Dreaming of life with high-flyers

Dreaming of life with high-flyers

The world of sell-side analysts has long had similarities to journalism (bar the pay scales). And as structural upheaval makes cost cutting the new normal in both fields, it seems the paths of brokers and journalists are beginning to cross more frequently.

So it is that the flight paths of the two will cross at 30,000 feet late next week when a gaggle of about eight analysts join Qantas boss Alan Joyce, Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, a bunch of hacks and other hangers-on on a junket to Seattle in the US. They're off to pick up the keys to Jetstar's first Dreamliner 787 from Boeing.

No doubt Qantas' investor relations team will also be on hand to show the brokers how to tint the shade-less electronic windows on Jetstar's new flagship plane.

Cash cows

With Warrnambool Cheese and Butter knocking back Bega's buyout offer, there's clearly cash in them cows. And cash is the currency of bigger rival, milk co-operative Murray Goulburn. Dollops of it. On the back of the more than doubling in Murray Goulburn's annual profit to $34.9 million from last year's write-down-marred $14.5 million, managing director Gary Helou's pay cheque went up. Given the milk processor is a co-operative, there are none of these pesky option plans or performance rights to worry about. It's all cash. Helou's latest pay included a short-term cash bonus of $600,000 and some long-term bonus payments of $315,000.

The big cheese was paid $1.48 million a year earlier, although that was only for nine months' work as he took charge in October 2011. Still, CBD is a fan of the law of averages and Helou's monthly cream for the past year works out to $236,000 - up from $164,000 a month in 2011.

Kiwi consolationKiwis in Australia may have been copping some flak after Team New Zealand's spectacular choke at the America's Cup.

But ANZ's Australian boss, Phil Chronican, had some soothing words - at least they have been able to come across the Tasman without a visa. "Seven million people have been given visas to live in Australia since the Department of Immigration was established," he told a lunch in Sydney. "The good news with that is that it understates the issue, because I know for a fact that New Zealanders arriving here didn't need a visa," said Chronican, a Kiwi.

Dr Smith, thanks

"It's Dr Smith to you." These will be the words ANZ chief Mike Smith will be saying over and over again. The head bank teller made a rare appearance in Australia on Thursday to pick up his latest gong. Dr Smith was admitted as Doctor of Laws honoris causa at Monash University's graduation ceremony. Take that, CBA's Ian Narev.

A screw loose

And it didn't go unnoticed that US prosecutors at the trial of five ex-employees of Ponzi-scheme kingpin Bernie Madoff were barred from telling jurors about a sculpture of a screw their boss kept in his office. Defence lawyers at the trial argued the evidence would be too close to the bone. The sculpture was recovered from Madoff's office after his 2008 arrest for masterminding a Ponzi scheme that cost investors about $17 billion. US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain prohibited prosecutors from showing jurors the sculpture or photographs of it, after defence lawyers complained of the artwork's "colloquial inference".

Lucrative Lycra

Nothing like a bunch of middle-aged men in Lycra on their bikes, but this time it was for charity. Usually seen in a suit or a hard hat, more than 250 property players put the pedal to metal last week for the fourth annual Property Industry Foundation's Tour de PIF. More than $200,000 was raised on the day, and still rising, to help homeless kids. Starting at the Station Pavilion, Bobbin Head, the day was split into three courses; the very keen took a 116-kilometre long course (plus ferry) ride to the NSW Central Coast; the mostly fit took a 62-kilometre, three-hour ride to Brooklyn, while the "pretenders" stuck to the 32-kilometre short course to Berowra.

The construction sector may be struggling in parts, but the industry ranging from the Taylor Group, Jones Lang LaSalle and Charter Hall kicked in.

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