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Innovations in Wealth Management Technology Awards 2014

Innovations in Wealth Management Technology Awards 2014

The rise of new players with technology at their core

September 2011

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  • How disgraceful. You can't be serious. Here in Australia Swan is seen as a bean counter who can't count. Your award will do wonders for his ego - puff him up further. Surely there was some other Finance Minister truly deserving of the award.

    20 Sep 2011 11:17

    Author: Mark Bray

  • Didn't know it was April 1. Check out you tube for some of swanny's greatest moments.

    I know you guys in europe have problems facing up to reality, but didn't realise you were this delusional.


    20 Sep 2011 11:27

  • Congratulations Wayne,
    Unfortunately with the Murdoch press having over 70% of the media voice in Australia the good news about the Australian government is never going to get out to the general population. But those that care to look for the real facts know what a good job has been done over the last 4 years. You are on the right side of history!
    Bugger the politics


    20 Sep 2011 11:58

    Author: Sandy Makins

  • It's not that hard to run up $200 billion in debt with the country's terms of trade at the highest level since records started. Name one reform, one tough decision?

    Imagine how good Australia would have been with a real contender.


    20 Sep 2011 13:42

    Author: DanielW

  • You have seriously compromised your own credibility by awarding this fiscal fool with any recognition at all. As an Australian, it will give myself and the other 79% in this country, great pleasure to vote the idiot out, it just wont be soon enough.
    Maybe you could try judging cooking contests ?


    20 Sep 2011 14:00

  • Is this a joke, Wayne Swan is certainly not a good treasurer he came into power and was handed a huge surplus none of which we have anymore ad the Labour government he is appart of is the most unpopular government our ountry has seen in over two decades, this guy has put Australia into an enormous amount of debt for a country with only 21 million people a debt our hildrens children will be payiong off for the next three decades not to mentionn the guy has to raid the future fund to make the figures look better than they are, if anyone has half a brain there you'll realise that we've scraped the bottom of the barrell when it comes to talent in our ountry and this guy is just a clown along with all the other labour stooges no thanks Wayne Swan and Gillard are a major FAIL.

    20 Sep 2011 14:28

    Author: Martin

  • DanielW: Resource rent tax & carbon tax. Anyone with half a brain considers both to be good reform.

    Martin: Don't make up stuff. The Federal government deficit is tiny. They're only rushing to pay it all back off for political reasons. You ask where the surplus went? Into stimulus. It was right here in the article. Saved us from entering recession. That was pretty nifty.

    Apologies to the international audience. Us Australians are a self entitled whingy lot. It's atrociously embarrassing. You'll have to ignore the imminent flood of ignoramuses into these comments, bleating News Limited talking points.


    20 Sep 2011 15:41

    Author: Andrew

  • Several other more competent performers were clearly overlooked when this ludicrous decision was made.

    Mr Swan's mishandled cherry-picking of a mining taxation proposal from a broad-ranging internal review and recommendations on taxation left the Rudd Government completely exposed and led to the panic-stricken dumping of the former Prime Minister last June. Remarkably, Mr Swan was promoted after this bungle.

    Currently he's charging smaller financial institutions whose wholesale borrowings were guaranteed during the stormiest days of the global financial crisis an annual premium greater than that applying in most comparable countries. While this gouging raises $200 million extra for government coffers annually, it has further strengthened the hand of the four biggest Australian banks and is adding 10-20 basis points to interest rates, because of the disadvantage unfairly imposed upon the smaller institutions involved.


    20 Sep 2011 20:33

    Author: Albert Gerber

  • Wayne Swan is an idiot who inherited a surplus created by a brilliant treasurer and squandered it! Australians are now beginning to realise how lucky they were to have Costello at the helm. Your award is outrageous and an insult to most half intelligent readers.

    20 Sep 2011 23:47

    Author: Julie

  • You have got to be kidding. This treasurer and the government are the most incompetent since federation. Swan should kiss the ground the previous treasurer walked on for leaving the country a 12 billion surplus or we would be the asia pacific basket case

    21 Sep 2011 01:01

  • No doubt this decision will be met with frothed outrage from certain quarters who will make completely misinformed claims about debt and deficit. And yet the Australian economy still grows, unemployment is half the rate in the rest of the OECD, inflation is in check. And the Government is making worthy investments in the National Broadband Network, and sesnsible reforms with the mining tax and carbon emissions pricing.

    Congratulations (from a former sceptic of your abilities).


    21 Sep 2011 01:13

    Author: Daniel Nguyen

  • If you economic geniuses are handing out awards to this half-wit I now understand why the GFC occurred in the first place.

    21 Sep 2011 01:52

    Author: Jason

  • The negative criticism on here is as uniformed as Swan's domestic critics, and the commenters clearly haven't read the article and offer nothing beyond crass critiques that smack of economic illiteracy and craven partisanship, not one commenter has rebutted the reasons Swan has been given the award.

    You don't need to like Swan but you should respect the contribution he has made in holding his nerve and guiding Australia through turbulent economic times.

    History will be the better, fairer judge of Swan than Australia's current domestic media and the reactionary muppets on the conservative side.


    21 Sep 2011 02:01

    Author: Rocksy of Brisbane

  • Unbelievable! Swan is one of the most incompetent Finance Ministers Australia has had since Jim Cairns in the early 70's. I can only think your award is either a reflection on the current extremely poor quality of European and US Finance Ministers or perhaps you are simply completely out of touch with what is happening in Australia.

    21 Sep 2011 02:13

    Author: Fred

  • Wayne Swan is a member of an extremely dysfunctional government.He has not contributed any original economic thinking to the economy. OZ performance is due to what was set-up before Swan became Treasurer. He is a poor communicator and does not have any idea as to how explain any economic performances, this partly explains why Australians do not believe they are "better off " .Moreover he was propped up by Ken Henry et al during the GFC.
    Mickey Mouse would have achieved the same results with the same support.
    Finance Minister of 2011...no way.


    21 Sep 2011 04:13

    Author: Ern Crowle

  • You can look at some economic numbers, and they may be better than some other countries. Australians look at wasteful, failed programs. We judge the government in those terms.

    Wayne Swan walked into office in late 2007 to an economy with no debt. That was not his achievement. When the GFC hit, our country was more impacted by the actions of other countries, and the public stood back to see where things were going. We were worried about what would happen to our banks - and the one thing I'll give Wayne Swan credit for was that he provided a deposit guarantee, which improved confidence. We didn't need any of the other things that were done - for example everyone getting a $900 cheque to spend. We all responded with a "huh"? Maybe a few people got a benefit - others gambled it on poker machines - the rest just put it into the bank.

    So I give the Finance Minister of the year credit for (1) guaranteeing bank deposits, and (2) cancelling many of the government's stupid, ineffective, wasteful and badly implemented stimulus programs. But that's all - he did not save our economy - Australians did. For example:

    > Australian banks did not get as involved in the high risk behaviour observed elsewhere - so we didn't have a Lehmanns Bank situation. However there were some examples of high risk behaviour at individual level, and these people had no sympathy from the public. Local governments and academic institutions that invested in synthetics also got no sympathy.
    > The previous government had focused on debt reduction, rather than a deficit funded spend-a-thon, so we had a better starting point than Europe and USA. We also had a high level of saving in the form of compulsory superannuation.
    > CEOs of companies cut their costs by putting staff on a 4-day week - keeping their people in work.


    21 Sep 2011 05:16

  • Unfortunately, your choice of Finance Minister of the Year is a joke. Sadly, Mr Swan is such an economic illiterate, he can't even say off the top of his head, to a gallery of journalists what our inflation rate is. There was over 2 mins of silence while he thumbs though his notes looking for the answer.

    21 Sep 2011 05:56

    Author: Janie Serman

  • As an Australian i feel so much better. The last time Euromoney named an Austrlian "Finance Minister of the Year" it was Paul Keating. Now we can look forward to 10% unemployment, 17% interest rates and 10% inflation. All Swan did was inherit the best economy in the world and turn $20bn in the bank to over $100bn in debt. wow that must be tough

    21 Sep 2011 06:34

    Author: Andrew

  • A toast to the best treasurer in the world
    The DrumBy ABC's Annabel Crabb
    Updated September 21, 2011 16:33:07

    Photo: As Australians, we don't really care if politicians have a tough life, so the trials of Wayne Swan won't exactly move many to tears. But they are worth recapping.
    AAP: Dave Hunt
    Video: Swan honoured by European finance magazine (ABC News)

    Audio: Gonged Swan sets sights on world's woes (The World Today)
    Related Story: Glory days for Swan after best treasurer accoladeFinally, something nice happens to Wayne Swan. Euromoney has declared him to be the best treasurer in the world. This is not a normal thing. Nice things do not often happen to the Treasurer. He's been in politics a long time, the Treasurer, and life there hasn't been easy.

    The letter to the assistant treasurer may give some clue why Mr.Swann is considered such a great treasurer.

    Dear Mr.Shorten.
    Thank you for your letter of the 18’th.Aug.2011, but you did not answer any of my questions that I posed in my letter of the 9’th.June 2011.
    The three pillar policies that the Australian government uses to keep the pensioners depending on either part or full age pension as poor as possible, yet I and most other part-pensioners have paid taxes for most of our lives from which the age pension is paid.
    As the enclosed articles from AFR report, the Australian super and social service is just set up for the benefit of the very rich, and I,am sure that Hawke and Keating, the architects of the compulsory super, are both in the millionaires class, as you will probably join them soon, and Howard contributed towards this riches, by introducing tax-free super for the over sixties, if their retirement incomes from taxed fund.
    As have had no success with getting any decent answer to my complaints against the discrimination of pensioners, could you please inform me, if there is any agency or tribunal where I could have my complaint heard.


    21 Sep 2011 08:42

    Author: B.Kurzer

  • 1) Well Eric, your headline with this “story” is very interesting, you say; "Swan confounds his domestic sceptics"!!

    Swan does not "confound" me as an Australian Citizen at all... to the contrary.. It was "expected" that the Labor Party WILL spend beyond what they tax us "Mere Mortals" here in Oz!!

    For some reason the Australian Labor Party seems to think they have an open “check book” with the Federal Taxpayers tax monies and then to borrow more on top to boot!!

    And; as per usual, the Coalition will be hamstrung by “Labor Debt with Interest” and; really cannot do too much as a consequence except for pay down the “Labor Public Debt off with Interest”!

    This was the same scenario with Howard & Costello. It took 8 of their 12 years in office to pay off the previous Hawke & Keating Labor Government Debt with Interest!!

    The same will happen with the next Coalition Government when it is voted back in;


    2) The only reason Swan had it so good was that he started off with a Multi-billion Dollar Surplus left by the former Howard & Costello Government;


    3) The $900.00 giveaway by Rudd & Swan to the Australian Taxpayers during the so called GFC was to stimulate spending in the economy for the sake of consumers to consume was a complete waste of tax money.

    Apparently, we are heading toward another economic downturn according to the IMF. The $900.00 giveaway has only put off the inevitable that we will be going through a recession soon.

    I say this because I am seeing it now with the Retail and Tourism Sectors suffering. Australians do not want to spend at the moment... And, I don’t see Swan going to hand out another $900.00 tax break this time because the Labor Party has nothing left the kitty anymore;


    4) Eric you also state, “Surrounded by the consumer baubles that wealth brings, grumpy Australians don’t seem to appreciate how good they’ve had it.”

    a) I’m not a “good consumer” to have “consumer baubles”;
    b) I am a “Grumpy Australian”;
    c) I do know how “good we’ve got it”!

    If there were a few more enlightened “Grumpy Eurozone Citizens” in the Economic Eurozone, you guys wouldn’t be in the economic “shit fight” with the public debt that you are in now!!


    5) Your magazine has stated the following in the past:-

    Euromoney 2006 Best Investment Bank - Lehman Brothers (Busted 2007)
    Euromoney 2006 Best Equity House - Morgan Stanley (Bailed out 2007)
    Euromoney 2006 Best at Risk Management - Bear Stearns (Busted 2007)
    Euromoney 2006 Best at Investor Services - Citigroup (Bailed out 2007)
    And I'd like to note the favourable Euromoney commentary on AIG's future, 2007 (Bailed out 2007)

    Now tell me, why should Australian Citizens listen to what your magazine publishes?



    21 Sep 2011 09:24

    Author: Call Me Stupid

  • There's an old saying, 'How do you make a small fortune out of the wine industry? You start with a big one'. How did Wayne make a good economy? He started with a great one, which even he hasn't been able to completely destroy. Awarding Wayne Swan this, gives the whole award as much credibility Muammar Gaddafi's claim that his people love him as their revolt first started.

    21 Sep 2011 09:42

    Author: Robert Packer

  • Would I be correct in thinking that the EuroMoney runner up for this award hailed from Greece?
    EuroMoney has lost any semblance of credibility as a publication if it had any to begin with seeing some of it's award recipients in the past and this one.


    21 Sep 2011 09:46

    Author: RodF

  • Should have given it to the Malaysians, they get paid to send us 4000 refugees.
    This award is a silly, Swann is a fool, and so say around 75% of Aussies.


    21 Sep 2011 10:11

    Author: Dave

  • What bull dust Wayne Swan. FACT your ass has been saved because you inherited a pot of gold from Peter Costello. FACT your ass has been saved because we had a fist full of dollars and a booming mining industry FACT your ass has been saved because we only have four big banks FACT your ass has been saved because China was buying from us FACT you will be judged at the end of your term Euromoney should revisit this article again at the end of his term and FACT Australian has now the worse prime minister ever!

    21 Sep 2011 10:56

  • our economy is limping along and is about to pay out billions and billions a year to god knows who for a emission trading scheme that will do bugger all ...are you guys serious ???? for us in Oz this says more about the magazine and the other Finance Ministers than about our clown ...

    21 Sep 2011 11:22

    Author: Gerry O'Connor

  • The only reason why Australia is not like your European financial basket-cases is because previous governments left us in such good shape that even this useless plodder Wayne Swan hasn't been able to do enough damage. If Europe has been listening to your advice it's no wonder Europe is facing disintegration and bankruptcy.

    21 Sep 2011 11:37

    Author: Pedro

  • You people are obviously idiots! Wayne Swan is a clown and part of the worst government in the history of Australia. No wonder the worlds financial markets are in the shape they are with morons like you making judgements

    21 Sep 2011 11:50

  • What the......!
    You must be having a laugh!
    If Swan is the best then I pity the rest of the worlds economies.
    Euromoney Magazine must be thinking of another Swan
    1.Swan has a degree in Public Adminsitration. He has no idea about economics, finance or anything other than politics.
    2. He inherited a massive surplus from the previous government which he has merrily wasted over the past 4 years.
    3. It is China that has kept the Australian economy healthy .... definitly not Swan!

    Your award should be renamed "The luckiest person in the right place at the right time award".




    21 Sep 2011 12:01

    Author: Peter Nicholson

  • Sorry guys Andrew works for the Australian Labor party and can't see past the propaganda maybe Andrew would like to explain why the future fund which under legislation was set upby Costello and was not suppose to be raided until 2020 is now going to be raided to get the government books back into surplus and how about all the lovely $900 handouts for LD and Plasma tubes which keeps the ecoomy on track for exactly 6 weeks something we could have done without infact considering the state of our banks the whole thing would have passed us by if it wasnt for the media telling us what was happening elsewhere. Lets not forget the enormous list of failures under the current government just do a search on google for labors 50 Lemons list you couldnt make this stuff up I rest my case. And btw Andrew are you putting the money back into the future fund I love people that comment without all the data typical Labor figure smudging thought process.

    21 Sep 2011 12:17

  • LOL this has to be a joke, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soaPhHKX2Oo

    21 Sep 2011 12:40

    Author: Alan

  • It is the people criticising the Aussie Government who are delusional. The opposition have no real policies to speak of, apart from STOP THE BOATS!.
    NO is not a policy. The opposition are constantly trying to wreck every positive reform that the government introduces. From the Carbon Tax to Plain Packaging for cigarettes. Self Imposed limits on Poker machine to help problem gamblers from spending their families income to the Mining Tax.
    All good policies designed to help people.
    Where are Tony Abbott's policies?
    Don't be fooled by the Mad Monk and his arrogant cronies.
    Well done, Mr Swan. Thanks for keeping unemployment and interest rates low.


    21 Sep 2011 12:55

  • I am not familiar with your publication but I find it near unbelievable that Wayne Swan could be seen as the best treasurer in the world. Mr Swan and his government have squandered the budget surplus of around $20 billion left by the former Howard government such that we are headed for a budget deficit of $200 billion now. The financial mismanagement of stimulus schemes such as the building of school halls was breath taking with hugely inflated costs over the normal costs of construction. The minority government Swan is part of is now going to impose a carbon tax on our country to retain the support of their Green partners in government. That tax will damage our economy and drive companies and jobs off shore and the vast majority of Australians do not want the carbon tax. Our Prime minister lied to the Australian people prior to the last election when she said "There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead" That speaks for the calibre of our government and Mr Swan is part of that. I seriously question your judgment in picking Mr Swan for this award. If he is the best in the world we are in very, very serious trouble.

    21 Sep 2011 13:37

    Author: michael groves

  • Would I be correct in thinking that the EuroMoney runner up for this award hailed from Greece?
    EuroMoney has lost any semblance of credibility as a publication if it had any to begin with seeing some of it's award recipients in the past and this one.


    21 Sep 2011 13:56

    Author: RodF

  • I am shocked by the comments from my fellow Australians. Obviously, you will have deduced by now that the place is full of economic illiterates and raging conservative buffoons!
    I say congratulations to Wayne Swan and thank you for choosing our treasurer for the award. I may be the only one on this blog who agrees with that decision, but there are many of us here in Oz who understand the significance of what Mr. Swan has achieved. Trouble is, he doesn't go around "blowing his own trumpet"!!


    21 Sep 2011 17:46

  • WOW. What a bunch of angry Liberals (Conservatives). I did like how the article had to make that clear. As for all the criticism...Swan handled the GFC amazingly well. You can't be angry with that. Thank you for providing some perspective Euromoney. Us Australians often get upset about small things like people in boats and awards...don't take it too personally.

    21 Sep 2011 18:59

    Author: Zachary

  • It really shows how much you are out of touch with the global economy, it must be an April Fools Joke. This magazine should shut its mouth and stick to its own country. Stay out of Australia we dont want you here. And yes we are the best country in the world.You and your journalists are the losers.

    21 Sep 2011 20:00

  • I can't believe the negativity here. The hyperbole is astounding. I look at the macro figures in Australia and thinks its going very well thankyou. Australians are a generally soft nationality who are a little to expectant about everything. I'd suggest the quality of life is quite high while the capacity to rationalise is, unfortunately, very low. Spoilt children I'd suggest.

    22 Sep 2011 01:45

    Author: Stewart

  • Low unemployment. Low Interest rates.
    Pensions and Super going up.
    What more do you whingers want?
    Allan Jones would be very proud of you for ignoring the facts and just spouting baseless hatred.
    Well done, Swanny!


    22 Sep 2011 02:30

  • Let's put Australia's economy in perspective for some of you haters out there.
    The world has just gone through the biggest financial crisis in living memory, if not of all time.
    To compare an Aussie, earning $100,000 per year, with the Aussie economy.
    Before the GFC, we had $3000 in the bank. Not much to speak of, in fact it's less than a fortnight's pay. Considering the enormity of the nation's income and the lack of money being spent of infrastructure to future proof the economy, that $3k was pretty insignificant.
    Now, after the GFC has decimated many other economies, Australia is in debt by the equivalent of $20,000. I am sure that most Australians have personal debt of 10 times this amount.
    Most of Australia's debt was incurred by projects that improve Australia's infrastructure, while keeping people employed until the economy improved.
    Fast action was needed and Australia took that action, thanks to people like Wayne Swan.
    Sure, some corrupt people rotted the system and there was wastage as a result. There was not time to plan a scheme which was beyond corruption. I doubt that it could ever be done without someone complaining.
    All I know is that most people have jobs, we have low mortgage repayments, our dollar is strong, bankruptcy rates are low.
    It seems that things are going so well, we have nothing better to do with our time than whinge about how bad things are.
    The opposition are still crying about losing the last election and are sore losers.
    They accuse our Prime Minister of being a liar.
    Well, what do you know? A politician told a lie. They always have, they always will, on both sides of politics.
    Situations change and our Prime Minister is bravely taking measures to tackle climate change.
    She should be commended for fighting for the planet and our survival, instead of being criticized for doing the right thing.
    Let's stop the hatred and all work together to make this world a better place. Positivity is a wonderful thing.


    23 Sep 2011 02:29

  • An excellent article with a few too many home truths in thrown about Australia being a nation of ingrates who believe they are the chosen people and all deserve to live the life of their richest friend!
    To much talk back radio, too much talking the economy down and basically too many 'dumb arses' and ideological hacks who think they know a hell of a lot more than they do fuel more ill informed discussion

    Swan, I can take or leave as a treasurer, he is a grinder with little flair and little attitude which weakens him in the eyes of many. The spending made during GFC was effective even though somewhat flawed due to rorts and incompetence at the level below government.
    Maybe not a great politician at home but better regarded by a knowledgeable economic audience.

    It used to be that we called the 'poms' whingers, but we seem to have assumed the mantle wonderfully.


    23 Sep 2011 10:20

    Author: Loz

  • What a lot of crap, the previous treasurer should be the one to receive this award!

    It really shows that your magazine does not know what is happening in Australia.

    This same treasurer is about to introduce a carbon tax, which he promised before the last election that he would not! As did his Prime Minister Julia Gillard, they were both elected on a big lie!!


    26 Sep 2011 08:17

    Author: Eric Swart

  • We Aussies are whingers no matter how good our lives are. We did not fall into debt this time around since we still remember the whack we received in 1991 recession.

    From time to time both Coalition and Labour are followers of the discredited Keynesian economics to gain electoral advantage. At times they can not distinguish between loanable funds and printing money. We should invest only using loanable funds and loanable funds can be created only by savings. We save only by living within our means and innovating to produce sustainable goods and services.

    Coalition taught us to live within our means, and Labour supported innovation. But either party have succumbed to Keynesian stimulus from time to time to make short term electoral gains.
    I fully support the Resources tax to create a sovereign fund, which preserves the capital at all times, and lends to fund our investments.


    27 Sep 2011 08:13

    Author: Sri


  • World's Greatest Treasurer ..... NOT

    Q. How did Wayne Swan save Australia from the Global Financial Crisis?
    A. He used all the money put aside by Peter Costello.

    Q. How many surplus budgets has Wayne Swan brought in?
    A. None.

    Q. How many surplus budgets did Peter Costello bring in?
    A. 10 out of 11.

    Q. Which Australian Federal Treasurer managed to turn a $80b surplus
    into a $153b budget debt in just 3 years?
    A. Wayne Swan.

    Q. Which Australian Federal Treasurer has to steal money from the
    'Futures Fund' to give the
    false impression that his economic management has brought the
    budget back into surplus by 2012-13?
    A. Wayne Swan.

    Q. What did Wayne Swan do to receive the World's Greatest Treasurer
    title?
    A. He spent all the money Peter Costello put in the bank.

    Q. Where would Wayne Swan be if he didn't have a mining boom and China
    to prop him up?
    A. Up shit creek without a paddle.

    Q. How is Wayne Swan planning on getting the budget back into surplus by
    2012-113 apart from robbing
    the 'Futures Fund'.
    A. He is going to spend the mining boom funds on the NBN and illegal
    immigrant welfare and then tax the arse off you via
    the Carbon Tax, The Congestion Tax and upping the GST rate and any
    other tax he can come up with.
    And last but not least …………….
    Q Who voted Wayne Swann the world’s greatest treasurer
    A The senior economic guru’s that have placed Europe in its worst ever economic crisis










    07 Oct 2011 22:42

  • I am truely disgusted by the ignorance of the majority of the commets here. I doubt many of them actually read the article (such a feat would require a level of intellegence) but rather read the headline and jumped to comments to spout off the bull they've absorbed from the heavily biased mainstream media here in Australia. If the government had of refused to spend anything during the GFC, as Howard and Costello surely would have, how exactly do you haters expect we would have come out the otherside as well as we have?

    Whinging is a national pastime. If you earn less than 100k your an 'aussie battler'. For godsake Palistinians are happier than us! We are as happy as the conflict-ridden Sudanese! If that doesn't show what a bunch of ungrateful, entitled bunch of pricks we are, I don't know what does.


    12 Oct 2011 12:22

    Author: Skinny


Finance minister of the year 2011: Swan confounds his domestic sceptics

by Eric Ellis

Australia has struck it rich, and lucky, as it has used its natural resources to benefit from the China spending boom. But the careful stewardship of its treasurer, Wayne Swan, has played a key role in making it the best-performing economy among the world’s richer, developed nations. Not that he is likely to get much credit at home, as Eric Ellis reports.



 

Australian treasurer, Wayne Swan 

Finance minister of the year 2011 Wayne Swan

Press release

How Euromoney’s finance minister award became an Aussie political football

Finance minister of the year Wayne Swan
Media coverage

Also see
More on China
More Asia coverage

New to Euromoney.com?
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BLESSED WITH, AND industriously exploiting, a natural resources bounty pointed at China that would embarrass Croesus, some Australians will find it strange that Euromoney has chosen their treasurer, Wayne Swan, as finance minister of the year.

The less charitable might even recall the words of Donald Horne, in his 1964 book The Lucky Country, which read: "Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck."

Swan would probably be among the first to admit that he has indeed had some luck. But his work as treasurer is acknowledged by Euromoney as much for what didn’t happen to Australia on his careful four-year watch – economic Armageddon in the trail of the 2007-08 subprime meltdown, which he confronted in his first year in office – as for what he positively did, positioning Australia to power through the new crisis looming from abroad.

"The fiscal rules that we put in place to deal with the global recession when we moved to stimulate the economy were ahead of the rest of the world," says Swan, in an interview from the kookaburra-chorused back verandah at his home in Brisbane.

"These were the sorts of rules that were ultimately adopted by the G20 in its summits through 2009, this whole notion that you needed an exit strategy. At the time we moved to stimulate, we put one in place and we’ve been applying it vigorously. It’s not happening anywhere else in the world."

As a result, Australia is one of only three OECD economies not to fall into recession since 2008, alongside Poland and South Korea. And it seems well placed to repeat the feat as the worsening euro crisis and US funk spread their infection. After two decades of growth, Australia’s sustained expansion has been the most impressive performance of any member of the developed rich countries club.

That’s all very well, but is Swan a worthy recipient of the award, in this era of booming Brics and roaring Tigers emerging to trump the sputtering west?

Former ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake of the University of Melbourne think-tank The Grattan Institute knows the 57-year-old Swan well, and offers a qualified yes.

"Swan is certainly after glory," says Eslake, "but for his party, not for himself. He’ll be thinking how this gong will improve Labor’s chances of winning the next election, seeing it in intensely political terms as will, of course, his political opponents."

That political capital might be useful, given that there’s every possibility that by the next time Euromoney considers the global field of finance ministers, Swan won’t be among them. The longevity of the minority Labor-led government of prime minister Julia Gillard – Swan is deputy prime minister – depends on the whim of three independent MPs who face a voter backlash in their own constituencies, because they backed Labor into power last year.

And none have been impressed by Hookergate, allegations that Labor backbencher Craig Thomson, who chaired a key parliamentary economics committee, paid for prostitutes with his union’s credit card, as Labor bailed him out of bankruptcy with party funds. With a two-seat majority and a 15-point deficit in opinion polls, Labor can’t waste a single seat, lest it trigger an early election it will certainly lose.

What does Swan think?

"Oh, I think Australians recognize that we did really well during the global financial crisis and the global recession," he says.

"Australians do understand that we were almost alone among the developed economies to not go into recession. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.

"When we moved to stimulate the economy (in 2007-08), given the nature of the debate in Australia, it was controversial and vehemently opposed by our political opponents. As time has proven, the fact is we did keep Australia out of recession, we had one quarter of negative growth and avoided it in the subsequent three. We took a well-thought-out, well-executed set of plans to stimulate the economy.

"And it worked, so we didn’t go into recession and we didn’t suffer the capital destruction and the skill destruction that we saw in many other countries, and it’s given us a really great foundation to approach the Asian century and the resources boom that comes with it, because we are going into that from a position of strength."

If only Australians saw it that way. Through their gloomy prism, things are grim, and they’re pointing fingers at the government. Indeed, during this 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, there’s something of Gorbachev about Swan and Labor – hailed abroad by everyone from the IMF to the OECD but loathed at home. Or perhaps it’s a little like what sport-obsessed Australians are world renowned for. They hate it when the referee intervenes in an epic battle. Sport is best contested when the umpire is invisible, which usually means he’s doing a good job. But Australian umpires, like their politicians, aren’t to be praised, no matter how well run the contest. Elections elsewhere are fought on the economy, and Australians are the thankless lot who bounced the conservative Howard-Costello team from office after 11 years, while the booming economy was at the peak of its powers.

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Finance minister of the year 2014:
Mexico's Luis Videgaray


Full details of the award, including an in-depth interview with Videgaray and coverage of the reception at the IMF in Washington will be live October 10.