Taking an ethical approach to super

There will be at least one former Babcock & Brown executive steering clear of debt instruments for the foreseeable future.

There will be at least one former Babcock & Brown executive steering clear of debt instruments for the foreseeable future.

The managing director of "Australia's first Islamic wealth manager", Talal Yassine, yesterday announced plans to launch a superannuation product by the end of March.

"It's not only an Islamic product. It's an ultra ultra ethical product," the founder of Crescent Wealth explained. "Leverage is going out the window. It's pretty much the cause of today's financial woes."

Yassine said his super product would steer clear of investing in the banks and derivatives. "Borrowing money magnifies the profit ... and it also magnifies the loss," he reasoned.

Yassine has drawn on old contacts to form an advisory board that will provide strategic advice to Crescent Wealth. These include his old contact from his student leader days, former Macquarie University vice-chancellor Di Yerbury, fellow board member from the Whitlam Institute Nick Whitlam, and the former Telstra executive Ted Pretty. Yassine is probably best known for co-founding the electric car business Better Place, which includes former NSW premier Kristina Keneally's husband Ben as its marketing director.

PRICES GO POP

The son of the concert promoter and former chairman of failed Jacobsen Entertainment, Kevin Jacobsen, has offloaded part of his private collection of 1980s memorabilia.

With the online auction in the final straight late yesterday, the highest bid for David Jacobsen's private collection of art was $169 for a signed poster of the American Pie singer Don McLean. Among the other treasures was a signed picture of Kenny Rogers (which had a bid of $59) and a program signed by the Australian singer John Farnham (which had a bid of $49). With five hours to go, more than three quarters of the lots had bids of $9. They included posters of the piano-playing extraordinaire Richard Clayderman, heart-throb Engelbert Humperdink and Dolly Parton.

JEERS AND CHEERS

There did not appear to be too many climate change believers in the room when former prime minister John Howard was booed for calling himself "an agnostic on the subject" in an address to the Sydney Mining Club on Monday night. Howard, however, soon had the crowd cheering when he started to attack the climate change alarmists and those on the left who sought to shape the minds of young children.

"People ought to be worried about what their children are being taught at school," Howard said as he heaped praise on the climate sceptic Ian Plimer's book, How to Get Expelled from School.

"The science is never in and it ought never to be in," Howard said about the climate change debate, to numerous cheers.

Aside from admitting he was not an expert on climate science, Howard also showed some gaps in his knowledge of central Asian republics. When discussing a recent trip to Kazakhstan, the former PM referred to it as Kazakistan.

At the book launch, which was co-sponsored by the Melbourne conservative think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, Plimer said: "The first thing we learn at school is that carbon dioxide is the food of life." He decried the large amount of "activist teachers" scaremongering students about climate change. "Our kids are being fed activism," he warned.

Among the guests at the launch were Kingsgate chief executive Gavin Thomas, Centennial Coal chairman Bob Cameron and investment banker Ronnie Beevor.

The chairman of the Sydney Mining Club, Julian Malnic, made no secret of which side of the political fence he sat. "We need you," he said when the former prime minister finished his speech.

BANKERS' BASH

The Commonwealth Bank on Monday night celebrated the centenary of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911 that led to its creation. Guests at the dinner, in Moore Park, included the bank's board, its chief executive, Ian Narev, and recently departed chief Ralph Norris.

The CBA was secretive as to who attended the event, with a spokesman only saying it was attended by "select customers and guests". Some of the guests, according to a CBD spy, included serial company director David Gonski and Channel Ten interim chief executive Lachlan Murdoch.

CBD can only imagine what happened at the function. For instance was there a re-enactment of Labor prime minister Andrew Fisher decreeing the formation of the bank? A fashion show of tellers over the ages? A graph showing net interest margins since 1911?

Got a tip? Email srochfort@smh.com.au

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