Smith sharpens blade on critics I

Smith sharpens blade on critics I

s winter coming for ANZ? First of all credit where credit is due. The quote came from a rival publication owned by Rupert Murdoch, but the image it conjured up had CBD's artist in a frenzy. After brokerage JPMorgan this week offered some critical analysis of ANZ's long march into Asia, Lord Mike Smith of Docklands responded by reaching for his trusty blade. "This is a long game; it's like the Game of Thrones. We're in book one at the moment and we've got some way to go," Lord Smith told Mr Murdoch's scribe. Still, as Lord Smith well knows, seizing the Throne of Swords can be a dangerous move after many ended up on the wrong end of the sword.

Narev missing out

Poor CBA chief teller Ian Narev. As his bank's share price hit a record high above $75, the Australian Shareholders' Association's Kim D'Arcy highlighted the CBA boss was getting paid less than Suncorp's head insurance salesman Patrick Snowball. "The performance rights granted to Mr Snowball will actually put his salary higher than the salary of the Commonwealth Bank chief, which is an organisation about six times as large," he said to Suncorp chair Ziggy Switkowski. D'Arcy was referring to the issue of up to $4 million in long-term performance rights, a move shareholders approved. This is on top of $8 million already paid to Snowball last year.

In comparison, Narev had to scrape by with $7.8 million last year.

He also earns less than Lord Mike Smith of Docklands, Gail Kelly, and Cameron Clyne.

Switkowski insisted Suncorp set pay relative to its peers, but then added almighty get-out clause: "At any one time, a comparison with any one other company and other CEO may led to an anomalous outcome." Snowball's pay was "a big higher than the average" for the top 25 ASX listed companies, he conceded, because he took on the job to resurrect the company after its GFC woes.

Coffee time

Spotted having coffee in Sydney's Bridge Street, ASX chief chalky Elmer Funke Kupper and recent former ASIC commissioner Belinda Gibson. Could Funke Kupper be acting as the exchange's human resources head and quizzing Gibson as part of a job application? With Gibson's one-time ASIC boss Tony D'Aloisio also a one-time boss of the ASX (remember?) it is not too hard to see where this conversation could be heading.

Tough times

Whether or not the Coles juggernaut is running out of steam was not the only big question put to Wesfarmer's head checkout guy Richard Goyder on Thursday's sales briefing to analysts.

"Have you got over the Docker's loss yet?" said one analyst of the Freo supporter's grand final disappointment.

"No, never," replied Goyder.

Maybe it was a touch of post-footy finals funk but Goyder was not exactly showing a glass half-full attitude to business units like Target, which has performed in a manner that Fremantle Dockers supporters would have found all too familiar before this year's miracle finals series.

"I said before, I'm not going to talk up Target's results because there's nothing to talk up," Goyder said.

Lunch all the go

Sydney's Rockpool Bar & Grill was the place for business on Thursday with every floor brimming with captains of industry. In the Hunter Room, property industry stalwarts, John Snowden and Scott Crowe were presenting their new Resource Real Estate venture. Aimed at the institutional market, the two ex-UBS, Colonial and Cohen & Steers heavyweights have the backing of Channel Capital. At ground level, Clime Capital's John Abernathy was celebrating a low-key birthday with private investor Charlie Arve, Matthew Kidman and Wilson Asset Management's Geoff Wilson.

Innovative title

CBD can't go past a good title. Life insurer TAL (the former Tower Australia) has created an executive post of chief innovation and disruption officer. Tim Thorne, a Brit, is moving to Australia to innvate and disrupt the thick margins of the life insurance industry. It's unclear if the CIDO will report to TAL's CEO or CFO.

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