« June 2007 | Main | August 2007 »

Best use of words "Woolly Mammoth" in a financial context

Brilliant quote from the news engine at Asian Banker...

“The policy is an anachronism, a woolly mammoth dug from the Siberian tundra and shipped still frozen to Australia as a structure for banking"

David Morgan, chief executive officer, Westpac Banking Corp., Australia, reportedly criticising the government's four pillars policy that prevents mergers between the big four banks.


Yahoo Finance Stock Screener

Trading online is something I do using National Bank's system, which is a nice front-end with bank integration of the First NZ Capital service. I rarely trade - being a buy and hold type with listed equities. However, when I do buy I need data. Yahoo Finance's stock screen is a nice tool, it's free, and the information is great. It would be nice if such tools were so easily available for the NZX and ASX.


PAA versus Pinnacle Life

On the one hand you have Dave McMillan of the PAA saying that he wants to explain the role of commission better to the MED. On the other you have Pinnacle Life saying that they reckon this is all about hiding evil commissions from the public eye. Who is right?

The legitimate commission disclosure argument runs that this influences the adviser's decision to place business with a particular carrier. True.

The legitimate counter attack to Pinnacle is that their business model includes no third-party distribution - the same as with, say, integrated bank and life insurance outfits, or, AA Life's offer online. These all include a distribution cost, and some are cheaper, and some are more expensive than adviser-sold offers. Should the client see their distribution margin? Or is it just about total cost?

What's more important to clients? The total price for the product or the knowledge that the person accross the table from them will make a tidy sum from the decision they are carefully trying to get the client to take?

Let's take a little microeconomic view of this problem. A cause for concern amongst advisers should be that because of a desire for relative prosperity economic researchers have found that purchasers in tests will often decline a gain for themselves because it means a greater gain for another. To put it more bluntly, they will sometimes 'cut off their noses to spite their face'. It could mean that with plenty of hard commission disclosure more clients choose not to buy their cover from intermediated sources because they feel they are giving too much away. Even if their interests were best served by the proposal put in front of them.


Obesity Epidemic

The New Scientist has this on the effect of obesity on global warming (you can tell its not good news, so don't go thinking you can eat up all the carbon you've been generating). The article is subscription only but you'll get the drift with this short extract (here).

What did amuse me (in the full version) is that Ian Roberts says that obesity is not an individual failing, its something created by gloabl businesses pushing excessive consumption. Of course this must be a different set of global businesses to the ones creating all the eating disorders in young women. It reminded me of this which I found at The Onion - always worth a look.
82
Click on the image to get a larger version. Careful examination of the T-shirt will show that the caption is: "When is someone going to do something about how fat I am?"