Damien Klassen


Your Industry Superannuation Fund is about to lie to you

Most superannuation funds, and especially industry funds have significant balances in unlisted assets. Many are telling you that these assets haven’t lost money, or are only down a little despite sharemarkets being down close to 30%. This gives rise to perverse incentives for superannuants: if you leave one of these funds now, you will get


Performance fees: Paying more doesn’t make your fund manager smarter

I don’t think performance fees help. Actually, I suspect performance fees probably do more harm than good.  Reason 1: Work smarter not harder First, it is tough to incentivise people to be smarter. Numerous studies have shown that while bonuses make people work harder at simple tasks, they don’t make people smarter. Some even argue it makes people worse at


MB Fund smashes the competition

Chant West released its returns for superannuation funds for last month and a preview of the March massacre. Our funds beat the benchmarks by up to 3.7% in February. In March returns to date our funds look to be beating benchmarks by closer to 10%.  We moved decisively into international cash and bonds at the


COVID-19 may not stop in Summer

One factor I have been watching closely is the spread of the coronavirus through summer or tropical countries. For most of February, it appeared travellers brought COVID-19 to summer or tropical countries, but the spread within those countries was limited. That looks to be changing. The raw chart comparing the two still suggests a stark


A Wile E. Coyote moment for Aussie house prices

For a few weeks in late January and early February, stock markets suspended belief. Pundits on every channel emerged, suggesting a small economic dip followed by a massive stimulus package meant it was time to bid expensive stocks even higher. Meanwhile, in the real world: Earnings growth had already stalled. Valuations had reached lofty heights


MB Fund February 2020 Performance: The storm hits

Last month we threw in the towel on share markets. This month share markets were the ones to throw in the towel. From our previous monthly report: Share valuations have not been this expensive since the tech wreck. Earnings growth is pretty close to zero. A supply shock is accruing in China. So is a


Coronavirus: It is time to look at the data differently

About a month ago, I posted here about how to look at coronavirus statistics. At the time, it was all about early warning signs, ignoring China data and focussing on the rest of the world. That analysis worked well for highlighting the problem early and changing investment strategy in front of the herd.  But that


A memo for MB Fund investors

As you may be aware, there have been significant falls in share markets over the last few days on the back of COVID-19 concerns. We have had concerned messages and calls from investors, and I wanted to give you more information. In our tactical portfolios, we manage the asset allocation for you. About a month


COVID-19 Daily data dump

First, the news from China: At 04:00 on February 26, 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 433 new confirmed cases and 29 new deaths (26 in Hubei and 1 in Beijing, Heilongjiang, and Henan). 508 new suspected cases were added. On the same day, 2,750 new cases


MB Fund January Performance

It would have been difficult to lose money in January. Bonds, Aussie shares, international shares, residential property, it seemed like every asset was marching higher. Our own funds were no exception, our tactical funds all outperforming benchmarks.  But, by the end of the month, we had thrown in the towel. Share valuations have not been


COVID-19 China updates

First, the news from China: At 04:00 on February 23, 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 409 new confirmed cases, 150 new deaths (149 in Hubei and 1 in Hainan), and new suspected cases. 620 cases. On the same day, 1846 new cases were cured and discharged, 16758


COVID-19: Seek, and ye shall find

When you have a lot of COVID-19 cases, is it because you have a poor hospital system? Or is it because you have a really good one. Cases: Versus hospital efficiency: Source: World Health Organisation For reference, Australia rates 32, US 44, China 144.


How high can the house price boom go?

In the last three years, Australian houses have gone from boom to bust and now back to boom again. I have written in the past about how crazy the property cycle is, and recently, a buying frenzy has pushed prices back toward previous highs. Many are calling the market up 10% over the next year,


Official launch of free Property Calculator

A few weeks ago we posted this Property Calculator here for you all to test; we appreciated the feedback, much of which has been implemented We’re pleased to announce the official launch of our Australian Property Calculator. Read on for a brief breakdown of some of the features Calculator features: Your property forecast Step 1:


Understanding coronavirus statistics

The data quality showing the spread of the coronavirus is poor. The data from the Hubei province (the origin of the virus) is still wildly different from the data from elsewhere and so we need to analyse the data in separate parts. While the numbers don’t look as bad when analysed this way, I note


How to invest during a pandemic

There is a certain seductiveness to a bearish investment argument. The chance to appear like a rational actor in a crazy world. The opportunity to be able to say “I told you so” at a future date. The moral superiority of the cautious investor. The problem is stock markets usually go up. The world belongs


Property tragics, see if you can break this

Hi all. We are looking for beta testers for a property calculator that compares investing in property to investing in shares or renting. The calculator is at https://nucleuswealth.com/property-calculator Let us know in the comments where you think we have gone wrong… Below is a post that will accompany the calculator once tested. Deep in the Australian


MB Fund smashes it in 2019

2019 was a banner year for investment returns. Our own funds performed well throughout the year, highlighted by our growth fund up 17.8%*. This puts it in the top 4 growth superannuation funds according to researcher Chant West: Other Nucleus funds also had significant gains, our International direct share portfolio led with 27.2% returns over


MB Fund November Performance: International boom!

November was a stark reminder of the power of narrative in driving returns. World stock markets rose almost 5%, but earnings broadly were downgraded. Our portfolios handily beat all benchmarks over the quarter as our exposure to international stocks offset our large cash holdings. We have been trying to keep enough exposure to international stocks


Infographic: Electric vehicles will not save coal

The purpose of this Infographic is to debunk the common misconception that a switch to Electric Vehicles will hugely increase demand for electricity. This Infographic breaks down and depicts the data that it won’t, and in turn, Electric Vehicles will not save Coal as many suggest is might. The resulting effect is that Oil has


GDP heat map

Every quarter I like to look at the changes in Australian GDP and which categories are responsible for the growth / decline. Each bubble represents a category of GDP proportionate to its size, colours represent the growth rate. Click the charts for a large version and commentary:  This quarter the key takeaways include: Federal Government


Private sector investment is as dead as the Dodo

There is an investing narrative that suggests with three interest rate cuts in the past few months, companies are about to unleash a capex spending spree. I’m skeptical. Yesterday’s capex data, which surveys both past and future company capital expenditure, supports my skepticism. I need to preface all of this with the observation (raised before)


MB Fund October performance

October saw investment returns for equity markets higher yet again, the bigger story was a reversal in the bond market. Our tactical investment funds have performed better than most superannuation and investment funds over the year. In October the funds gave back some of the lead we have built up. Outperformance in our international fund


The problem with traditional ethical funds

Ethical investment inflows have doubled in 2019. But, the Wall Street Journal highlights a problem near to my heart: ethical investing is not the same to everyone. Funds with a focus on socially responsible investing are enjoying a record year of inflows. But many such portfolios aren’t as clean as investors might expect. Eight of


How to create a $47bn WeWork in one easy step

This is a message for those who want to avoid being ripped off by aspire to be investment bankers. One dirty secret (of many) in investment banking is valuations are an advertising tool. If you can’t manipulate valuations to get the number your boss wants you to get, you are in the wrong game. How else can