Mr Shorten – perhaps rotate this guy to a different portfolio

In one if his more inane attempts to push the ALP’s anti-business barrow, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Spokesman for Competition and Productivity, Dr. Andrew Leigh, for a doctor he somehow is, writes in the Fairfax papers about the five faceless investors who own much of Australia’s largest companies.

You see, according to Dr. Leigh:

five investors – HSBC, JP Morgan, National Nominees, Citicorp and BNP Paribas – own a massive chunk of our listed companies.

Unfortunately for Dr. Leigh, these “five investors” are not actually investors.  They are banks, or more to the point here, they are custodians who hold assets and securities on behalf of institutional investors.  These “five investors” hold assets for organisations such as Australian Super and the Future Fund to small boutique fund managers.

Dr. Leigh further notes that:

What’s surprising about this is that many Australians probably haven’t heard of some of them.

On this he would probably be right.  Because these organisation are not investors with whom mum and dad investors and superannuants are invested.

To further demonstrate his lack of understanding, Dr. Leigh writes:

Let’s take investor HSBC, for example. In petrol retailing, it owns one-third of Caltex and one-fifth of Woolworths. In electricity, it owns one-fifth of Origin and one-fifth of AGL. In life insurance, it owns a quarter of AMP and one-fifth of ANZ. In department stores and supermarkets, it owns one-fifth of Myer, David Jones, Wesfarmers and Woolworths.

Now I don’t watch the ASX market that closely, but I don’t recall a swath of takeover bids for Caltex, Woolworths, Origin or AGL, as is required under the Corporations Act when beneficial ownership hits 20% (with some minor exceptions).  I also don’t recall seeing substantial shareholder notices issued by HSBC for any of these corporates, also as required under the ASX Listing Rules, when beneficial ownership exceeds 5%.

Ignorance of the basics of Australian capital markets and the Corporations Act is not a crime.  However, one must wonder what the Shadow Minister responsible for matters including ASIC, adds to this brief?

Perhaps it’s time for the Hon. Bill Shorten to rotate Dr. Leigh to portfolio Dr. Leigh might be more comfortable with.  With Kate Ellis’s retirement, perhaps the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development.

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75 Responses to Mr Shorten – perhaps rotate this guy to a different portfolio

  1. Chris

    Andrew, Andrew, Andrew.

  2. Andrew

    #IITADI

    Imagine if Tony A666ott did it.

  3. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Perhaps it’s time for the Hon. Bill Shorten to rotate Dr. Leigh to portfolio Dr. Leigh might be more comfortable with.

    Counting penguins at the South Pole.

  4. Julian

    He has an appalling lack of knowledge. Saw him on Sky News the other day stating that corporate taxation has no impact on companies investment decisions.

  5. Empire

    Holy shit.

    No wonder we are fucked.

    FWIW – when Costello first entered Parliament, he didn’t understand how Wholesale Sales Tax worked. I witnessed a small businessman explain it to him. At least he made some effort to educate himself.

    Leigh is just bone ignorant, but we already knew that. That Fauxfax actually published this shit is the real story here. It defies explanation.

  6. stackja

    ALP treasurers have a reputation to uphold.

  7. feelthebern

    This is a shockingly stupid article that shows inexperience.
    I can’t believe a staffer or sub editor didn’t tell him his error before it was posted online or went to print.

  8. stackja

    feelthebern – who in MSM knows any better?

  9. I am Spartacus

    This is a shockingly stupid article that shows inexperience.
    I can’t believe a staffer or sub editor didn’t tell him his error before it was posted online or went to print

    never let the facts get in the way of an agenda.

  10. Rabz

    I’m sooooo looking forward to those corrupt drooling cretins being back on the treasury benches.

    Preferably from a different country.

  11. feelthebern

    It’s like Peter Martin writing that column that stated that a person on a brick a year got 90k super guaranteed per year at the time.
    He didn’t know it capped out at 132k (that year if my memory serves me well).

  12. Boambee John

    Stephen,

    The phrase “labor moron” is an oxymoron.

  13. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I’m sooooo looking forward to those corrupt drooling cretins being back on the treasury benches.

    Preferably from a different country.

    Six months in Europe a year , residency in Vanuatu for taxation purposes, six months in the South Pacific each year…

  14. H B Bear

    Isn’t Leigh another one of Sinc’s protected species? I guess I better not call him a drooling mouth
    breather then.

  15. cynical1

    And of course the banks have a substantial share of most Australian real estate.

    Won’t someone think of the wukkas…

  16. mem

    Leigh is just bone ignorant, but we already knew that. That Fauxfax actually published this shit is the real story here. It defies explanation.

    Bet his wife pays all the bills and does all the financials. Otherwise he’d be up to his ears in debt.

  17. Dave Owen

    I thought David Jones was owned by a foreign company, possibly a South African company.

  18. feelthebern

    Dave, you are correct.

  19. H B Bear

    Fauxfacts only recently got around to boning Michael West and re-hired Our Jessica. That might give you some indication of how this ignorance is passed off as j’ism.

  20. H B Bear

    The ALP talent puddle on full display.

  21. mem

    “If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that overlapping ownership tends to end badly. Although I doubt we’ll see the rise of killer robots anytime soon, excessive market concentration means higher prices, more inequality and slower productivity growth. By lifting the lid on overlapping ownership, we can create a more prosperous and fairer society.” Quote from Andrew Leigh’s blog. What’s the man been smoking?

  22. Hydra

    I work in this shit for a living but you don’t need to to know he is an imbecile.

  23. john constantine

    Obviously all these over rich thingies that do not employ ex-labor maaaates on big money as directors and advisors must be taxed into submission.

    Given the haste with which napping nabob turnbull is handing over Australia to the filth, all financial institutions must be frantically grasping for labor and green maaaaates to employ as a bribe to the left to prove they pay respect money to Stalinists and should be the last up against the wall.

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    all financial institutions must be frantically grasping for labor and green maaaaates to employ as a bribe to the left to prove they pay respect money to Stalinists and should be the last up against the wall.

    How else do you think Anna Bligh got a job?

  25. Robber Baron

    This imbecile can only be elected in the electorate of Canberra, the stupidest electors money can buy.

  26. Philippa Martyr

    It’s so refreshing to be on a thread not spoiled by sock puppets.

    I can’t stand Andrew Leigh either. In fact, it’s in print.

  27. Sinclair Davidson

    Isn’t Leigh another one of Sinc’s protected species?

    Andrew is a good guy and I’ve known him for many years. What I dislike is gratuitous nastiness towards him. This, however, is a huge mistake on his part. Even if he didn’t know what a nominee company is (like really?) surely he has people around him who do (surely), or the op-ed editor at the SMH would ask around, “Hey guys, how come just five foreign banks own so much of the Australian economy and I’ve not heard of this before?” (no doubt Areff has views on that question).

  28. Empire

    By lifting the lid on overlapping ownership, we can create a more prosperous and fairer society.

    Severe concentration of ownership is legitimate cause for concern. Thing is, Australia doesn’t have that problem. Leigh is just making it up for propaganda purposes. It must be wilful.

    It’s been a few years, but I used to analyse the registers ASX50 companies. Interestingly, the significant trend was the growth in securities ownership by self managed super funds. The nominee and custodian accounts Leigh speaks of will include plenty of SMSF beneficial holders.

    SMSF are the enemy of the mates. Where is he going with this?

  29. Leigh Lowe

    Andrew is a good guy and I’ve known him for many years. What I dislike is gratuitous nastiness towards him.

    He is a chinless fuckwit, though.

  30. Sinclair Davidson

    He is a chinless fuckwit, though.

    Well actually he isn’t. I concede though that him being a politician doesn’t always show his talents in their best light. But he is living the dream – being a politician is what he wants to do and he is happy doing it. (I suspect the next few weeks might be a bit painful for him.)

  31. feelthebern

    Or or or…..someone wrote it on his behalf and his staff didn’t check it before that slapped his name on it and emailed it to Fairfax.
    Uni is just going back, so I reckon there’s an intern who did it.
    Good news for the intern, as long as they keep their mouth shut, they have a staffer job for life.

  32. Tim Neilson

    Sinclair Davidson
    #2326511, posted on March 14, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Sinc,he spoke at the Minerals Council tax conference last week, waxing lyrical at great length about “inequality” of income and wealth in this country without ever uttering a syllable of acknowledgement that the income and wealth has to be generated before it can be redistributed, or about whether or not the poor are actually better off in absolute terms than they were in allegedly more “equal” times.

    It is hardly “gratuitous nastiness” to point out that someone who aspires to a Treasury portfolio ought not to depend for his knowledge of the real world on what the work experience student finds in the top 20 shareholders lists in annual reports.

  33. OneWorldGovernment

    And taxation should be at 100% and the government will tell you how much you will be paid.

  34. Andrew

    What I dislike is gratuitous nastiness towards him.

    Suggestion: Don’t post to your blog such a glaring example of him being a world-class fuckwit then; exposure of such fuckwittery tends to draw unpleasant mocking.

  35. Infidel Tiger

    He also called for Abbott’s wealth tax to be kept a few days ago, so he is having a very good run.

  36. Sinclair Davidson

    Don’t post to your blog such a glaring example of him being a world-class fuckwit then

    Spartacus posted the story.

    It is hardly “gratuitous nastiness” to point out that someone who aspires to a Treasury portfolio ought not to depend for his knowledge of the real world on what the work experience student finds in the top 20 shareholders lists in annual reports.

    I agree – I was making the general point in response to comments made in the past about Andrew.

  37. Andrew

    To be fair, the mockery should be shared with another peanut named Adam Triggs, who collaborated in this self beclownment.

    (TRIGGS????)

  38. Pyrmonter

    Sinclair

    Surely this isn’t his work. Anyone with a pass grade in corporate accounting; or who’d ever read more than two Annual Reports could have pointed out the error. In which case, the greater wrong is that he isn’t supervising his own staff and protecting his own reputation. Bad in opposition, but worse if he represented (as he seemed to) one of the ALP’s better prospects as a good manager of government business.

  39. Sinclair Davidson

    Pyrmonter – yep. Either way he should know to check up on the work of underlings or activists feeding him stuff.

  40. Snoopy

    He’s not ignorant, just lazy? That’s reassuring.

  41. Phill

    Come on folks. The guy is far from stupid. He is a prime product of 20 years of leftist academic indoctrination. His “error” is not a mistake. It is classic class warfare propaganda, that will be cited by the brothers and sisters well into the future.

    Don’t believe me? You are welcome to review his CV, including papers he has written, here.

  42. Old School Conservative

    I think Phill is onto something.
    Andrew Leigh’s qualifications and fields of expertise tell me he wrote that tripe deliberately.
    The “5 investors own most of Australia” meme is coming our way.

  43. I am Spartacus

    TBF (to be fair), Leigh has written and spoken many sensible things. This effort is very poor and should have been caught before publication. However, as a an academic, he should have been more mindful of confirmation bias. But a bias is still a bias.

    If Australian business was really dominated by 5 institutional investors as suggested, holding the power he infers, things would be materially different in Australia. But this is why (partly why at least) the corporations act has takeover provisions when investors voting power (directly or indirectly) exceeds 20%.

  44. bushwalker

    According to Wikipedia, Leigh has a Ph.D. in economics and is a former Professor of Economics at ANU. Clearly investment wasn’t his field of expertise. Still, it’s a bit of an embarrassment to ANU.

  45. Tel

    Come on folks. The guy is far from stupid. He is a prime product of 20 years of leftist academic indoctrination. His “error” is not a mistake. It is classic class warfare propaganda, that will be cited by the brothers and sisters well into the future.

    That’s certainly my interpretation of the situation. He only needs to be smarter than SMH readers, and that’s already self-selected. The basic formula is like this:
    * find something other people do that you don’t like them doing
    * create a massive moral beatup over it
    * declare it a market failure, and demand government step in with interference
    * get the laws passed
    * watch as the market distortion caused by this causes other things you don’t like happening
    * blame the free market for not doing what you wanted
    * back to the start again, demanding new laws

    In this particular case, government demanded that money be taken (at gunpoint) and put into Super funds, and now some of those funds are very large, because a lot of money is involved and it built up. There are indeed problems with this, which I can go into later, but the current situation is a direct outcome of government.

    There’s literally no such thing as a “Self Managed Super Fund” because the compliance requirements are impossible for any individual to achieve. You cannot legally be your own banker for a Super fund. You are not trustworthy to plan your own future, so sayeth Big Government in Australia. Instead we have a sensible division of labour, where the big banks provide the service of achieving compliance so that they can offer a product that government will accept as a legitimate Super fund, then they give the individual as much free choice as can be allowed under that regime. With Internet banking and high quality communications services, this split management is quite achievable.

    Of course, part of that spit will be some type of trustee to hold the assets because it would be illegal for individuals to hold their own assets in their own names. Now this is being declared a problem, because the purpose is to find out how governments can grab a bigger slice as always.

  46. john constantine

    We all know that the pool of Australian super has already been spent by the State, it just has to figure out how to smooth it over with the proles when the uncashed cheques and iou’s get presented for payment.

    Their policy of mass importation of tenant-herds to stretch out the housing cycle means a massive unfunded infrastructure liability is looming.

    Watch the meme that it is only fair and equal and social justice for the five big Fatcats owning australia to pay for roads and rail and bridges and schools and hospitals.

    Once the State can rule that a certain percentage of super funds has to be spent on State projects, that is the same as the State taking the money straight up, only it is done in a way the proles can swallow.

  47. Sinclair Davidson

    Andrew Leigh has a Ph.D in government from the Harvard Kennedy School. This error hardly reflects on them or his former employer ANU. It reflects poorly on the ALP and their economics team.

  48. Entropy

    Look, he isn’t stupid.

    It’s been a few years, but I used to analyse the registers ASX50 companies. Interestingly, the significant trend was the growth in securities ownership by self managed super funds. The nominee and custodian accounts Leigh speaks of will include plenty of SMSF beneficial holders.

    SMSF are the enemy of the mates. Where is he going with this?

    I think empire is on to his real target.

    He isn’t stupid. Just venal.

  49. GP

    He only needs to be smarter than SMH readers, and that’s already self-selected.

    On the money Tel. The intended audience must be incapable – or unwilling – to understand the issue.

  50. Bear Necessities

    This comes from only selecting candidates from a shallow pool of talent (i.e. union officials, political staffers and academia) and outlook.
    The same mistake could of been made by someone in the LNP. The LNP always likes to acknowledge that its members have a broader life experience. But look at the dregs (i.e. Zimmerman in North Sydney) they are nominating and getting elected at the moment.

  51. Leigh Lowe

    Pyrmonter – yep. Either way he should know to check up on the work of underlings or activists feeding him stuff.

    The buck stops with with chinless dickhead who supposedly holds a PhD in the very subject matter he is spouting bullshit about.
    It does not lie with “underlings and activists”.
    And who selected the “underlings and activists”?

  52. Entropy

    And who selected the “underlings and activists”?

    To be fair to Leigh, not he.
    It is the relevant faction whose turn it is to select the wet nosed children foot soldiers to be advisers for that portfolio. Leigh would have very little say in it.

  53. Entropy

    In fact more i think about it. Leigh probably signed off on this either because he didn’t care, didn’t think about it, or was acting on factional command from the back room that determines policy to the advantage of the holy marriage of big union and big business.
    I am with Empire on this. SMSFs are the actual target, even if Liegh himself hadn’t thought it through. He is just the tool of the faction.

  54. dopey

    “The phrase “labor moron” is an oxymoron.” No, it’s a tautology.

  55. Stan

    So he is happy to be used as a tool of the faction, even though he knows the article is completely wrong, and pushing policies which are bad for the country. Thus a fuckwit of the first order.

  56. The BigBlueCat

    Boambee John
    #2326429, posted on March 14, 2017 at 9:11 pm
    Stephen,

    The phrase “labor moron” is an oxymoron.

    I think you mean tautology …

  57. Bruce

    “Counting penguins at the South Pole.”

    Good idea, especially as ALL of the penguins in Antarctica live some distance away, where the fishing is good.

    And make it like “Groundhog Day”, but without the happy ending.

  58. Myrddin Seren

    So I decided to see if any comments were being posted on AL’s brain fart.

    And, if yes, would it be the usual Fauxfacts Trotskyite howler monkey army demanding the execution of the kulaks and the nationalisation of everything.

    Remarkably, AL seems to have missed even his designated target audience on this one because comment after comment is schooling him on nominee companies and pointing out the error of his basic premise.

    Whoever he is floating this idea for of Da Ebil Big Investors to be taken down in the Labor government – it isn’t even passing the sniff test with their dependable fan club.

    Shorten & Co might need to go back and think a bit harder about how to maximise theft of the superannuation pool without getting called out by their own ?

  59. thefrolickingmole

    Info from huffington post on his co author Triggs.

    Adam Triggs is an economist and PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU). He is a former advisor at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and a former investigator at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    A fucking tax eater.
    Uncontaminated by having to risk anything in order to make his pile he latches onto the nearest tax-teat and burrows in.

  60. Boambee John

    dopey at 0916,

    I stand corrected!

  61. Boambee John

    And BigBlueCat.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (to show that I do still remember fragments of my education).

  62. Ray

    Sinclair

    Leigh may well have a Phd in Government and this certainly does not reflect badly on either the Kenndy School or ANU. However, what does reflect poorly on the Crawford School of Public Policy is that they allowed Leigh to give himself the title of Professor of Economics.

    The man is not an economist, his economics training is limited to two semester courses on economics as part of his Masters degree from the Kennedy School and anyone who has had the misfortune to read one of his alleged economics tracts will understand instantly that his understanding of even basic economics is woeful.

    It is a shame that you allow your personal involvement with Leigh to take precedence over any objective analysis of his worth.

  63. DaveR

    Having read this article I have gone and read some more utterances from Dr Leigh.

    All I can say is that it is absolutely amazing that this person is put anywhere near a financial responsibility or a minisistry.

  64. Chris

    The assessment that this was likely to be shite inflicted on him by da bruvvers for their next foray into turning other people’s money into theirs, is probably good.
    But he was perfectly effective at beclowning himself for political masters or moral status display before he stood for Parliament.

  65. H B Bear

    The phrase “labor moron” is an oxymoron.
    I think you mean tautology …

    The labour movement however is perfectly apt.

  66. Up The Workers!

    I was about to suggest that Bull Shitten appoint him as “Shadow Minister for Applied Stupidity”.

    But it turns out he already HAS 47 of those.

  67. Empire GTHO Phase III

    In fact more i think about it. Leigh probably signed off on this either because he didn’t care, didn’t think about it, or was acting on factional command from the back room that determines policy to the advantage of the holy marriage of big union and big business.
    I am with Empire on this. SMSFs are the actual target, even if Leigh himself hadn’t thought it through. He is just the tool of the faction

    Entropy

    I’m rethinking this. Going back to old references last night, the growth in SMSF was typically “name on register” either direct or broker wrap accounts. No doubt there are SMSF under some of the big nominees, but industry and retail super funds will all be under the nominees. Also sitting under the nominees will be a truckload of offshore investors (hedge funds, wealthy individuals and foreign companies).

    Underlying beneficial holders must be disclosed under law, but one needs to lodge a 6071A (ASIC fee $633 – an issue I’ll tackle another time). Listed companies of course use these disclosure requests all the time to understand who their real owners are for investor relations purposes. They are also used where a sneaky investor is trying to obscure movement on a register before the 5% substantial shareholder threshold is reached and they must reveal themselves.

    I wonder if Leigh’s propaganda piece is in someway related to multinationals and wealthy individuals. Perhaps the intent here is to unlock information on beneficial ownership without the time and cost. Maybe the intention is to mandate it and push the cost on the listed entity (shareholders pay) so they can use the information to attack their perceived enemies? Local mates could still hide behind a corporate veil with shelf company fronts as legal and beneficial owners. Nobody is going to pay for a director’s extract of every No 123 P/L, but we all know who Apple Inc is and those in the know – the private investment vehicles of the big local players.

    Given the qualifications of the authors and their access to advisers, I cannot believe publication was an accident. There must be an agenda.

  68. Squirrel

    This piffle from Leigh is part of Labor’s Magic Pudding fiscal mythology – i.e. the naughtiness and shenanigans of the “big end of town” and multinationals is the only reason why we can’t have ever-increasing government spending at a rate which far exceeds any real growth in the economy.

  69. Bear Necessities

    If you have a choice between a stuff up and a conspiracy then choose the stuff up all the time.

    In other words he didn’t know what he was writing about.

  70. DMS

    Complete and utter knobwit – I have been involved in investor relations in several publicly listed companies. The smallest “mom and pop” retail investor knows this. To make such a fundamental error, and compound it thereby demonstrating it was not just a slip, warrants sacking.

    Also, how did it get published? The whole food chain in this warrants looking at.

  71. DMS

    Plus, I like the word “warrants”

  72. The BigBlueCat

    Boambee John
    #2326818, posted on March 15, 2017 at 10:28 am
    And BigBlueCat.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (to show that I do still remember fragments of my education).

    You are forgiven. See how tolerant I can be????

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