1. “One undeniable fact: it is those who engaged in misconduct who are responsible for what they did and for the consequences that followed.” The Hayne report was released yesterday afternoon and the Morrison government has said that it will be taking action on all 76 of the report’s recommendations, including hard hitting policy on trail commissions for mortgage brokers which could impact 20,000 small businesses. Brokers are furious and at this point appear set to be the biggest casualties from an industry perspective. But there may be more to come, as the commissioner has made 24 referrals to regulators for potential civil and criminal misconduct.
2. NAB chairman Ken Henry is in deep trouble. He and the bank’s chief executive Andrew Thorburn were singled out in the final report of the royal commission for apparently not having learned some of the lessons of the past. Commissioner Kenneth Hayne made pointed contrasts with the contrition seen from other bank leaders, and said in extended, scathing remarks that he was “not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly”.
3. Mark Zuckerberg is on the offensive. In a post marking Facebook’s 15th birthday, Zuckerberg defended the influence of the internet, and said people are overly focused on the “negative” aspects of Facebook’s impact on the world. His comments follow two years of constant scandals for the social media platform, from spreading hate speech that fuelled genocide in Myanmar to its mishandling of user data.
4. The final cut. The RBA will announce its policy decision today, releasing one of its most eagerly anticipated rate announcements in years at 2.30pm AEDT. The RBA has long indicated that the next move in rates will be higher, but with the current economic trajectory there are fears that this could compound a downturn if it were to go ahead. Here’s your 10 second guide to today’s rate decision.
5. Did we spend enough this Christmas? Recent reports are pointing to no. Analysts are bracing themselves for a weak Australian Retail Sales report today, and a wide range of forecasts is suggesting that the market uncertainty is growing. Individual forecasts range from -0.5% to gains of 0.4%. The final figure will feed directly into Q4 household consumption, the largest part of the Australian economy at over 50%.
6. The Aussie dollar will need to hold on throughout today as the RBA announcement and retail sales report release has the potential to put on some real pressure on. The dollar saw little movement following the poor jobs data and the release of the Royal Commission report. The Aussie is currently giving mixed performance against major crosses with a strong USD weighing it down.
7. Slack is gearing up for an IPO. The workplace collaboration platform has finally announced that it had confidentially filed for an IPO with its current valuation at $7 billion and allegedly $900 million in cash on the balance sheet. The company announced last week that it currently has 10 million daily active users.
8. One giant step for mankind. Elon Musk has released footage of his the first firing of his new interplanetary rocket, and the internet is abuzz. The SpaceX founder wants to create a space program to colonise Mars and make humans an “interplanetary species.” You can watch the rockets fire a green tinged blaze at his testing facility in Texas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2019
9. A state of emergency is sitting on the table for President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday (local time). Trump has made a number of references in the media to the border wall and the need to curb immigration as a national emergency. It is likely that he will also announce future plans for North Korea during the speech.
10. It’s the zombie apocalypse. JPMorgan has said that China’s “zombie” state-owned companies have the potential to derail the economy even further. The company is predicting a large scale slowdown of the Chinese economy after poor PMI figures, lower exports, an ageing workforce, and out of control household debt have been flagged in the last year.
BONUS ITEM: Sorry to ruin your Tuesday morning, but…
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