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."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bipods with policymaking balls

Is AussiePost offering banking-style services a pipe-dream or a genuine election contender? Notwithstanding Ahmed Fahour's best efforts to quash interest in the opportunity while still keeping his options ever-so-subtly open, Banking Day reports that he has just hired two senior NAB executives...

My guess is that the only thing standing between Australians and a new competitive force in financial services--which, as I have argued many times before (see here and here), could be devised to enhance rather than undermine the competitive capacities of second-tier lenders--is a politician standing up and showing us that parliament still possesses a bipod with policymaking balls. (Cue, say, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner walking on-stage in a bow-legged fashion.)

Lindsay once told me that he had been a fan of the narrow-banking model, which has come back in vogue (see the Volker reforms in the US), and was, I think, referenced in one of Lindsay's books. Anyways, this is what the ever-reliable Banking Day had to say about AussiePost's latest efforts:

"Australia Post hired two former NAB executives, Michelle Tredenick and Andrew Maitland, to work at the government-owned firm. Foresight Publishing reported the hirings at its publisher’s blog.

Tredenick served as chief information officer at National Australia Bank for five years from 2004 to 2009. Maitland worked as head of consumer cards and then general manager of consumer lending until 2008.

The hirings will add to speculation that Post – now headed by NAB’s former Australia CEO, Ahmed Fahour – continues to harbour plans to enter the banking market in some fashion (or perhaps more realistically, plans to work seriously on its options).

Fahour omitted to include banking and payment services as a core theme in the strategic roadmap for Post publicised to staff and stakeholders over the last few weeks."