Su­per con­cern played down

NT News - - BUSINESS -

THE head of in­vest­ment at Aus­tralia’s big­gest su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund has called for calm in the de­bate over the forth­com­ing bank tax, say­ing the im­post will not sav­age su­per re­turns.

Aus­tralianSu­per chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer Mark De­laney says his view of the big banks has “not changed much” and they have an ap­pro­pri­ate weight­ing in the fund’s port­fo­lios. The Com­mon­wealth Bank, West­pac, Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank, ANZ and Mac­quarie will all be hit by the tax, which was un­veiled with the fed­eral Bud­get last week. It will not ap­ply to smaller banks.

While banks are dom­i­nant fix­tures of the Aus­tralian share­mar­ket, Mr De­laney noted only a quar­ter of Aus­tralianSu­per’s Bal­anced fund was de­voted to do­mes­tic equities.

With a to­tal pool for that fund of $83 bil­lion, about $20 bil­lion is in­vested in Aus­tralian stocks, with $8 bil­lion of that in the big four banks and Mac­quarie.

Aus­tralianSu­per holds between 1.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent of the stock is­sued by each of the five len­ders.

Mr De­laney cau­tioned there was still a lack of clar­ity about the likely im­pact of the tax and how it was “go­ing to be man­aged”. “And so it may be too early to work out if it will mean­ing­fully im­pact bank earn­ings,” he said.

But he noted there were many other vari­ables that would ul­ti­mately af­fect the per­for­mance of the in­dus­try, such as in­ter­est rate changes, and the broader mar­ket. “There are lots of dif­fer­ent fac-

“It may be too early to work out if it will ... im­pact bank earn­ings AUS­TRALIANSU­PER’S MARK DE­LANEY

tors which drive re­turns. There are global po­lit­i­cal fac­tors (and) eco­nomic cy­cles,” he said.

His com­ments come as the big banks con­tinue a fe­ro­cious cam­paign against the tax, putting them at odds with their smaller coun­ter­parts, who have backed it.

Bendigo and Ade­laide Bank, Sun­corp and ME, which is part owned by Aus­tralianSu­per, are among smaller banks that will not have to pay the tax.

The big banks had un­til yes­ter­day morn­ing to re­spond to the gov­ern­ment’s draft leg­is­la­tion for the so-called li­a­bil­i­ties levy, which is aimed at rais­ing $6.2 bil­lion over four years. It is due to start on July 1.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, in­dus­try lobby group the Aus­tralian Bankers’ As­so­ci­a­tion said the banks had met Trea­sury’s “tight time­frame to lodge their sub­mis­sions”.

“It is now time for the gov­ern­ment to re­veal when it will re­lease the leg­is­la­tion to the pub­lic – af­ter all, this tax will af­fect millions of Aus­tralians who own shares in banks or are bank cus­tomers,” ABA chief Anna Bligh said.

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