Letters: Rates rumble, charting Leighton, property pitfalls

Members write in to discuss the interest rate cut, the recent performance of Leighton, anger at ANZ pension returns and more.

Rates pain

Instead of claiming self-serving credit for the Reserve Bank's cut in official interest rates, treasurer Wayne Swan should apologize to the people of Australia for failed Government policies hiking living costs - forcing the Bank to take strong action to help alleviate the financial pressures families are dealing with.

The Bank acknowledged it was vital to boost other sectors to replace a cooler resources industry.

I can’t wait to see what magical fantasy numbers Mr Swan conjures into his Mid Year Economic Forecast to try and convince  himself and his colleagues that a $1.5 billion budget surplus for 2013 will be realised.

J Trudgian

Bank currency risk?

When the massive bank borrowings from overseas need to be repaid or refinanced, are the bank debts in Australian dollars or a foreign currency? If the latter, in the event that the dollar falls, won't that mean the banks will be devastated?

Name withheld

Charting Leighton of late

Not all share market punters are gifted with Robert Gottliebsen's analytic prowess. His exposé on Leighton (Gas pipeline has two ends September 28) reinforces my preference of using technical analysis to read Mr Market's sentiment – as opposed to searching for illusive intrinsic values derived from belated financial data released by companies – to Buy/Hold/Sell shares.

Looking at my chart is much like a pictorial event of Robert's analysis.

Leighton has been in a comparative consolidation trend since June 30. The release of the half year accounts on August 27 triggered a Parabolic SAR Sell signal which lasted until September 13 when the company announced the Wynyard walk contract win. This triggered a Buy signal with a gain of 13% but it was short lived and continued with its sideways move.

V Massonic

Underwhelmed by ANZ

It has been nearly a year since I closed my ANZ OneAnswer Allocated Pension. In that time I sought help from independent bodies like the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and the Financial Ombudsman. After almost a year of corresponding with both the above, they both cited jurisdictional constraints and washed their collective hands of me.

How can you we have independent complaints tribunals with constraints that do not allow them to question banking performance when the very premise of financial investing is based on performance and that is how this product is marketed and sold by ANZ financial consultants? Now where do I go? I cannot afford to take on ANZ in a court of law. That would financially cripple me. Have I no recourse open to me? Do I just give up? Surely not.

I did not give ANZ over $100,000 to invest. They employ Financial Consultants who have one function – get people to invest. This they do very successfully and very professionally. Their function is to make (implied) promises. I trusted them. Let me reiterate: not one consultant ever made contact with me over six years to discuss my portfolio performance.

Sure, we were all dealing with the Great Financial Crisis in Europe. But, to calm shareholders and investors, CEO Mike Smith made this statement: “Despite the uncertainty, I do want to be very clear – the Australian economy and the Australian banking system are in good shape and are not running out of breath.” This very same CEO Mike Smith earns $10 million a year, or $27,400 per day!

When ANZ accepted my money, I say they made a commitment, an obligation and a duty of care to perform. In the last three years ANZ have paid out generous bonuses to shareholders, directors and staff at my expense and probably thousands of other investors. We all know ANZ declared a profit last financial year of $5.26 billion dollars.

To make matters even more humiliating this bank announced it will take its top 200 employees on a luxury cruise spending in the region of $2 million. I am told that the banks must answer to shareholder and they are paramount. For goodness sake, is not an investor a shareholder?

The Tribunal and Ombudsman stated that most fund members made losses. This not an excuse. This is duty of care. Because many thousands of unsuspecting investors made losses does not exonerate them from action.

One word comes to my mind: Class Action. Teach these banks that they cannot take investors in to a market without consequences which is borne only by the investors, not the bank! No bank can justify a return of 0.35 % pa on my OneAnswer Allocated Pension (over six years) and still declare a $5.26 billion profit, pay bonuses, shout cruises for select employees and pay the CEO $27,400 per day.

B Fernley-Pearson

A small picture, please

Eureka Report is no longer meeting my retail investor needs.

A recent edition had two whole articles on single stocks, which probably 95% of us have hardly heard of. The impression is given that some articles by your big name contributors really are esoteric and far too big picture for us, and speak about what they find interesting rather than what we small investors find helpful, especially since we largely depend on dividend income for our living. Very few of us are into overseas stocks, interesting as they are to big-picture people.

Several months ago the above came up at an investor's meeting and I was surprised that some had cancelled or were not renewing their membership, for the reasons above. I am starting to understand why.

Most retail investors have similar interests, and Eureka should remember this, if you have them in mind. We are not all that interested in big-picture subjects that seem to be of great interest to some of your contributors. Robert Gottliebsen, on the other hand, seems to be more at our level.

D Paech

Property pitfalls

With regard to the September 26 article ‘Property Heats Up’, being a cynic I have a propensity to prejudge issues and rarely read any articles on real estate.

However today, although I immediately thought ‘here we go again’, I didn't recognise the author as a regular contributor, opened my mind and read the article. After the first paragraph I just had to go to the end to read “Louis Christopher is managing director of independent property advisory and forecasting research house SQM Research”.

These people just don't get it do they.

M Linnett

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