Last binge on property fringe

THE looming concern about property prices, particularly investment-based apartments, is starting to focus attention on the perceived culprits – real estate investment spruikers.

WA Business News, among others, has pointed out the role of these fringe players, who mainly work their magic through investment seminars at which naïve investors often pay for advice to buy property from the spruikers themselves.

This sort of thing is not new and the results we are seeing are not surprising.

What is disappointing is how the reformers of laws governing financial services left real estate agents outside the rules that now restrict others offering investment advice.

Stockbrokers and financial planners, for instance, have to prepare a forest load of paperwork if they even want to sneeze near an investor.

Try to buy a few thousand bucks worth of shares and you get the 10th degree about your financial status – purchase a $500,000 apartment off the plan and all you have to do, it seems, is make sure the pen has ink.

As the house of cards created by spruikers such as Henry Kaye start to collapse, I wonder if questions will now be asked about just how the real estate industry managed to avoid the rules the rest of the investment advice world now takes for granted.

While the technical answer is that traditional real estate investment doesn’t constitutionally fit within Federal regulators powers, you have to ask how this area was left out of the Financial Service Reform Act when its relevance was noted way back in the Wallace report which, in essence, FSR was drawn from.

Was it extensive lobbying or just the fact that property is rock solid and never loses value that ensured it wasn’t on the legislators radar?

Whatever the cause, like the finance brokers who went before them, it looks as though the property industry fringe dwellers have had their last binge – at least let’s hope so.


Plaudits for Board policy


WHILE not pretending to have gone into the detail on the recently launched State Liberal health policy put together by Mike Board, the drift did seem to reflect the messages communicated by our health debate last week.

Less focus on centralised hospitals, more care in the community – these were concepts agreed as important factors by our meeting, which included some of the State’s top health leaders.

While Mr Board didn’t appear to go down the prevention-is-better-than-cure track, he might deserve some plaudits from the health sector for his approach – as un-costed as it is.


Don’t dally on Business Elite


THE WA Business News Elite survey is drawing to a close and entries (the form is on page 34) close at the end of this week.

I have offered a few tidbits throughout the past few weeks and I will throw in one more for the final week.

It should come as no surprise that Michael Chaney has received quite a few nominations for Best Overall CEO. With Wesfarmers’ performance of recent years and Mr Chaney’s approach accepted by the whole investment community, he will be hard to knock off – but we are willing to see who else subscribers have in mind.

Don’t forget, there’s a case of wine to be drawn for eligible entries received before 5pm Friday.

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