Interest Rates

Thursday, January 07, 2016

As it had been widely expected the RBA left interest rates on hold at its February meeting.  This marks the ninth month in a row with the cash rate remaining at 2%.
While the RBA is less upbeat on the global economic outlook, particularly for emerging countries, and has acknowledged a further slide in commodity prices and reduced appetite for risk it seems more upbeat on the Australian economy at least in terms of information released over the last few months.
Inflation continues to be seen by the RBA as remaining low and it has also acknowledged slowing property price gains in Sydney and Melbourne.
While the RBA retained an easing bias on the back of the low inflation outlook, the balancing of more positive domestic developments against recent negative global developments clearly enabled it to remain on hold for now. However, the RBA is clearly concerned about recent global and financial market developments and is waiting for more information in order to be able to judge its impact on global growth and the Australian economy.
Our view remains the RBA will cut interest rates again this year reflecting the risks around the global economy, weaker than expected commodity prices, still subdued growth in Australia at a time when the contribution from housing construction is slowing, a more dovish Fed threatening a higher Australian dollar and continued low inflation. However, this may not come till April or May.
However, whether there is another rate cut or not from the RBA, it’s hard to see rate hikes any time soon.

So the period of low interest rates – with the cash rate at a record low and bank deposit rates at their lowest since the 1950s – is set to continue.


Lobby group petition urges LIF change review

Monday, December 21, 2015


A number of life insurance advisers have joined forces to form a lobby group that is urging the Senate to review legislative changes set to take place as part of the life insurance framework (LIF).

The Life Insurance Consumer Group (LICG), formed in November, had reached well in excess of 1650 signatures on its petition in its first week seeking support from advisers.

The group has urged as many advisers as possible to access the petition online at, saying it might be the only chance to voice their disagreement before the proposed LIF legislation was put before the Senate on 4 January 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the group, NOW Financial Group director Mark Dunsford said the proposals had not been given enough thought and consumers would not win as a result, because the laws as they stood would lead to further underinsurance.

“There is no doubt both the AFA [Association of Financial Advisers] and FPA were bullied into coming to that conclusion, and [Assistant Treasurer] Kelly O’Dwyer recognises that the decision was made before her time,” he said. 


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Advisor Lobby Group to push for Senate review for LIF

Thursday, December 17, 2015




A recently formed lobby group, made up of a number of notable life insurance advisers, will push for a Senate review into the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) and supposed misrepresentations by life insurance industry bodies to the Government regarding LIF.

The lobby group – The Life Insurance Consumer Group (LICG) – is also seeking a consumer impact study conducted by an independent organisation as well as a review of the costs to consumers if commissions are heavily reduced or removed and a review of consumer outcomes from direct or group life insurance policies.

According to the group’s website it will also provide the Government with a wide ranging set of data that contradicts that presented by the FSC, life insurers and banks around the cost of advice under LIF and the impact on consumers.

Speaking on behalf of the lobby group NOW Financial Group director Mark Dunsford said the group was non-political and not aligned to any adviser association and was seeking to “push back the myths around how the debate was framed and the flaws in the outcomes of that debate,” Dunsford said.

Dunsford said the group had received widespread support from across the risk insurance advice sector but was seeking to leverage the voice of all risk advisers through a petition, and was seeking 5000 names.

The petition states that LIF will not improve the quality or affordability of life insurance advice, nor will it increase competition among insurers to create better client focused products.

It encouraged advisers who did not believe LIF was beneficial in its current form and who made up the “unheard majority” to sign the petition before the close of the submission period on the draft LIF legislation on 4 January 2016.

Dunsford said the group had some ground to make up in correcting perceptions and refocusing the LIF debate on advice and not commissions.

“The Financial Services Council (FSC) and the life insurance companies used the Trowbridge Report to shift the debate from the quality of advice identified by ASIC to remuneration,” Dunsford said.

“This has been their agenda for the past few years and they have gained traction and driven a train through a legislative gap to focus on what advisers are paid.”

The LICG was formed in November and comprised of NOW Financial Group director Mark Dunsford, Empire Risk managing director Daniel Isenhood, GJO chief executive Greg Owen, Lambert Parkhill Financial Group managing director Ron Lambert, Life Insurance Direct chief executive Russell Cain, Bourke Financial Services director David Bourke, Bombora Advice managing director Wayne Handley, In Sync Financial Services principal Paul de Grande, Foundation Life Insurance and Mortgage Broking ,managing director, Patrick McLaughlin and Joe Perri and Associates , director, Joe Perri.

In November the LICG released a survey which found the proposed consumer benefits of the LIF model were not obvious and that many risk advisers remained sceptical of such claims from the Government and the Financial Services Council.

The LICG petition can be found at

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Advisers Up In Arms Over Life Insurance Reforms

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


(LICG) is a group of advisers, business owners and industry leaders that are passionate about providing (an improving) and ensuring all Australians have access to quality, compliant and affordable Life Insurance advice.

The group with combined experience of hundreds of years, servicing well over a hundred Thousand Australians in implementing insurance advice and managing claims.

With time running out, it is imperative for our members of parliament to pause and carefully review the real and dramatic impact the current LIF proposals will have.

If you are in our industry and support what we are attempting to achieve - please visit and join our petition. 
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Many thanks

Mark Dunsford