I have to say that I’m particularly pleased to be talking to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle today.
Wearing my Irishman’s hat, I’ve decided it is not in any one’s interest to spend time talking about that the one thing that binds and divides Australia and New Zealand… rugby union.
So let’s quickly move on to business.
As someone who has only been in the job at ANZ for two months, I thought the most useful thing I could do today is give you a few personal observations on what’s happening in the international financial environment
I’ll then take a look at what those changes may mean for Australia and New Zealand, particularly for financial services.
Addressing these changes will be heart of ANZ’s future strategy.
I believe they are also relevant more broadly, particularly as the new Rudd Labor Government turns its mind from Saturday’s election success to the opportunities for further economic reform.
Fundamentally, I believe there is an urgent need for a fresh look at reforms to help create a more competitive, outwardly focused economy. But, I’ll talk more about that later too.
First let me say that I understand anyone who feels confused right now.
Oil is looking longingly at $100 a barrel.
Gold is looking just as longingly at $1,000 an ounce
. Northern hemisphere banks, and lots of organizations that look like banks, are all racing each other for the gold medal for the biggest write down from losses in sub-prime lending.
So far US investment banks have provided nearly $50 billion. For those of you who are confused by the terms write down and provision, they are bank speak for losses.