Tag Archives: venture capital

Shorten Studies Israel Option For Aussies’ Super

23 Apr

One of the themes we have long followed here at barnabyisright.com is this blogger’s conviction that Australians will inevitably be caught up in the wave of government theft of citizens’ superannuation that has been slowly but surely sweeping the Western world since the GFC.

Indeed, as we have documented many times, the tide has already gone out in preparation for the big wave’s arrival on our shores, with Labor having quietly implemented a sneaky Liberal party policy aiming to direct your employer to send your future super payments to a special new department at the ATO, not directly to your super fund.

We have previously seen that PM-in-waiting Bill Shorten, Minister for Superannuation, has described Australians’ $1.3 Trillion in individual superannuation savings as “our sovereign wealth fund”, a “significant national asset”.

In today’s Australian newspaper, we learn that Shorten is off to Israel to meet and greet, and investigate the Israeli superannuation fund industry.

Your humble blogger’s sceptical eyebrow was raised sharply on noting that, while the emphasis of the story is that, purportedly, Bill is visiting Israel “to examine ways for the retirement savings system to help kick-start the Australian venture capital business” – a disturbing development in its own right – Bill’s spokeswoman let a very different kind of cat out of the bag:

SOME of the leading figures in the multi-trillion-dollar superannuation sector will join federal Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten on a visit to Israel later this week as the government examines ways for the retirement savings system to help kick-start the Australian venture capital business.

Joining Mr Shorten on the visit will be Australian Prudential Regulation Authority deputy chairman Ross Jones, MLC chief executive Steve Tucker and Challenger Group retirement income chairman Jeremy Cooper, author of the contentious Cooper Report on the superannuation sector.

During the visit, co-ordinated by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Israeli embassy, the group will meet executives of leading Israeli financial services companies, including its largest insurance group, Migdal, and fellow insurer Clal Insurance Enterprise Holdings.

It will also meet officials of the Capital Market, Insurance, and Savings Department, which supervises insurance and the long-term savings market.

Mr Shorten is also planning one-on-one meetings with Bank of Israel governor Professor Stanley Fischer, chief scientist Avi Hasson and Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

“The chamber is very excited about the Shorten-led trade mission,” said AICC chairman Paul Israel, who is based in Tel Aviv. “For the first time Australian pension funds will be exposed to the vibrant and innovative Israeli venture capital and hi-tech scene.”

Mr Israel said the week-long trade mission would investigate how Israel — with 7.2 million people, a third of the size of Tasmania, 60 per cent desert, only 63 years old with limited natural resources — had produced more start-ups than large, peaceful and stable nations such as Japan, India, Korea, Canada, Britain and Australia.

It would look at Israel’s superannuation, tax reform, venture capital and seed fund models, as well as its innovation and entrepreneurship culture, he said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Shorten said it was important that super funds looked beyond traditional assets classes and the government was keen to remove investment barriers to them.

She said the trip was designed to improve Australian super funds’ understanding of Israel as an investment destination, particularly in light of the strong venture capital sector there.

Hold on. Wasn’t the purpose of the trip to examine “ways for the retirement savings system to help kick-start the Australian venture capital business”?

Mr Shorten also hopes Australian super funds can get an understanding of how Israel’s pension funds go about investing in innovative and early stage companies.

“Innovative” and “early stage”.

That is bankster and speculator code for “high risk”.

Given the volatility on global share markets, and the parlous state of the global economy, one wonders why any responsible politician would be interested in finding ways to direct their citizens’ retirement savings into high risk start-up ventures.

In Australia … or Israel.

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