The biggest threat to major Australian companies is their complacency says broker Charlie Aitken

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Former Bell Potter broker Charlie Aitken, who liked to add the tagline “Go Australia” to his client market comment emails, is now taking a hands off approach to local equities.

He sees a lot of complacency in the Australia market, companies vulnerable to disruption by technology or business approach.

And many companies are either too expensive or don’t have enough in the way of growth prospects.

“Australia is full of cosy oligopolies – which breed complacency and arrogance – which is ripe for disruption,” he told the Australian Financial Review.

“You’ve seen it slightly in supermarkets, you’ve seen it in free-to-air television, arguably seeing it at the edges in the banks and through the rise of second tier telcos. There’s a danger in incumbency.”

Aitken is launching his own $300 million managed fund next month and Australian equities don’t feature in the immediate future.

He’s also down on the Federal Government, which he says appears to be headed on the path to austerity.

What’s needed, Aitken says, is borrowing in a low interest rate environment to build infrastructure.

“You could sell it [to] the nation that you are going to borrow $200 billion to build infrastructure,” he says. “It’s good for jobs, for money moving through [the] economy and it will get you out of traffic jams. But it requires politicians with vision and guts that aren’t worried about the next twitter hashtag.”

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