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Financial Services

General Business


Health, Ageing and Demographics



Media, IT and Telecommunication

Primary Industries


    Index: Companies and Topics

AMP Capital

Bis Industries

Business Council of Australia

Clayton Utz

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Cricket Australia

Digital Finance Analysis




NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull


Rail Tram and Bus Union

SA Premier Jay Weatherill

Sydney University

Tasmanian Government

Victorian Liberal Party

Westpac Banking Corp


WPP/Nine Entertainment


Sydney University - Chancellor Michael Spence - Chinese Spying Allegations

The controversy over claims of Chinese students’ spying in Australia has deepened, with Sydney University vice chancellor Michael Spence accusing the federal government of 'Sino-phobic blatherings' and warning that such comments are damaging one of Australia’s fastest growing industries. Dr Spence, the head of Australia’s oldest university, with a 67,000 student body and 15,000 high fee-paying overseas Chinese students, warned that continuation of a hostile attitude by the government could threaten Australian iron ore and agricultural exports to China, insisting 'calling them spies or whatever without any evidence is just not very welcoming, and these are only kids whose families have made huge sacrifices to send them overseas and I just think we need to give them a fair go.' Dr Spence continued, insisting 'I’ve never seen Chinese influence in university decision-making and I am not aware of any decision we have made because of so-called fear of the Chinese.' - AFR 5


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Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Royal Commission - Report

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia will acknowledge failures in its financial planning, mortgage broking and insurance units in a report to the royal commission which is expected to include fresh details regarding misconduct, following its recent controversies. CBA, ANZ Banking Group, National Australia Bank and Westpac were all given until today to lodge submissions that summarise each instance of misconduct since the financial crisis in 2008, as the financial services royal commission rolls into action ahead of its first public hearing in a fortnight. It is understood that although Commissioner Kenneth Hayne wrote to the big banks in December calling for submissions of no more than 50 pages, the banks have struggled with the concise format specified, given the extent of misconduct at each bank. - AFR 15

Digital Finance Analysis - Capital Spend - Details

The leading four banks have built up a war chest of more than $600 million, with the capital to be used to fund substantial discounts and attractor rates in an effort to grab market share as momentum in the $1.7 trillion mortgage market slows. The big four banks raised the capital through savings from stricter lending standards, higher interest-only rates, low returns on deposits, bigger margins and cheaper overseas funding costs, according to analysis compiled by Digital Finance Analytics, with mortgages the key driver of earnings growth during the past 10 years for the big four, making up about 25% of group revenues and 30% of cash earnings. - AFR 3

KPMG - Superannuation Funds - Capital Regulations

The chairman of Labor’s 2009 Super System Review has declared that Australia’s superannuation funds must hold a 'capital buffer' so as to to give retirees certainty about their income when they stop working. Jeremy Cooper, the chairman of the 2009 Super System Review, said 'I know it might not be the best time to be saying this, but Australia’s super funds need to become a bit more like banks in one important respect,' noting 'when they retire, most people want something like a ‘retirement pay cheque’ for the rest of their lives. No super fund promises that outcome or keeps a capital buffer to ensure that happens.' Adam Gee, partner of superannuation advisory at KPMG, said while most funds currently hold around 25 basis points of capital, there is more to be done in giving retirees clarity over their expectations for retirement, and suggested 'rather than lump sum information, funds could give more information on projections or comparison to pre-retirement incomes. We would be supportive of that,' and also supported 'capital buffers and pooling mechanisms to take some risk away from retirees, while still leaving them with some liquidity and exposure to growth assets.' - AFR 6

Lottoland - Jackpot Payments - Protections

Wagering firm Lottoland has announced that it is covering itself against the risk of having to pay out jackpots running into the billions of dollars through a mixture of unusual financial instruments and brute force, i.e. buying physical lottery tickets. The company said gambling regulators have 'complete confidence that we can pay out every jackpot we offer' even though its regulator, the Northern Territory Racing Commission, recently noted that it cannot guarantee that betters who win on international jackpots will receive payment. Physical hedging, which involves buying massive numbers of tickets, is Lottoland’s final shield against loss in a system which also includes $184 million worth of a sophisticated financial instrument called an insurance-linked security, issued through a subsidiary in Gibraltar. - Aust Online

Westpac Banking Corp - Instant Mortgage - Abandoned

Westpac Banking Corp has aborted plans to offer an 'instant mortgage,' with regulators planning to implement stricter conditions regarding lending practices this year. Westpac confirmed that a project to offer instant mortgages was active as recently as late last year, however it has since been halted. Westpac said that despite abolishing the project, it will continue to streamline the mortgage application process and improve turnaround times for residential borrowers. - AFR 19

Wingate - SME Offerings - Increase

It has been revealed that the consumer finance arm of private Melbourne investment house Wingate is preparing to ramp up its offerings to the small-to-medium enterprise sector and provide acquisitions in the non-bank lending space, after acquiring a stake in a finance provider backed by the family office of David Smorgon. Wingate confirmed over the weekend that it has exercised an option to acquire one-third of SME payments group QuickFee, a provider of fee-funding solutions for the clients of Australian accounting and legal firms, which allows clients of Australian accounting and law firms to spread the cost of their legal and accounting services over monthly instalments. Under the terms of the deal, another one-third of the company will be retained by QuickFee managing director Bruce Coombes, while the remaining stake will be held by the David Smorgon Family Office, known as Generation Investments. - Aust Online


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KPMG - Chinese Investment - Healthcare Sector

According to a study released today by KPMG and the University of Sydney’s Business School, Chinese investors are expected to step up their investment in the Australian healthcare sector, with the report predicting that the ageing of the Chinese population, the rising health consciousness of the Asian nation will encourage more investment in Australia. the forecast comes after $5.5 billion in investments by Chinese buyers in Australian healthcare companies from 2015 to 2017, with deals including the $1.4 billion takeover of Swisse and the $800 million takeover of the Ansell Sexual Health business. Doug Ferguson, KPMG head of Asia and international markets, said 'Chinese investors have shifted their investment interests to Australia’s hi-tech, high-quality health products and services sector in the last three years.' - Aust Online

Prospa - Potential IPO - Details

Prospa, an online small business lending firm, has confirmed that it will begin meeting with potential investors this week, with the firm looking to list on the public markets later this year. The company has appointed UBS and Macquarie to oversee a public offering which will start with a non-deal roadshow, which will begin in Sydney and Melbourne, before the company travels to New Zealand and Hong Kong to gauge interest in a transaction. - Aust Online


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Business Council of Australia - Skilled Visa Exemptions - Details

The Business Council of Australia has recommended drawing up a list of 'trusted' employers who would be exempt from the federal government’s new skilled visa restrictions which will come into full effect in March. The BCA has proposed that companies with 'a good track record' of hiring and training local workers be allowed to recruit more foreign workers, with the 'trusted companies' program to exempt employers from extra red tape proposed by the government, including restrictions on permanent residency, which are to be introduced in March. According to the BCA’s submission on the visa changes, the new program will 'streamline visa processing and create more flexibility for low-risk businesses,' and noted that 'under the program, more skilled occupations would be eligible for the four-year visa. Safeguards would be designed to ensure the integrity of the temporary migration program is maintained.' - AFR 2

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian - Road Toll - Measures

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian is considering a series of measures designed to crack down on the rising road toll, including the introduction of more speed cameras. The initial package was taken to state cabinet last week and will be further discussed once Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Police Minister Troy Grant return to parliament this week. The package comes after the deaths of the Falkholt family in major incident on the NSW south coast on Boxing Day, which led to the deaths of five people. - Aust Online

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten - Party Policy - Details

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has refused to support a proposal by former leadership rival Anthony Albanese to hold a joint referendum on the republic and indigenous constitutional recognition on January 26, with Mr Shorten refusing to be drawn on Mr Albanese’s idea, which is understood to contradict Labor policy. Mr Albanese proposed the joint referendum as a way of creating a national 'platform of unity,' noting 'it would mean Australia had a day which recognised our modern history of new arrivals, our continuous history of indigenous Australians dating back some 80,000 years and a recognition of confidence of us in a modern state.' - Aust Online

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - Defence Strategy - Details

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will reveal a global defence strategy aimed at moving Australia into the ranks of the world’s top 10 arms exporters, and is expected to announce a $3.8 billion fund to support the plan today. The Prime Minister will today confirm that loans will be made available to defence companies to create jobs, maintain a highly skilled defence industry workforce and help push the nation above its current position as the 20th largest defence exporter. In a recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is attempting to increase the role of his country’s military, Mr Turnbull earlier this month confirmed that Japan would buy four more Australian Bushmaster troop-carrier trucks, whilst Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce yesterday supported recent comments made by US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis that both China and Russia currently pose a greater threat to the US than Islamic terrorism, insisting 'they have extensively grown their military capacity and we have to be aware of that.' - Aust Online

SA Premier Jay Weatherill - NBN - Comments

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has insisted that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a 'very poor NBN outcome,' in a speech in which he unveiled plans to substantially increase internet speeds for public schools across the state through an investment worth 'tens of millions.' Mr Weatherill also criticised SA Best leader Nick Xenophon, who now has 26 candidates ready to run in the state’s 47 lower house seats, for siding with Mr Turnbull at a federal level to strip up to $210 million in education funds from the state. South Australia, which has four-year fixed terms, holds its next state election on March 17 where Mr Weatherill is attempting to extend the Labor government’s hold on power in the state to an unprecedented 20 years. - AFR 9

Tasmanian Government - Minority Rule - Comments

The major political leaders in Tasmania have ruled out governing in minority, despite polls suggesting that neither is expected to achieve a majority at the upcoming state election, putting the state on course for a possible second election. With the election called for March 3, Liberal Premier Will Hodgman and Labor leader Rebecca White yesterday pledged they would govern in majority or not at all, and have specifically ruled out governing in minority. The Liberals can only lose three seats before relinquishing majority government, and two recent polls suggest this is likely, with Liberal support down from 51% at the 2014 election to between 34% and 41% now. Despite the government's primary vote decline, the Labor party is unlikely to gain the six seats needed in order to govern in majority, with the Greens holding their level of support at 13% to 17%,with minor parties possible victors in two electorates. - Aust Online

Victorian Liberal Party - ALP - Criticism

Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger has stridently criticised the federal Labor Party over its response to Melbourne’s recent spike in crime, declaring that Labor Melbourne MPs who live in affluent suburbs outside of their outer-suburban electorates are ignorant about the fears held by their constituents. Federal government MPs yesterday backed Mr Kroger’s comments after analysis that more than a third of the 15 MPs who lived outside their electorates were Labor members who represented the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Mr Kroger said 'these Labor members are in cloud cuckoo land with no appreciation whatsoever of the fears held by many of their own constituents. The problem with Labor in Victoria in terms of crime is that their heart is not in it.' - Aust Online


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I-MED - Further Expansion - Details

Australia’s largest medical imaging and radiology clinic network I-MED is looking at more local acquisitions and potential offshore expansion after backing from its new owner, European private equity firm Permira, which spent $1.25 billion to buy the group after a long sale process. Permira said on Sunday that it had acquired I-MED and its 204 clinics, which combined generate annual revenue of about $700 million, with I-MED chief executive Steven Rubic insisting the company would continue to invest in its existing clinics and explore 'further consolidation opportunities.' - AFR 20


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Rail Tram and Bus Union - NSW Train Delays - Comments

Sydney train commuters are expected to experience lengthy delays today, despite planned industrial action being cancelled, with the NSW government being accused of understaffing the rail network, which has led to cancellations and major delays across the train network. Rail Tram and Bus Union NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said that the rail network was understaffed and that workers were unlikely to volunteer to fill shifts if drivers didn't turn up to work, and noted 'I don't think there's anyone in the state that doesn't know that the stoppage planned for Monday has been called off but, of course, there are always going to be some people who aren't able to volunteer to do extra overtime. That's the trouble you're faced with when you're reliant on forcing workers to do overtime in order to keep your timetable running.' - SMH Online


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AMP Capital - Australian Dollar - Rise

The Australian dollar rose to a three-year high over the weekend, after climbing 8% since December, reaching US81.36 cents yesterday, its highest level since May 2015. The strength in the Australian dollar comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics prepares to release official inflation figures for the December quarter which could prove the dampening impact of the rising dollar on consumer inflation. - Aust Online
  • Comments - AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said yesterday that 'for Europe, Japan and Australia, the lower US dollar is a de-facto monetary tightening which could further delay eventual rate hikes,' and noted that accordingly, the euro has climbed 5.6% against the US dollar since early December, and last fetched $US1.24. - SMH Online


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Clayton Utz - Data Protection - Comments

The issue of data ownership and protection has emerged as the next issue in corporate takeovers, with regulators expected to require better scrutiny regarding how sensitive customer information is used and where it is stored. The federal government’s decision to force Australian companies with revenue of over $3 million to report all data breaches from next month has also placed sharply in focus the value placed on data held by corporations. Clayton Utz head of M&A Rory Moriarty said 'data is increasingly becoming an important part of the due diligence process in a transaction and from a compliance (perspective) you need to make (sure) the companies you are looking at have the proper protections and processes in place. The question of how the data that is part of the business can be used and accessed is now a key component of the due diligence process when you’re running the ruler over a business. Data is also becoming more important regulatory issue and over the past two years.' - Aust Online

Cricket Australia - Broadcast Deal - Details

Cricket Australia has revealed that it will open formal talks this week about a record broadcast deal understood to be worth almost $1 billion amid interest from a 'wide variety of prospects.' CA will distribute information packs to prospective bidders over the coming weeks, with official tender documents to be circulated following a series of consultation workshops with each of the parties this month. CA is aiming to complete the process prior to the start of the next cricket season in October, with negotiations to be led by Ben Amarfio, CA’s executive general manager of broadcasting, digital media and commercial, and his broadcast team. Mr Amarfio said 'we have distributed and in turn received several signed NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) from a wide variety of prospects. We are obviously very pleased about the level of interest in CA’s rights and expect the rights to be hotly contested.' - Aust Online

WPP/Nine Entertainment - News Corp - Support

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell and Nine Entertainment boss Hugh Marks have supported News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch’s call for Facebook to pay 'trusted publishers' a fee for content, in an effort to sustain journalism’s long-term future. Facebook and Google have presided over a major shift in advertising dollars and editorial control from traditional media companies to their platforms, and have appeared to shirk traditional publisher responsibilities. Sir Martin said the fee 'is one solution to the publishers’ dilemma,' whilst Mr Marks said the present economic model was broken and needed 'urgent attention,' and noted that if Facebook was serious about supporting 'trusted content' and stopping the spread of fake news on its platform, then it should help 'find a solution pretty quickly.' - Aust Online


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Bis Industries - Possible IPO - Details

It is understood that mining services and haulage company Bis Industries planning to revive plans for a potential $1 billion ASX float in 2020, after a slow and steady recovery in the resources sector, and a rebuilding of confidence in the firm after a difficult two years which required a recapitalisation and a new set of private equity owners. Bis, which has contracts with major customers including BHP, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Anglo American, Peabody and Whitehaven, has emerged in better financial shape with debt levels about four times lower than the $1.2 billion it had 18 months ago. Bis had been preparing for an ASX float in late 2013 although the plan was halted due to poor conditions in the mining sector. Bis chief executive Brad Rogers said there are early signs of renewed confidence in the resources sector, noting 'I think over the last few years, all players were really sitting on the fence. What we’re seeing is a gentle, cautious recovery.' - AFR 17


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OzProp - Acquisition - Details

Queensland property syndicator OzProp has acquired its second refrigerated shed in six months after paying $9.5 million for a 3844 square metre complex in Brisbane. OzProp purchased the property, on a one hectare site at 47 Acanthus Street in Darra in Brisbane’s south west, on a yield of 7.4%. The site was sold by Les and Judy Blennerhassett, owners of freight and logistics company Blenners Transport, after paying $893,000 for the property in 2010. - AFR 32


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