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Hello Folks,

I think I will present a little comment on the article.

1) It is from "The Sunday Age". The Sunday Age is not particularly concerned with good corporate governance, which means kicking out underperforming people. A lot of "low flyers" (including me) read The Sunday Age.

They are also not too concerned with profits, as these always come from gouging the poor consumer.

2) I find it hard to take this "Australia's 3.5 million shareholders are at risk of losing investor benefits such as franking credits, discount cards or even regular dividends as companies bow to global pressure to woo big international fund managers." seriously. There is a world of difference between a shareholder perk. like the discount card, a major part of the taxation system, the franking credit, and a common feature of well run joint stock companies around the globe, the dividend.

BTW, lots of collective investment vehicles are banned by their articles from investing in non- dividend paying companies. I remember when a change in the London Stock Exchange rules was required to allow EuroTunnel to join the FT-SE 100 share index, and co-incidentally be purchased by all those index trackers.

<more sarcasm>
What a great idea that was!
</more sarcasm>

3)The Australian Shareholders Association seem, to a jaundiced eye, to be a commercial version of the Australian Democrats, who appear to be neither Australian nor democratic. A similar charge could be levelled at the ASA.

BTW, This point should not be taken as a ringing endorsement of the management style of such luminaries as Jodie, son od Rupert, son of Kerry, Adler (father & son) and any one else in the insurance or telecom business, currently under the gaze of a Royal Commision, ATSIC, the ASX, etc., etc.

4)The para beginning: "Analysts told The Sunday Age..." Analysts? unattributed quotes, or made up by lazy incompetent journos? You choose.

Maybe having 43% of the population owning stocks isn't a good idea. I generally spend four to six hours a day on company research. But then I look after an older parent and two sick brothers, and I am able to do the work. How many of the "Mum and Dad" shareholders know which way up to hold a balance sheet, let alone make sense of the cash flow statement at Macquarie Bank? Which factoid I cheerfully admit to.

5) The disappearing dividend - let's face it, the American model exists because of their stupid tax system, which taxes dividends twice, make the paying of dividends very expensive to the companies. That money could be put to much better use e.g. the Enron practice of funding everybody's re-election campaign, which made getting enough Senators to sit on the hearings a real hoot. At least to an outsider.

Meanwhile, we have our own stupid tax system to contend with...


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