NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Australian Financial Planners are shockers!

As this ASIC investigation reveals.

I discussed this with Geraldine and also reported on it for The Business Show. In July 2003 I reported for SBS on analogous situation of mortgage brokers, also the subject of a report for ASIC.

A lot of the problem is commissions, particularly trailing commissions, and in the course of preparing my SBS report I was astonished to discover that neither ASIC nor the Financial Planning Association knew what proportion of planners accepted commissions and of what kind!

I also discussed with Geraldine this fascinating APRA report on the performance of superannuation funds. The industry funds, often run by volunteers did okay, as did the employee funds run by big corporations. The bad performers were the funds run for the employees of small firms and the professional and expensive retail funds. Price is no guarantee of quality!

Later in the year for SBS TV and Life Matters I reported on the success of Do It Yourself super funds. The DIYers have a catchcry: Why pay to have someone else lose your money, when you can do it yourself?