Tag Archives: bailout

Crisis Management: APRA To Be Given Power To “Direct” Your Super

17 Jul
Australian Treasury,  Strengthening APRA's Crisis Management Powers, September 2012, page 34 (click to enlarge)

Australian Treasury, Strengthening APRA’s Crisis Management Powers, September 2012, page 34 (click to enlarge)

It’s been a big week for your humble blogger, vis-a-vis finding incriminating evidence on government websites.

Here’s another example of something I have warned of (repeatedly) since the inception of this blog, now coming to fruition.

That like so many other countries in the Western world since 2008, our government too would, someday, use the pretext of “crisis management” to steal your super to prop up an insolvent financial system.

Today, we learn that the Orwellian euphemism that has been chosen to describe this process in Australia, is “direction powers”.

From the Australian Treasury’s Consultation Paper, Strengthening APRA’s Crisis Management Powers, September 2012 (my bold emphasis added):

2.3.1 Potential new direction triggers

…it is being considered whether APRA should have new direction powers in relation to superannuation.

The purpose of the direction powers would be for the rectification of significant problems, in the nature of an enforcement power.

Possible triggers for the issue of a direction might include:

  • a breach of the RSE licensee law or licence condition;
  • an anticipated breach of the RSE licensee law or licence condition;
  • promoting instability in the Australian financial system;
  • conducting affairs in an improper or financially unsound way; and
  • where the failure to issue the direction would materially prejudice the interests or reasonable expectations of beneficiaries of the superannuation entity.

Note carefully what is being described here.

Earlier in the same document, the Treasury department bemoaned that:

APRA has comprehensive direction powers in relation to ADIs, general insurers and life insurers but not in relation to RSE licensees, even though the superannuation sector holds approximately $1.4 trillion in savings and a number of superannuation entities hold tens of billions of dollars in assets.

Oh dear! All that money, just sitting there making private sector fund managers rich on fees, and they (the government) don’t have the power to direct what happens to it. Sacre bleu!

Treasury went on to say that APRA needs an “early intervention tool” that is “preemptive”, and so allows it to “address a superannuation entity’s deterioration or non-compliance with prudential requirements”:

Australian Treasury, Strengthening APRA's Crisis Management Powers, September 2012, page 34 (click to enlarge)

Australian Treasury, Strengthening APRA’s Crisis Management Powers, September 2012, page 34 (click to enlarge)

Now here is where the cunning comes in.

How do you ensure that you give yourself the ability to “trigger” your new “enforcement power”, in order to give “direction” to a superannuation fund to … oh let’s say … direct a percentage of its (ie, yours, dear reader) money into government bonds to support the national government’s solvency? Or to the shares of a collapsing bank? Or to the shares in a new “bridging institution”, as directed by the FSB under its new, G20-wide bank resolution “bail-in” regime?

Easy.

You establish a set of “triggers” for your new “direction power”. Just like those they have listed above. Including, most notably, the trigger that — in their judgment — “the failure to issue the direction would materially prejudice the interests or reasonable expectations of beneficiaries of the superannuation entity.”

In other words, if APRA (or the IMF, or FSB, who now tell APRA what to do) were to decide that it “would materially prejudice” your interests if they did NOT “direct” your super fund to do whatever the government wants, then that is all the “trigger” they need to enforce a “direction” on your super savings.

Don’t believe me?

Think I’m twisting what they said?

Read it again.

Very carefully.

With special note of this:

Enhancing direction powers in superannuation would allow APRA to detail specifically how an entity must address an identified concern. Direction powers would enable APRA to direct the entity as to what should be done to remedy the situation…

What if the “identified concern” is that failure to issue the direction would materially prejudice the interests or reasonable expectations of beneficiaries of the superannuation entity”?

Or what if the “identified concern” is simply that the super funds are not parking your money in the “investments” that the government wants them to, and that this is or could be “promoting instability in the Australian financial system” — another one of the “triggers” listed?

By this action, the government is effectively abrogating to itself what is essentially an unlimited power to “direct” your super fund to do “specifically” whatever the government says with your money, under the dangerously broad, and subjective, Big-Brother-Knows-Best pretext that “failure to issue the direction would materially prejudice” your interests.

See also:

Your Super Screwed By The Laboral Party

Stealing Our Super – I DARE You To Ignore This Now

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Cyprus, This Is How To Deal With Bankers Who Want You To Take A Loss

20 Mar

From the movie “Casino”. How appropriate.

WARNING: Strong language –

“We know what you do, don’t we Charlie. You f**k people out of money and get away with it.”

Bad To The Bone – EU Debt Crisis Reaches The Core

24 Nov

barnabyisright.com 3 weeks ago, on November 3rd ( “Gillard Offers Borrowed Money To Bail Out Europe” ):

Let us be perfectly clear, dear reader.

Europe is stuffed. Totally and utterly stuffed.

As is the USA. The UK. Indeed, as is the entire Western world’s financial system.

You simply can not fix a debt problem, by borrowing more money.

Reuters today:

“Disastrous” bond sale shakes confidence in Germany

A “disastrous” German bond sale on Wednesday sparked fears that Europe’s debt crisis was starting to threaten even Berlin, with the leaders of the euro zone’s two biggest economies still at odds over a longer-term structural solution.

With contagion spreading, a majority of 20 prominent economists polled by Reuters predicted that the euro zone was unlikely to survive the crisis in its current form, with some envisaging a “core” group that would exclude Greece.

Investors were also unnerved by reports that Belgium is leaning on France to pay more into emergency support for failed lender Dexia under a 90-billion-euro ($120-billion) rescue deal that had appeared done and dusted.

A special report by Fitch Ratings suggested France had limited room left to absorb shocks to its finances, such as a new downturn in growth or support for banks, without endangering its triple-A credit status.

“The debt crisis is burrowing ever deeper, like a worm, and is now reaching Germany,” one of the more eurosceptic backbenchers in Angela Merkel’s center-right government, Frank Schaeffler of the junior coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP), told Reuters.

Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and new Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti were to meet in the French city of Strasbourg on Thursday.

They were expected to discuss the reforms planned by former EU commissioner Monti at a meeting they hope will allow Italy to put behind it the era of scandal-plagued former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned this month.

Underlining how deep the euro zone crisis has become, the German debt agency could not find buyers for almost half a bond sale of 6 billion euros. That pushed the cost of borrowing over 10 years for the bloc’s paymaster above those for the United States for the first time since October.

“It is a complete and utter disaster,” said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities in London.

Aussie Banks Not So Safe

4 Mar

From Money Morning:

We dropped the line yesterday about the banks having $13 trillion of off-balance sheet business. We’ve mentioned this number several times over the last year, but if you’re a new reader to Money Morning, here’s a link to the Reserve Bank of Australia spreadsheet that contains the awful truth.

To be precise, it currently runs to $13,058,814,195,842.70.

Just to put that in perspective, the banks have a total of $2.59 trillion of on-balance sheet assets. We’re sure the banks and the RBA will claim that all the off-balance sheet business is completely offset, so that losses are contained.

Personally, we don’t think you should believe a word of it. The number one risk with the off-balance sheet business is counterparty risk. As long as each counterparty can keep the ponzi scheme going then sure, everything will be tickety-boo.

But as we all know, that can’t happen. We’ve seen counterparties collapse before (Lehman, Bear Sterns, etc…) and they’ll collapse or need bailing out again.

There’s only so long that banks can keep the ponzi going. They’ve scraped through by the skin of their teeth thanks to an unprecedented bail-out by the taxpayer.

You see, $13 trillion is $13 trillion. It’s the big unspoken risk that the banks have created for themselves.

You can see the growth in off balance sheet business for yourself here:

$13 Trillion - AU Banks' Off Balance Sheet "assets"

$13 Trillion Off Balance Sheet Business = RISK

So let me make one thing clear. When you hear all the talk about banks deleveraging and de-risking, don’t believe a word of it. As you can see from the chart above, they’re in as deep as they’ve ever been.

The issue of counterparty risk is precisely why the Greek debt crisis is a threat to Australia – despite what Ken Henry and Glenn Stevens would have us believe.

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