The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coy words from Ahmed Fahour on Aussie Post entering finanical services

From Business Spectator:

IO: That does sound interesting. Now I’m sure once this story appears and given your background, there’s going to be all sort of speculation about banking; where does banking fit into this? Is Australia Post going to increase its banking?

AF: [Pointing at slides showing new business units] Postal? Retail? Express? E-services? Where in all of this does ‘bank’ appear? [Laughing]

IO: I’m very conscious of the fact that it doesn’t appear here, so are you putting to bed all the sorts of rumours that have been swirling around about a fifth pillar? What’s going on there?

AF: I think I said when I started this job becoming a bank is not my priority. I’ve now announced my four businesses and it is what it is and you can see where my priorities are, but let me be categorically clear about this.

We are a player in the financial services world. We are an alternative to the banks when it comes to payments. You can pay your bills with us, not just through the banks. You can also pay it through us. But we’re also a terrific partner with the credit unions and the banks in being able to provide and being a secure gateway for their customers to do deposits and withdrawals in our four thousand, four hundred community stores. And then lastly we also are a place we’re can get your foreign exchange, so I think you know that ninety per cent plus of all passports are done in our shops and when you come and get your passport you can also pick up your foreign currency and that’s a great financial services offer.

IO: Is the financial services something that you’re comfortable with as it currently stands or something that you’re putting more energy into expanding?

AF: What we do right now, we could always do more and better at what we do today and I intend to continue growing and investing in that capability, but it is a service among other services that we will provide in our retail business and digitally online and what I’m saying is that we are excellent at managing transactions and I want people to think of us as a trusted service provider at the front end, but we don’t necessarily have in here the need to become a bank.