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Strategy

Trust alternatives after 1 July super changes
Given the impending superannuation changes, it’s worth taking a fresh look at estate and superannuation succession planning arrangements.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare for retirement
Self-directed investors value being able to share ideas and explore regulatory changes, which is one of the reasons AMP Capital has established its SMSF Community.
Catch-up contribution measure brings new opportunity
Soon, a new measure will be in place to help boost retirement savings.
New regulations may make SMSFs dearer but better run
A self-managed super fund expert says the upcoming removal of a rule that allows accountants to provide certain simple advice to self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors may make running a fund more costly.
The ins and outs of the in-house asset rules – an exercise in sorting out forests and trees
One way of maximising the overall tax advantages provided by superannuation concessions is to use the investment rules, particularly the in-house assets rule, in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act (SIS Act) as effectively as possible.
Is the super withdrawal and re-contribution strategy over?
The advantages of using re-contributions to minimise taxable components within super will dry up after 1 July 2017, but those in a position to make the most of it now, should consider seeking advice and doing so.
New doors opening from 1 July
From 1 July 2017 onwards new superannuation measures will make it easier to save for retirement, particularly for those who’ve struggled to contribute in the past.
Making sense of new transition to retirement rules
Here we examine the potential impact for SMSF investors of the new rules around transition to retirement (TTR) pensions which are changing from 1 July.
What to consider when investing in derivatives
The role derivatives can play in a portfolio and the risks that should be considered when investing in them.
Three top SMSF compliance tips for 2017
With so many new rules, the risk of non-compliance is higher. So here are three tips to keep in mind to ensure your fund stays inside the rules next year and beyond.
2017 investment themes
Here, we explore some ideas self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors might take into consideration for 2017.
5 tips for a top SMSF in 2017
Here are five top tips for ensuring your SMSF is in the best shape it can possibly be in 2017.
SMSFs and the pension cap: a case study
Four questions every SMSF member with large balances should be asking in the run up to 30 June 2017. There’s enough here to warn not to leave understanding the rules until the last minute.
Ten ways to generate new investment ideas
Investors now have an unprecedented amount of information available to them to expand their knowledge base.
Eight key features of successful companies
There’s a lot more to identifying great small companies than the financials, and it pays to lift the lid on the underlying characteristics of the best businesses, including the people who run them.
Part 2: Building a better retirement nest egg: factors that influence retirement savings
This is the second in a two-part article series that examines the factors that contribute to building retirement savings.
Strategies for managing the new non-concessional caps
Many SMSF members are now re-thinking some of their investment strategies.
Building a better retirement nest egg: Part 1 - Factors that influence retirement savings
In 1970 the average person in the OECD spent two years in retirement. By 2012 this figure had increased to 15 years. Many workers in the developed world now spend as much of their life out of the workforce as they do in it. Given this change, saving enough for retirement is a pressing global issue.
What should you do if you receive a windfall?
Many people at some point in their life receive a windfall, perhaps from an inheritance, a redundancy payment or even a Lotto win.
When SMSF members head for the exit
We hear a lot about establishing an SMSF, but not much about exiting one. What are the options for SMSF members when the structure is no longer appropriate as a superannuation vehicle?
Don’t let anchoring lower your returns
In recent times investors have become much more aware of how their behaviours affect the way they invest. It’s become clear that certain biases affect our investment choices. Being aware of these biases is one way to reduce any potential negative impact they may have.
The role of alternatives in multi-asset portfolios
Alternative investments access a broader universe of assets that are outside traditional asset classes such as equities and bonds. These investments can include direct assets, such as private equity, real estate and agriculture.
Fixed interest and cash: what's the right approach to asset allocation?
With interest rates at record lows, but ongoing volatility in financial markets, deciding how to allocate funds to cash and fixed interest investments can be a tricky process for SMSF investors.
7 golden rules for SMSF investors to keep in mind
Investing during times of market stress and volatility can be difficult. For this reason it’s useful for SMSF investors to keep a key set of things – call them rules – in mind.
Asset allocation: insights from our expert
Asset allocation is one of the most important functions a SMSF trustee performs.
Three diversification mistakes – and how to avoid them
It’s important to understand the common mistakes investors make around true diversification, and what they can to address them.
How family trusts and SMSFs work together
Family trusts have come back onto the radar of SMSFs following the recent budget announcements that limit the amount of money that can be contributed to a super fund and still receive preferential tax treatment.
SMSF and death benefits: what are the rules?
There are strict rules that apply when one member of a SMSF dies, and it’s important to understand what these are if you are a member of an SMSF.
Market winners outperform losers again
In this update of the ‘winners versus losers’ investment hypothesis, momentum is the winner – again. It’s only a ‘paper’ portfolio but it suggests consistent behavioural biases among investors.
How to prepare for an ATO audit
Since 1 July 2014, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has had enhanced powers to penalise SMSF trustees whose funds are found to breach regulations that relate to these structures.
Ensuring your SMSF can meet your cash flow needs in retirement
Cash is king in every context, and none more so than in the superannuation environment when it’s the lifeblood of every retiree’s post-work income.
How to increase the diversification of your SMSF
SMSFs are slowly becoming more diversified, but there is still substantial work to do before most are genuinely diversified, as the ATO’s figures show.
The role of alternatives in an SMSF
One broad asset class that has received a substantial amount of attention ever since the financial crisis of 2007/2008 is alternatives.
How to take advantage of market volatility in your SMSF
With volatility becoming an ongoing feature of markets, its important not to be fearful of it and instead embrace volatility by conditioning yourself to it from the outset.
The case for dynamic asset allocation in a low-return world: part 2
A key lesson from the GFC is just how important having a flexible asset allocation is to investment risk and returns.
The case for dynamic asset allocation in a low-return world: part 1
The financial crisis of 2007/2008 focused attention on traditional approaches to asset allocation and portfolio construction.
Managing your SMSF in the current regulatory environment
There was a raft of announcements at the May federal budget that could impact the SMSF sector should the Senate pass these proposals later this year.
Banks adjust to new operating environment
For many SMSF investors, local banks form an important part of their investment portfolio. While banks have delivered strong performance and good dividends in the past, many of the variables that impact their earnings have changed in recent years.
Building a defensive component for your SMSF portfolio
When financial markets are volatile a defensive component of an investment portfolio becomes especially important.
How to simplify management of your SMSF
Running a self-managed super fund does not have to be complex as long as the trustees ensure at the outset the structure is set up in the most streamlined way possible.
10 factors to watch when buying expensive shares
Value investors often shun expensive shares with high price to earnings ratios, only to watch prices continue to push ahead. What should investors look for to avoid missing these opportunities?
Decision time for SMSFs on proposed super changes
If proposed super changes are enacted many SMSFs may need to reconsider which method they use for claiming exempt current pension income.
Using managed funds to express your investment views
How investors might choose to use managed funds in their SMSF portfolio.
Cash is king when the market holds the aces
Cash gives options over future lower prices, and it avoids the risk of permanent capital loss. But it comes with another risk, the loss of purchasing power, and is not a good long-term investment.
Will roboadvice exterminate traditional advisers?
Roboadvice will increase the size of the advice market and bring vital tools to financial advisers, and while face-to-face advice will always have a role, some rationalisation will occur within the industry.
Educating all members of an SMSF
Tips for trustees to ensure all members of their SMSF are fully engaged.
10 hints on realising capital losses for EOFY
Anyone with capital gains from property or shares should scan the rest of their portfolio for possible offsetting capital losses, always being wary of the ATO’s wash sale provisions.
How do I drive income with my SMSF?
Income-producing investments for SMSF trustees to consider.
How do I devise my SMSF investment strategy?
An SMSF’s investment strategy is the backbone of the fund. Without one, the trustees won’t know what to invest in and the fund will have no way of meeting its investment goal.
SMSF assets will not need segregating
SMSFs transferring funds to a tax-free pension account under the proposed cap of $1.6 million will not need to sell or segregate assets from an accumulation account for the same member.
Term deposits: safe or risky for SMSF investors?
Bank term deposit rates are set to remain lower for longer so it makes sense to continue to look elsewhere for income.
What to consider when planning your retirement goals
A retirement goal sets out when you plan to retire, how much you plan to have when you retire, and what standard of living that will enable you to achieve.
4 common SMSF mistakes and how to avoid them
Running a self-managed super fund (SMSF) can be complex and time-consuming, especially given the raft of regulations that apply to SMSF funds.
Federal Budget Technical Briefing – what you need to know
Last night’s Federal Budget contained a number of proposals that will impact SMSF trustees
Budget implications for SMSFs
It promised to be an eventful night for the superannuation industry and last night’s Federal Budget didn’t disappoint, with a number of important changes being announced to the superannuation tax concessions.
What’s your risk profile?
The importance of understanding your risk profile.
2 things you need to know about asset allocation
Two important variables when it comes to asset allocation are the time horizon and risk appetite of SMSF investors
What are my responsibilities as a trustee?
An interview with SMSF trustee P. Reed
A tax-effective complement to super
Superannuation’s current tax benefits are far from certain given the government’s need for more revenue. Changes are likely to increase the competitiveness of investment bonds (sometimes called insurance bonds).
Dividends: more is less, less is more
While investors like receiving healthy dividends, it’s money that the company can then no longer use for capital growth. Less can really be more if there are better growth prospects with lower dividends.
Are you ignoring the advantages of a corporate trustee structure?
A corporate trustee structure may offer SMSFs greater certainty than an individual structure.
SMSFs need care dealing with related parties
Transacting with related parties within an SMSF needs careful attention to avoid contravening the law. It can be tricky working out who is a related party, but doing everything at arm’s length is a good start.
I am hot! And I am bothered!
As interest in mortgage funds looks to grow, are investors considering the risk of illiquidity and the importance of time horizon?
Investing in the best long-term founders
The success of companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Google is a result of a talented and dedicated founder leading the way. Their long-term vision drives innovation and pushes past set-backs along the way.
Tell us what you think
As part of our continued efforts to bring you new insights, tools and products, we are exploring a number of new ideas. Here is your chance to have a say.
In share investing, perception is reality
The problem with successful long-term investing is the constant availability of financial data, media commentary, and the ease with which a portfolio can be traded. That’s where a change in perception can help.
Managing portfolio ‘tail risk’: some common pitfalls
Fundamental risk overlay (FaR) helps manage tail risk in portfolio returns
Oh dear, not another glitch with borrowing in SMSFs
Purchasing shares for your SMSF under a highly-leveraged Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement should take into account the ATO’s 45-day rule, or risk losing the imputation credits.
Understanding ASX market trading periods
Many people get confused when it comes to the market trading periods that exist beyond the official ‘opening’ and closing’ times of the ASX
The story of your life viewed through your SMSF
Your SMSF story reflects your life’s journey, and real people telling real stories encourage the popularity of this super structure. It’s something the retail and industry funds have struggled with.
SMSFs need to make more informed investment decisions
A well-informed and strategic approach to selecting active managers often delivers an attractive payoff
Is there a future for active management?
Changing market dynamics have created both challenges and opportunities for active managers.
What to do with your equity portfolio in 2016
Bottom line is to invest in strong businesses and be patient. if you ignore everything else in 2016 and you should do well over the long run
A lifetime of investing insights
Looking back over the last quarter of a century, the main theme – despite the enormous changes during the period – has been history repeating itself
SMSF calendar of key lodgement dates
In this article, we highlight some of the key lodgement dates and major obligations for self-managed super funds for the balance of this financial year.
What’s your ‘super’ purpose?
One problem with defining a single and universal purpose of superannuation is that people have contributed to super for years, even decades, with different ideas and intentions.
Take care when assisting parents financially
Many children have more money than their parents ever had, but when providing financial assistance, consider all possible scenarios and document intentions to avoid pain if relationships deteriorate.
4 things to look for in a compliance provider
Your ideal provider will depend on your fund and the other experts you already have on your team.
Avoid short-termism: Top tip for SMSF investors
Take a long-term approach
Importance of updating your SMSF Trust Deed
Your SMSF Trust Deed is an important document, governing what the trustees are allowed to do. As superannuation laws change, so too must the Trust Deed, or you risk having a non-compliant fund on your hands.
How to drive real returns
Today’s investment backdrop is dominated by low bond yields and sluggish growth. In this article, we discuss how investors can materially improve the potential for superior return outcomes.
Long-term investing: the destination is better than the journey
One of the key elements of successful investing is patience
5 steps to an easier SMSF
Is the thought of your next SMSF annual audit filling you with dread? Take the pain out of the process with these five simple steps.
Diversification is the foundation of a solid portfolio
A quick and simple demonstration of how diversification reduces the volatility of returns, which should be of interest to investors concerned about capital preservation nearing retirement.
Anchoring holds back your investing
Anchoring refers to a common human tendency to make judgements based on the first piece of information received. In relation to investing, it makes us focus on irrelevant factors when making decisions to buy or sell equities.
Is your SMSF protecting your assets?
Most of us choose to set up an SMSF so we can take control of our superannuation. But did you realise your fund can also play a vital role in protecting your hard-earned assets?
Dealing with time zones when pricing global ETFs
When Exchange Traded Products that track international markets are priced on the ASX, the closing price of the underlying offshore market often varies from the opening price here.
Retirement: Making income the outcome
To give superannuation the best chance of providing the desired retirement income, it makes sense to manage for the relevant risks over time and protect investments from inflation.
6 SMSF compliance checks: should you go it alone?
SMSF trustees have six core responsibilities when it comes to compliance.
2 major changes affecting SMSFs
The SMSF market is facing two important changes: AFSL requirements for accountants who advise SMSF clients and the ATO closing a loophole on interest-free loans provided to SMSFs by its members.
3 tips for investing in the current market
Remain calm but to continue to build portfolio defences.
Busting tax myths for better reform
A look at some misconceptions around superannuation, negative gearing and capital gains tax and suggested ways to make our tax system fairer through better tax reform. It’s a debate we need to have.
How safe is my super from rule changes?
After a strong run for house prices, changes in bank and regulatory policies will take some steam out of the market. For the longer term good of the market, it may be better to have a pause while fundamental values catch up.
The biggest rort of all
Market performance and outperformance can come from many sources, but the main thing to watch for is that you’re not paying high ‘alpha’ fees simply to achieve market ‘beta’ returns.
5 tips to help your retirement savings last the distance
Ensure that your portfolio continues to grow in retirement.
Making sense of stock recommendations
Financial information comes from many different sources, with one often contradicting another. Be selective with the investment newsletters you receive to ensure they align with your investment style and goals.
Tips for a smooth SMSF audit
If your SMSF financial statement is found to be in breach, there’s no need to panic. This article discusses what happens during an audit and provides tips to help the process run smoothly.
4 key thematic investments to follow
Thematic investing is all about tailoring your portfolio to suit the trends that resonate at an individual level. This article discusses this investment concept and four of the themes currently trending.
How to maintain your lifestyle in retirement
There is a lot to consider when it comes to calculating how much you’ll need to cover your lifestyle in retirement.
What really drives returns?
Asset allocation determines the bulk of investment outcomes.
Why it pays to start investing early
Deciding which assets to invest in is never easy. We share some fundamental principles that will help you make successful choices when investing for the long term.
Don’t fall for these five SMSF myths
If you’re thinking of setting up an SMSF or already running one, you’ve probably heard these common SMSF myths. It’s time to set the record straight.
SMSFs investing in overseas real estate
While it is possible for an SMSF to invest in overseas real estate, staying on the right side of the superannuation law and regulations in the foreign country may be more trouble than it’s worth.
High Net Worth and Family Office investment practices - what makes them different?
In contrast to the way institutions make investment decisions, family offices and high net worth investors display high levels of engagement and often have their unique non-financial objectives to satisfy.
The world changes, then stays the same
The investment landscape might have changed dramatically over the past 25 years, but SMSF investors can still rely on many of the same principles from the past to make sound investment decisions in the present.
How are the returns on your equity?
An important ratio for analysing companies is the ‘return on equity’. While it may seem to be a simple measure of the earning power of a business, it can tell much more about how a business is truly performing.
Three rules to invest by
Here are three simple investment rules that should see you through the volatile times, or indeed all times. For SMSF investors, it’s a good idea to have a plan, and a portfolio that suits you.
Lifecycle funds increase super engagement
Engaging people with their superannuation is the holy grail for the wealth management industry. Lifecycle funds can help take the customer on a long term journey provided the communication is good.
Why global? More choice and cheaper pizza
Investing in global opportunities allows a portfolio to benefit from trends and industries that are not available in Australia, and even when a company is listed here, it may be cheaper overseas.
Are you benefiting from insurance in super?
Holding insurance inside superannuation can be very tax effective – primarily due to the various concessions available when making superannuation contributions.
Impact investing: wealth creation with a social return
Impact investing is a growing field that is helping to address many of society’s most pressing challenges. It aims to achieve a financial return, as well as positive social, cultural or environmental impacts.
Lessons in value over growth shares
If you had to choose between investing in the bright future of a high-tech, disruptive stock or a consistent, old-economy stock, which would you prefer? It comes down to what you expect in return.
Are you spending your life well?
The last major stage of life is a chance to do something we are passionate about. In ‘elderhood’ (post-adulthood) we have the time and relative freedom to make more choices, for as long as our health allows.
4 tactics to build an investment portfolio that supports your retirement wishes
Learn strategies to help you focus on long-term wealth accumulation, so you can fund your aspirations for retirement.
Company share price falls – buying opportunity for investors
Long term investors look forward to market-wide falls because good companies are sold off along with the rest. It gives a chance to buy into companies that were previously considered too expensive.
Do you know when to buy and sell shares?
Once you have formed a view on the intrinsic value of a company, you can cut through the noise of fashion and sentiment to strengthen your portfolio, buying shares when undervalued and perhaps selling when overpriced.
What does the current yield curve tell us?
A range of factors determine interest rates, and the yield curve reflects expectations of the future. Even if interest rates looks low, waiting to invest is attempting to outguess the market.
High yielding stocks – no silver bullet for retirement plans
High yielding stocks are often seen as the silver bullet for retirement plans. But in many circumstances the focus on income overlooks the need to consider return and risk in any investment decision.
4 investment principles for dynamic asset allocation
Principles that have passed the test of time to help you make investment decisions under a dynamic asset allocation approach.
Is bank bias worth the risk?
The Big 4 banks make up nearly 30% of the Australian share index – are you overexposed? Find out what the risks are and steps to address risk concentration.
Corporate bonds – the right defensive play?
Corporate bonds play an important defensive role in an investment portfolio.
Negative gearing review
The majority of Australians using negative gearing earn less than $80,000 a year, and it’s part of a long term wealth creation strategy that should be encouraged, especially with such uncertainty about pensions and super.
ATO’s SuperStream is making super contributions simple
For small employers (19 or fewer employees), 1 July 2015 marked the start of SuperStream. Although you have until 30 June 2016 to make the change, you should start preparing now.
What constitutes a diversified investment portfolio?
As SMSF investors have unique investment needs, the mix of assets they hold in their investment portfolio will determine whether these needs are met.
The benefits of low turnover for after-tax outcomes
In Australia, fund manager performance is most often assessed on pre-tax returns. But a low portfolio turnover can potentially provide better after-tax returns relative to a high turnover actively managed fund.
5 tips to transition your investment strategy for retirement
Some guidelines to keep in mind when considering your retirement investment strategy.
Retirement income products – what’s ideal?
The superannuation industry has grappled with how to offer attractive retirement solutions, but lessons from overseas suggest some form of risk sharing to cover variable life expectancy will be needed.
3 tips for investing in the new financial year
Identify your strategy and stick with it
Do franking credits matter?
Imputation is seen as a costly tax break for domestic shareholders with minimal associated benefits for the overall economy, but any changes to the system should consider some broader consequences.
Understanding foreign exchange risk
Investing in foreign assets brings with it foreign currency exposure. Your return not only depends on the performance of the asset but on changes in the exchange rate, which can work against you or for you.
The importance of your personal credit report
Understanding what information is held on a consumer’s credit report can provide a pathway for negotiating better credit terms, whether or not a person has a strong credit history.
Where to for super? David Murray at the Retirement Incomes Forum
The Sustainable Retirement Incomes Forum produced much lively debate and a focus on superannuation providing income in retirement and not wealth accumulation.
Survey of attitudes to taxing pension earnings
A survey of high net worth people showed many were willing to accept such a policy, but not without a healthy level of qualification.
Making the most of tax loss selling
As we approach the end of the financial year, don’t put off selling the chronic under-performers that are weighing you and your investment portfolio down.
Top 10 hints for SMSF trustees before 30 June
As 30th of June approaches there are many things SMSF trustees should consider to make the most of their SMSF.
The need for retirement income reform
The decision by the Hawke-Keating Government to introduce the superannuation system was visionary.
What exactly is the ATO’s role in SMSFs?
In 1999 the regulation of SMSFs was moved from the Superannuation and Insurance Commission (subsequently APRA) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Be clear on investment goals
Retirees concerned about the latest cut to the official cash rate need to clearly identify their investment goals.
SMSF trustees have longer lives and more certainty
One of the greatest risks facing retirees today is the uncertainty over how long they might live.
Low rates and the equity risk premium
Over the course of the past year, RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens has bemoaned the low level of entrepreneurial risk-taking across Australia’s corporate sector and implored businesses to invest for future growth prospects.
Disruptive technology in banking
While banks have been focussing on getting ready for Basel 3 and dealing with legacy legal issues from the Global Financial Crisis, there has been a seismic shift happening under their noses.
Value of tax-aware investment management
To mark the launch of the S&P/ASX Franking Credit Adjusted Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices recently held a series of panel discussions on tax-aware investment management (TAIM).
Retirement catches most people unplanned
Few issues in retirement planning have received more attention in recent years than life expectancy and longevity. Most people can expect to live to 90 or 100 years, which could mean 30 years in retirement, financed by either a meagre government pension or personal resources.
Income-seekers: these ‘myths’ could come back to haunt you
It’s late in a decades-long bond rally, and it’s safe to say that the current, ultra-low interest rate environment is messing with our heads.
Collectable and personal use assets in SMSFs
Did your SMSF purchase fine wine, a vintage car, a jet ski, or artwork prior to 1 July 2011?
The Ten Commandments of Transformation
If Heaven had been an investment bank...
6 things to consider: investing for retirement
Many people aged between 50 and 65 are uncertain about being able to cover living expenses in retirement. Some will choose to extend their work years while others may need to accept lower than desired living standards in retirement.
How to choose the right global equities
The Australian Treasury’s 2015 Intergenerational Report released a few weeks ago makes for mixed reading. Australians are likely to live longer, which is good news. But this also means they will need more income for a longer retirement, which can be challenging.
Corporate governance: 6 themes that SMSF investors should know about
AMP Capital has long been a pioneer in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) space. Our latest insights are presented in the March 2015 corporate governance report, which is now available.
This is mean (-reverting that is)
Fundamentals might not be making a lot of sense right now, but sooner or later mean reversion will kick in. Nobody knows the timing but you should be standing near the exit doors to take advantage of it.
Timeless investing: tools to help you stay focused on your investment strategy
Given the continued volatility in investment markets, it’s no wonder some investors develop mixed feelings about investing in shares.
Where to put your money these days
Investment conditions across all asset classes are especially challenging at the moment, with investors struggling to find attractive yields or capital appreciation while managing risk.
SMSFs drop the ball on risk in asset allocation
Bonds have the most predictable returns of any asset class, yet they are often maligned and misunderstood by market commentators who call them risky. Follow the 13-year life of this April 2015 bond and decide for yourself.
Can an SMSF run a business?
It’s tempting for an SMSF trustee to try to offset capital losses from share sales against other income by becoming a share trading business. It’s not easy to satisfy the provisions of superannuation law.
Is this the end of the traditional term deposit?
A recent change to banking regulation has significant implications for term deposits. With 31+ day break or notice clauses becoming more common, a large difference in deposit rates is expected.
Searching for yield to pay the bills
Whilst the latest cut in the target cash rate to 2.25% is a positive move for equity investors, it’s a negative for savers, especially retirees living off the income generated by their term deposits.
Squeezing blood from a stone
We question whether mining companies are in a position to produce a steady stream of dividends.
Investing and bike riding share similar cycles
Road cycling has an enthusiastic following among the corporate set, particularly within the investment community. Investing and cycling have much in common, especially after sitting in the saddle for a few days.
Retirement spending: set the bar lower
Lower spending strategies and the right investment options are crucial to giving superannuation members the best chance of making their super last for an average 25 year retirement.
Tax paid by your SMSF can be returned to your dependants
How would you like the tax paid by your SMSF to be returned to your dependants upon your death? In some cases, an anti-detriment payment can make it possible.
A beginner’s guide to peer to peer lending
Advances in technology have allowed peer to peer lending to thrive, offering credit to more potential borrowers at lower interest rates than those offered by banks. How does it work and will it last?
The opportunity cost of low fee structures
Beware the investor who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. While fees are important, fund managers should ultimately be evaluated based on their ability to add value to a portfolio.
Capital management techniques in LICs
Many capital management techniques are used by LICs in an attempt to narrow or eliminate the discount at which the price trades relative to net tangible assets – all with varying success.
Why long term investing is not easy
Long term investing makes sense for the majority of investors who have time on their side, but it isn’t always easy. Unexpected events will test your resolve so it’s important to know how to improve your chances
How exposed are you to Australian banks?
Changes arising from the Financial System Inquiry are designed to safeguard depositors and taxpayers in the event of financial distress. However, the additional capital requirements for banks, including increased loss-absorbing hybrid capital, could adversely impact future cashflows investors could expect from banks.
Thematic investing - an alternative to benchmarks?
In today’s financial markets there is perhaps too much information, too much choice, too much opportunity, and unfortunately too many pitfalls. Cutting through all the conflicting opinion and advice can be hard work and requires a lot of discipline
Keep your investments on track this new year
Attitudes towards investing are changing. There is a reduced focus on high returns and star managers. Investors are increasingly looking for confidence that they have the appropriate strategies to help them meet their personal objectives.
The ‘big question’ for asset allocation
The holiday season provides a rare opportunity to ponder the ‘big questions’ in life. For this investment professional, it’s the chance to think about the one ‘big question’ that has fascinated and puzzled him for 30 years.
Benefits of long term investing
Part two in the series on long term investing sets out its advantages and the associated strategies available. Long term investing is not easy, but one rather distinct advantage is the prevalence of short term investors.
Take no income from the best companies
Take Australia’s largest generational cohort, the baby boomers – all desperate for income – and then feed them some of the lowest interest rates on their cash in history. Before doing that, engineer a stock market crash, just a few years earlier, ensuring they have a disproportionately large amount of their remaining wealth sitting in said cash.
Currency hedging for international equity portfolios
With recent volatility in the value of the Australian dollar, investor attention is drawn to the topic of currency hedging. What impact does currency have on an international equity portfolio for an Australian investor?
Longevity risk solutions for retirees
The FSI’s Interim Report observed that the retirement phase of super-annuation is underdeveloped and does not meet the risk management needs of many retirees. The most difficult of these risks to manage is longevity.
What is a ‘long-term investor’?
Being a long-term investor isn’t always about holding securities for a long time. It’s more about being able to make investment decisions that optimise the long-term result.
The Yin and Yang of retirement income philosophies
In the world of retirement income planning, there are two major opposing schools of thought: probability-based and safety-first. Understanding their distinctions is important in achieving the best outcomes.
Culture and competitive advantage
In a good company, culture drives the businesses strategy. It guides the way employees work together. And ultimately, culture shapes the type of experience a firm delivers to its employees and clients.
Keeping track of ‘superannuation interest’ is critical
Keeping track of each superannuation interest may be a nightmare for some accountants, financial planners and DIY clients, but failure to do the right thing may lead to catastrophe for the client or their dependants.
Making your SMSF business a saleable practice
With the advent of new licencing rules and the focus on the rapid growth of SMSF’s, many accounting and planning firms are considering what their involvement should be in the SMSF space.
Robert Merton on retirement incomes and Jane Austen
Nobel laureate Robert Merton is on a global crusade.
Where to for Australia’s discretionary retailers?
"The consumer's dormant animal spirits and intense retail competition (particularly from e-tailers) are reflected in the fact that sell-side analysts have not lifted their EPS projections for the discretionary retail sector for over four years now."
Set yourself to benefit from compounding
If you get onto the compounding bandwagon from a young age, the balance of your superannuation, as well as other savings, come retirement will astound you. It’s a shame more people aren’t maximising the opportunit
Good active managers are hard to identify
The SPIVA Australia Scorecard measures the performance of actively-managed funds compared with the relevant S&P indexes. Results from the most recent Scorecard are not pretty for active managers.
There’s more to risk aversion than most planners realise
Financial risk aversion is usually measured via a questionnaire compiled by an adviser, which provides a one-dimensional numerical measure. But this does not cover all there is to learn about a client’s aversion to risk.
Searching for the post retirement silver bullet
The ideal post retirement product for many combines capital protection with the potential for growth, without high fees and capital charges. The search for the silver bullet goes on.
The financial risks of fossil fuel investments
Looking at the big picture, the world will gradually move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Progress will be slow and timing uncertain, but investments will need to adapt to the change in energy usage.
How do you change a two-member SMSF?
The majority of SMSFs have just two members, typically husband-wife. One of the most common problems with an SMSF is what happens if one member dies or becomes incapacitated.
Retirement is not for bludgers
With years in retirement increasing and the tendency of modern retirees to be fitter and healthier, we find there’s more to life than sitting back and watching the world go by. In fact, it’s almost impossible.
Investing in car spaces? Park that idea
When the NSW Government announced some apartments will no longer be required to have car spaces, real estate agents predicted rising prices for existing spots. They overlooked one nasty little cost for investors.
The case for equities in retirement
As more people live longer in retirement, income from super and other assets needs to stretch further to ensure a comfortable lifestyle. History makes a strong case for some allocation to equities despite the volatility.
Building more relevant Australian share portfolios
Australian index-based equity portfolios are often concentrated by company and sector. Some other goal-based strategies might be a better fit for your investments but clients and advisers will need to drive this change.
AMP Capital adds Global Infrastructure to SMSF Suite
AMP Capital adds Global Infrastructure to SMSF Suite
Does your will treat your super fairly?
When writing your will, take care to understand the tax consequences of the benefits paid to your beneficiaries, especially when a life policy is involved. Your estate could be left with a hefty tax bill.
The guide to offshore investing
Australia has had the best performing stock market in the world over the last decade. Over the next decade it may not be as easy to generate such strong returns.
Where are fund managers are seeing strength or weakness?
Following the recent corporate reporting season we asked four fund managers to share some of the insights they observed from the reports of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Specifically, we were interested in finding out if they were observing specific pockets of strength or weakness in the domestic economy. These are their responses…
Why we can’t resist tactical asset allocation
A combination of confidence in one’s own ability to read the market and the excellent rewards for correct predicting sees many investors employing tactical asset allocation strategies. But is it a waste of time?
Cheap stocks: how to find them and how to buy them
It’s surprising to learn that only 25% of Australian listed companies are actually profitable. Whether you favour fundamental or technical analysis or both, how do you find and invest in cheap, good quality companies?
Tax and the financial planning process
A perfect tax system would not affect how people save and invest, but in practice, there are many ways that Australia’s tax system influences investor behaviour.
Five retirement myths doing more harm than good
Australia’s super industry has confused or complicated the primary purpose of providing for retirement by fostering these five retirement myths. While some are based on truths, others are not worth believing
Superannuation and terminal illness, disability and death
The benefits received from super if premature death, terminal illness or permanent injury prevent you or your spouse from working to retirement age vary in their conditions and taxation, so it’s good to be informed early
What types of people should manage your money?
Different styles of investing are suited to different types of people. Knowing which style is best suited to your character and temperament can make a big difference to your investment outcomes.
What makes a company attractive?
While fund managers are reluctant to reveal their newly-found ‘top picks’ to the public, there is an underlying process which can be used to identify an attractive company to invest in.
There’s growth, and then there’s growth
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it necessarily a duck? That’s the mindset that is sometimes required to understand the revenue growth numbers being reported by companies at this time of year.
Why the FSI should interest SMSF members
Every SMSF owner should take an interest in David Murray’s Financial System Inquiry because it asks some fundamental questions including issues around limitations, tax breaks, contribution limits and more.
Watch those unexercised options in LICs
Listed Investment Companies have enjoyed great investor support in the last year, but the structure usually comes with ‘free’ options to buy more shares. The impact of these options can trap the unwary.
There’s more than one way to fund a retirement
If you’re 40 or under you won’t have access to the age pension, and perhaps even your super, until you are 70. Unless you’re prepared to work until then, you’ll need enough money outside super to live on.
Long-term investors fail to reap their natural advantage
Despite similar objectives, the proportion of Australian superannuation assets in alternative and less liquid assets is much lower than for other long-term investors such as family offices and global pension funds.
Confusion with financial planner brands
The branding of financial planners is causing confusion among consumers, according to a recent report by Roy Morgan Research. Many clients are unaware when the ownership structure involves one of the major banks.
Resetting investor expectations
In part 2 of the great fee debate, it’s the investors’ turn to reassess their expectations regarding management and performance fees, and to understand what it takes to find (and pay for) top managers.
How to put money away regularly for your kids
There are many investment options for children beyond a savings account, but the merits of each are different for everyone. Here’s some guidance for parents of both younger and older kids.
Investing and jogging for the long run
There are more than a few similarities between running and investing. Success in either discipline is about having specific goals and strategies, avoiding the big risks, and not diverting from your plan.
Deep dives make better investment decisions
Company releases relating to acquisitions, mergers or divestments, by nature, have the objective of painting a positive outlook. A deeper dive into the facts allows us to make more educated investment decisions.
Different risks and benefits in SMSF gearing
The use of leverage within SMSFs has come under heavy scrutiny lately with strong arguments for and against. Some forms of ‘protected’ gearing can help manage risk, demonstrating that not all gearing is the same.
Understanding the bring forward rule
If you want to make the most of the recently increased superannuation personal contribution limits, here is a timely explanation of how to use the ‘bring forward’ rule to your advantage.
Learn your knowns and unknowns
When investing capital, you expect the return to adequately compensate you for the likelihood of loss. Understanding both risk and reward is vital, so the more you know about ‘knowns’ and ‘unknowns’ the better.
Sectors and stocks that could surprise this reporting season
As we approach August reporting season do you see one stock or sector that could surprise to the upside or downside?
The defined contribution obsession with liquidity
Australia’s defined contribution superannuation market seems to be obsessed with ‘liquid’ investments. For the long-term investment that super inherently is, it doesn’t make sense to limit our options.
Home & Retirement Planning Calculator
Thinking about retirement can be both exciting and difficult. Find out the options you have to create a better retirement in 3 quick steps.
Why would you invest in junk?
Sub-investment grade investments, or ‘junk bonds’, pay well but carry a higher risk of default. If the risk is managed properly, a broad portfolio of high yield securities can be a worthwhile investment option
Making sense of performance statistics
Fund managers often quote statistics to explain their performance, but what do they really mean, and how can we make useful comparisons?
Just what is a re-contribution strategy?
A withdrawal and re-contribution strategy involves accessing your super and re-contributing some or all of it back into your SMSF as a non-concessional contribution (i.e. all tax-free).
Diversification’s focus moves to matching future needs
Diversification thinking has evolved from risk and correlations to a focus on matching the future expected liabilities of an investor. It can change the way assets are allocated.
Think about risks as well as returns
We focus far more on the return from our investments rather than the risk, and we should watch for leverage or high risk-taking and expect to be rewarded for it to pay for the added risk.
Financial flexibility key to meeting aged care costs
Important changes to aged care costs come into effect on 1 July 2014. They highlight the importance of having the financial flexibility to make the system work in your favour.
Diversification lessons from the GFC
While diversification makes sense in theory, how did it hold up during the global financial crisis? Follow the crisis through the lens of correlations and diversification.
Respect for markets and judging High Frequency Trading
A report card from AQR’s tenth anniversary seminar in Sydney covering two of the presentations. One on market respect and strategy, the other in defence of High Frequency Trading and the role it plays.
Diversification: past, present and future – part 1
Follow diversification’s past, present and future in this three-part series. Part one takes us from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to the classic strategic asset allocation pie chart used throughout the investing world today.
Quality over quantity: a lesson of value
Value investing is much more than simply buying cheap stocks. The quality of a company is extremely important and there are three key elements you should consider that will help sort the good from the bad.
No easy way to make money
History has shown that there are many investment frauds and schemes out there intent on parting investors with their savings. This is a reminder to be wary of things that look too good to be true – because they probably are.
Elroy Dimson on investing, expectations and truth in numbers
Elroy Dimson is a leading authority on the history of financial markets. We find out how the numbers inform his own views on investing
Active versus passive – what about risk?
For any investment strategy, it’s important to consider the risks involved. This simple framework, based on fixed interest funds, can help retail investors assess and understand the risks of investing in index funds.
Making judgments based on age
Complexity is one of the challenges of our information society, and we typically respond by making simplifying assumptions. This helps us manage the complexity but increases the risk of focusing on the wrong things.
Start the new financial year on the right track
A simple investment checklist to help investors ensure they start the new financial year on the right track towards achieving their investment goals.
Harry Markowitz on investing until 100
At age 87, Nobel Prize winner and investment legend Harry Markowitz is far from retirement, dividing his time between teaching, consulting and writing. He sat down with Cuffelinks to share his wisdom.
Don’t set and forget
Investors are often advised to take the long-term view and pay little attention to the ups and downs of the market. But adopting a strict ‘set and forget’ strategy can sometimes be short-sighted.
Superannuation is one part of a complex tax picture
The recent budget has highlighted the importance of superannuation in supporting the age pension system. Why then, would the Government want to remove many of the incentives for building a healthy super balance?
‘Outcome engines’ should be the heart of your business
There is opportunity within the financial services industry for super funds and wealth managers to develop quality outcome engines to gain market advantage and service clients more effectively. But it’ll take time and money.
Your money or your life: what’s more certain?
Uncertainties about life expectancy and market returns are a challenge for retirement planning, and using averages may do more harm than good by disguising multiple possible outcomes.
How much money do you need to retire?
It’s the most common question asked by potential retirees. Working an extra couple of years, having a zest for life or retiring early might affect both savings balances and lifespans
Investors need to allow for future cycles
Economic and investment market cycles do not make for a comfortable ride when making investment decisions and they’re not about to disappear despite numerous smoothing attempts. Face it, cycles just happen.
You have an aversion to what? Is it risk or ambiguity?
We may already know how risk averse we are when it comes to investing, but how much of this is affected by ambiguity aversion. A better understanding of financial products could improve the investment choices we make.
Choosing the right ingredients for inflation-linked investing
It’s a difficult task, looking for good ‘inflation plus’ exposure over a long period such as post-retirement. Research into appropriate asset classes shows low correlations make the problem hard to solve.
Avoid too much yeast when making dough
In 2013, M&A market confidence returned and we are already seeing an increase in deal activity this year. However, investors should watch closely to ensure that over-confidence doesn’t get in the way of value creation.
Post-retirement income: the drums are beating
Less than 15% of Australians will enjoy a ‘comfortable’ standard of retirement with just their super. The age pension doubles the numbers, but there’s an even larger increase if other savings are included
Advantages of splitting superannuation contributions
Contribution splitting allows a super member to split up to 85% of concessional contributions received in a financial year with their spouse, and there are times when this is a good strategy.
Getting the balance right
Investment risk shouldn’t be an “all or nothing” choice. In this video, Paul Clitheroe talks about the importance of understanding risk, and taking on an appropriate level of risk for you and your needs.
Investment cycles - why they matter
Dr. Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, explains what causes cyclical fluctuations in investment returns.
Six rules for ‘Smart Simplicity’
Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex -- and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity."
Psychology: the investment rollercoaster
Dr Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, discusses the rollercoaster of investor emotions and how investor psychology works over the market cycle.
Don’t go swimming naked for a short term thrill
Poor quality companies sometimes deliver impressive short term gains, especially when left behind in a previous rally, but the longer term is likely to disappoint. When equity markets turn, nobody likes to be exposed.
Make sure going overseas does not spoil your SMSF
If your SMSF loses residency status while you are overseas, the tax penalties are significant enough to spoil your retirement. Being aware of the rules and options available allows you to avoid the hurt and enjoy the homecoming.
Money in the bank: Is cash the best long-term option?
Many investors concerned with protecting their nest eggs, who have moved their savings from equities into lower-risk assets such as term deposits. Yet, as things start to change in the markets, now may be a good time to look at some alternatives.
It's a new year: let's save more, not procrastinate
The intention to save more is common, but it’s often easier to procrastinate. There are useful techniques the wealth industry should consider to overcome this reluctance to save, to everyone’s benefit.
Advice focus needs to shift to goals in retirement
A good financial plan should have the needs and goals of retirement clearly defined, which then allows an appropriate portfolio mix to be established. The risk becomes the failure to achieve those goals.
Picking winners: the origins of the specious
Watching the market each day to pick a winner is not the best way to handle a retirement plan. A better and less stressful approach for your investment portfolio is to avoid losers, sit back and watch the grass grow
Beware of the curse of liquidity
Shares are an excellent long-term investment, but the ease with which they can be bought and sold can be both a blessing and a curse. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
SMSFs cash out of cash for managed funds
Self managed super fund (SMSF) trustees continued to decrease their allocation to cash during the March 2013 quarter while exposure to managed funds increased for the first time in two years, according to the latest Multiport SMSF Investment Patterns Survey.
Education for SMSF trustees - what should it really mean?
Constant changes to an already complex super system mean trustees should be continually learning. Rather than focusing on compliance and rules, trustees need new tools to help make good investment decisions
When does an SMSF qualify as a 'wholesale' investor?
Qualifying as a ‘wholesale’ investor opens many investment opportunities not available to most retail investors, but the interpretation of the rules is inconsistent across the industry
Putting the 'self' into self managed super
Everyone is different so you need to design your SMSF for yourself and your dependents. That’s the importance of ‘self’ in self managed super.
Sometimes, it pays to find the truly visionary leaders
Looking beyond the top quality companies, it pays to find the true visionaries, the companies whose prospects are compelling into the distant future because of the strong momentum they have built.
My 8 rules for both wealth and health
The same strategies we use to keep our bodies in shape can also be applied to building our finances. These eight simple principles can set you on a path to achieve better health and wealth.
Equity income investors should focus on reinvestment rates
The biggest factor over the past year in Australian equity markets has been investors focussing on dividend yields. Another, perhaps more important, issue is how much a good company reinvests in itself.
Is your super fund adequately diversified?
The majority of super fund members in ‘balanced funds’ have sizeable allocations to bonds, global shares and listed property. SMSFs have over 60% of their assets in just cash, deposits and Australian shares.

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