Good morning! Here’s what you need to know…
1. It’s a big day for Australia’s finance sector, with the release this morning of the interim report of the Financial System Inquiry, chaired by former Commonwealth Bank CEO David Murray. The inquiry is designed to map out a blueprint for Australia’s financial system over the coming decade, and this morning’s report invites options for a range of policy areas, including the role of superannuation, the impact of technology, and competition between the banks. It might be worth casting an eye on bank stocks at the start of trade, too, with the market having a couple of hours to form a view on the inquiry’s report before the open.
(Update: it also takes a hammer to the whole concept of being “too big to fail” and is seeking input on how to avoid allowing Australia’s banks becoming so. More at Business Insider Australia this morning.)
2. This comes at an awkward time for Australia’s banks, especially following the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal which resulted in current CEO Ian Narev apologising to affected customers earlier this month. The interim report doesn’t directly address that problem but does float ideas including of introducing minimum education and competency standards for personal advice, and the idea of a national examination for financial advisers providing advice.
3. Stocks rose in the US after better-than-expected earnings from Citigroup. The Dow rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 0.5%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.6%. Citi’s revenue came in at $US19.38 billion, a bit less than expected. Shortly before releasing its earnings Citi announced a settlement with regulators over to investigations into the bank’s handling of mortgage-backed securities ahead of the financial crisis.
4. It followed gains in both Europe and Asia. Mario Draghi signalled to the EU Parliament that asset purchasing – a European QE scheme – could be on the cards. The DAX was up more than 1% on the news and the FTSE gained just over 0.8%. ASX futures are pointing to a rise at the start of trade in Australia, and with the iron ore price recovery continuing, the miners could see a bounce.
5. Janet Yellen in the New Yorker. The “world’s most powerful woman” is the subject of an extensive profile which will be required reading for anyone interested in the current economic landscape. Yellen admits that she didn’t see the GFC coming. “I’m sorry that light bulbs didn’t go off in my head a couple of years before they really did,” she told Nicholas Lemann. “I absolutely did not see it as something that could the financial system down.”
6. Would you like a loan with that? Australian supermarket giant Coles is partnering with global giant GE Capital to offer customers personal loans. It’ll be in the form of a 50-50 joint venture and follows a similar trend in the UK. Maybe you’ll be able to find the loans in Aisle 6, next to the instant noodles.
7. The excruciating future of flight. Airbus has lodged a patent application for a new seating arrangements on passenger jets. From the designs – eerily reminiscent of those schematics for medieval torture devices – you can see the passenger doesn’t even sit, but is forced into a half-standing position.
8. The books that Bill Gates reads. It’s summer in the US and that means reading lists. Gates has kicked off with six he says made a big difference in his life, and hopes you’ll enjoy them too, including his “favourite business book of all-time”, which has been out of print since 1971.
9. The case against Wicked Campers. It’s hard to miss the colourful vans on Australia’s highways. Some are impressive, some are vaguely amusing… and some are just offensive. The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau earlier this year said complaints keep flowing about the company, which is also Australia’s biggest serial offender in ignoring the watchdog’s rulings. Now this particular van has sparked a Change.org campaign to eliminate its “misogynistic and degrading imagery”. So far, 87,000 Aussies agree with her.
10. The bull run selfie. Spanish police are searching for a man who took a selfie as he ran in front of several bulls in Pamplona during the annual running of the bulls. Photos and recording devices are banned because, well, you could get killed. Meanwhile, two Australians in their 20s were gored in the run overnight.
Bonus item: Apple’s belief in beautiful design is well-known, but check out this list of 11 extraordinary design quirks you can find in Apple’s products, including a sleep light on Mac laptops that’s designed to oscillate at the rate of human breathing, because it makes you feel more peaceful.
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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