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."

Monday, August 29, 2011

ANZ looking to buy Japanese bank(s)...

I have warned for longer and harder than anyone about the risks associated with Australia's major banks expanding into difficult-to-understand foreign territories with no obvious comparative advantage purely in the name of growth (something more recently advocated by the RBA in its Financial Stability Review, which many media observers took as directly fingering ANZ). The litany of problems with Aussie banks' UK operations is just one graphic illustration of the hazards these forays introduce (to say nothing of other disasters in the US). But buying a bank(s) in a nation whose population is projected to shrink by 25% over the next four decades, and which has a history of badly managed banks with dodgy prudential supervision and a dysfunctional political-economy, seems like an especially odd choice to me. Nonetheless, Reuters reports:

ANZ eyeing Japan bank buy

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, the country's fourth-largest lender, is looking at buying Japan's Tokyo Star Bank or Aozora Bank, the Australian Financial Review said in its Street Talk column without citing any sources...

ANZ, which is targeting Asia for growth and expects to get up to 30 per cent of profits from the region by 2017, has retained law firm Nagashima Ohno for the deal with the bank's head of strategy and old Japan hand Joyce Phillips driving the deal, the paper said.