Weekly Wrap: Playing with risk

The story of the week has to be the government’s rapidly changing deposit guarantee scheme, which undoubtedly changes the face of the investment landscape in New Zealand.

Friday, October 17th 2008, 4:20PM
One of the things depositrates.co.nz is doing is keeping tabs on which firms have applied for the scheme. A comprehensive list can be found here.

You will find that some firms have made their intentions clear while others have applied and are now waiting to see what happens. I understand applications may be granted as early as this evening. Certainly you will be seeing them early next week.

Also once the rules are a little clearer I am sure more firms will apply.

As I have noted the scheme is changing the investment landscape and taking much of the risk out of the market. It’s also forcing changes. The Debt Management Office cancelled a government bond tender this week and Suncorp has changed its mind on selling assets. All because of what the governments on both sides of the Tasman have done.

The original scheme was flawed. Its latest incarnation is much better, but I still wonder if it is the right thing to do.

While the scheme is good news for finance schemes still alive, there are plenty which are struggling. In the ward this week we have Dominion capitulating, Strategic’s rescue plan stuttering and Geneva getting into a little more difficulty.

Sticking with a similar theme – that is government interference – I have to wonder about National’s plans for the NZ Super Fund. Read Phil’s Blog for some thoughts on that.

This week we have also had a survey on KiwiSaver fund performance. The survey is a great illustration of how various asset classes have been hammered. Cash and fixed interest funds have done well, while equities and property haven’t.

To see how funds have performed we have added the full survey onto the KiwiSaver part of Good Returns. Well worth a read.

This week’s People news covers Tower and ex Tower people. The firm has a new equity analyst and its former boss has surfaced elsewhere in the industry.

Interest rates and mortgages will no doubt be in the headlines for the next week with the Reserve Bank making its next official cash rate announcement on Thursday. The Good Returns survey of economists shows that they are all unanimous there will be another cut. The magnitude is the only uncertain thing. We have predictions it will be anywhere between 50 and 100 basis points.

Our Mortgage Centre brings you an update on what is happening in this area and also news of a new lender. Meanwhile this Blog looks at what is happening with home loans and suggests we are going back to the old days.

Over in Insurance News we have AIG urging advisers not to switch their business to other carriers.

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