Monthly Archives:April 2019


Surfwear online stitched up

April 29th, 2019 / / categories: 苏州美甲美睫培训 /

SurfStitch is a one-stop shop.WHEN Justin Cameron was working as an investment banker, he found a surf after work would wash away the stresses of the day.

”Surfing was the perfect remedy for any frustrations that I had during the day,” Mr Cameron said.

But what he couldn’t find was a one-stop online store from which to buy all his surf clothing needs, so with business partner Lex Pedersen he decided to start his own.

”We saw an opportunity in the market where none of the major surf and swimwear labels were marketing their brands online,” Mr Cameron said.

With Mr Cameron’s finance background and Mr Pedersen’s experience as manager of the Surfection retail chain in Sydney, the pair reckoned they had a chance of success. They were right.

This year, SurfStitch will turn over about $50 million in Australia, and another €10 million ($12.8 million) in Europe for its offering of 350 brands including Billabong, Quiksilver, Seafolly and Tigerlily.

Turnover has doubled each year since inception and the company now employs 250 staff in Australia and Europe, where it has just opened new headquarters in France including an 8000-square-metre distribution centre.

”We saw a huge opportunity to get into the European marketplace, which has a similar environment to what we saw in Australia in 2008 when we started,” Mr Cameron said. ”No one is currently servicing the street/surf/snow market in Europe [online] so the opportunity to capitalise on being a first mover is very appealing.”

SurfStitch sells up to 10,000 items online every day, even as the waters for Australian surfwear brands become increasingly choppy.

Georgina Safe travelled to Europe as a guest of Bulgari.

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THE head of the body representing industry super funds has blasted as ”inadequate” the for-profit sector’s proposed independence safeguards.

Industry Super Network chief executive David Whiteley last week wrote to John Brogden, the head of retail fund umbrella group the Financial Services Council, setting out his concerns about the independence of super fund directors.

Under a standard proposed by the FSC, directors of super fund trustees will count as independent if they are also an independent director of the sponsoring financial institution’s board.

By contrast, industry funds are non-profit and controlled by a board of trustees made up of representatives of employers and unions.

The ISN submission to the FSC is the latest in a long-running battle between industry and retail funds for dominance of Australia’s $1.3 trillion superannuation nest egg.

Mr Whiteley told Mr Brogden he did not ”believe the draft standard will have credibility in the broader community”.

”The definition of independent director is novel but fails to address the obvious conflicts of interest and duty a director of the parent company and/or subsidiary would have if appointed to the board of the trustee,” he said.

In its submission, the ISN said the duties a director of a bank or other financial institution owes to that company will conflict with their duties to super funds members.

Mr Whiteley called on Mr Brogden to participate in a broader process that would set a standard binding both sides of the industry.

An FSC spokeswoman could not be reached yesterday, but BusinessDay understands the organisation feels its proposed standard complies with Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the stock exchange’s independence standards.

The proposed standard would make it impossible for a bank executive to sit on the board of a super fund run by the bank.

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Steadfast move for QBE chief

April 29th, 2019 / / categories: 苏州美甲美睫培训 /

EMERGING insurance play Steadfast Group said former QBE chief Frank O’Halloran was a ”logical choice” to take charge as chairman as it prepared for a stockmarket listing in May next year.

Mr O’Halloran, who was planning to join the QBE board next year, surprised investors when late on Friday he detailed plans to head up the Steadfast board.

The appointment of Mr O’Halloran comes less than two months after he retired from QBE following a 12-year stint as chief executive.

QBE’s board has offered to waive a non-compete clause in his contract that would have prevented Mr O’Halloran from acting for an insurance company or related business for three years from his retirement.

Steadfast executive chairman Robert Kelly said plans for the initial public offer were well under way and Mr O’Halloran was the logical choice for the insurance broker network.

”We do $760 million worth of business with QBE annually; we’ve had a long-standing relationship with them for many years,” Mr Kelly said yesterday. ”We’ve worked very closely with [Frank] over that time.”

JPMorgan and Macquarie Capital have been selected as joint lead managers to the planned float.

The Steadfast model sees insurance brokers band together to negotiate wholesale insurance rates with the major insurers. This is then onsold to the customers of insurance brokers.

Steadfast is also planning to take ownership stakes in more than 100 insurance brokers, making it a rival to listed insurance broker network Austbrokers Holdings.

Still, the appointment of Mr O’Halloran to a business that seeks to drive down premiums from players such as QBE raised questions among investors.

Mr O’Halloran is well known in the insurance broking community and has intimate knowledge of QBE’s pricing models.

There are more than 400 Steadfast brokers’ offices nationally, with sales of $4.1 billion and annual revenues of about $700 million.

Analysts calculate Steadfast would be valued at around $440 million based on its future earnings growth.

Mr O’Halloran was travelling overseas yesterday and was unavailable for comment. QBE chairwoman Belinda Hutchinson said Mr O’Halloran ”is passionate about the insurance industry, and feels that his expertise would add a great deal at Steadfast Group with its plans to list on the ASX”.

However, given QBE underwrites 17 per cent of Steadfast’s insurance, the QBE board and Mr O’Halloran ”agreed that he will not return to the QBE board in 2013 as originally envisaged”.

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BARACK Obama’s hopes of holding on to the White House have received a major boost from new figures showing that the US unemployment rate has dropped below 8 per cent for the first time since he took office in January 2009.

The US added 114,000 new jobs in September, in line with expectations. But August’s disappointing jobs figure was dramatically revised upwards from 96,000 to 142,000, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to 7.8 per cent.

”Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again,” Mr Obama told a raucous campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia, after the figures were published. ”This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office.”

Acknowledging that the economy was not out of the woods yet, he added: ”Now, every month’s figures reminds us that we have still got too many of our friends and neighbours struggling to pay the bills … But now is certainly not the time to talk down the economy and score a few political points. It’s a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now.”

Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, described the report as ”pretty darn good”. Mr Greenhaus highlighted the fact that the total number of employed persons rose by ”a whopping” 873,000 while the number of unemployed persons declined by 456,000, the largest increase in employment since January 2003.

The news could not have been better timed for Mr Obama, whose re-election campaign has been rattled in recent days by his perceived weak performance in his first debate with rival Mitt Romney. The report contained good news for many voters in key demographics being targeted ahead of the election.

The unemployment rate for adult men is now 7.3 per cent, and for adult women 7 per cent. But problems remain. September’s unemployment rate for teenagers was 23.7 per cent and there was little change for black Americans (13.4 per cent) or Hispanics (9.9 per cent).

The number of people working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job rose from 8 million in August to 8.6 million in September.

”This is not what a real recovery looks like,” Mr Romney said. ”We created fewer jobs in September than in August, and fewer jobs in August than in July, and we’ve lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office.”

He added: ”The results of President Obama’s failed policies are staggering – 23 million Americans struggling for work, nearly one in six living in poverty and 47 million people dependent on food stamps to feed themselves and their families.”

The Republican House speaker John Boehner also noted the figures are too high but acknowledged there was good news, too. ”While there is positive news in today’s report, job creation is far too slow and the unemployment rate is far too high.”

While Mr Obama can now point to 24 consecutive months of growth, the Republicans argue the rate remains historically weak. An increase of 114,000 barely covers population growth in the US as new entrants come into the job market.

Geoff Hoffmann of recruitment firm DHR International said employers were growing confident but a lot of uncertainty remained. ”There’s uncertainty about the impact of healthcare legislation, tax impacts, it’s not really clear what is going to happen in 2013 and beyond,” he said.


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