That is a great unexplored angle. Surely this is a much more interesting approach. Why do people have large chunks of expensive unsecured credit? Also, in all fairness to the banks why not ask how much credit card debt goes bad and is not paid back - that would help to put this into context.

Meanwhile, remember, good financial planning starts with that word: Get Out Of Debt.