Election result to impact equity allocations, advice firm predicts
With the two major political parties planning to implement policies across the energy, healthcare, financial and retail sectors, some SMSF investors may need to rethink their equity strategy following the election, says an advice firm.
GEM Capital adviser Mark Draper said that, while it may be too early to change investment portfolios for SMSF clients just yet, financial advisers should be looking at the policies of both major parties and reviewing how these policies will impact various sectors.
“If you look at the banking sector, it seems that either political party will be increasing the bank tax, and advisers need to ask themselves whether that is reflected in the price at the moment,” Mr Draper said.
“They will [also] be legislating the recommendations from the royal commission.”
The energy sector, in particular, is likely to see some headwinds, he warned, with both sides of government proposing policies around energy, he cautioned.
Advisers therefore need to assess whether the price of equities held in the energy sector by clients offer a good opportunity given the political uncertainty for this sector.
“Currently, gas companies in Australia have a 30-year supply contract to Asia, and what the Labor Party is proposing, although they haven’t released any policy details, is that if the price reaches a certain price level, then they’ll divert gas earmarked for exports for domestic consumption,” he explained.
“[Labor] haven’t told any of the producers what that price level is, but the problem with that is that you’ve got companies that have a long-term supply contract, what are they are going to do? Are they going to cancel that contract? It’s quite problematic if you’ve entered a 30-year contract.”
While Mr Draper said that investors are being compensated for that uncertainty in the price to an extent at the moment, it’s still something they should be mindful of.
“Then with the health sector, Shorten is proposing a 2 per cent cap on private health insurance growth. The question investors have to ask themselves is, can the private health insurers contain their costs to below 2 per cent?” he said.
“If they can’t, and their costs go up 5 per cent, and they can only jack up costs by 2 per cent, then they’re going to wear that difference on their profit and loss.”
Health insurers, he said, are already aware of this policy, and making changes, and there are negotiations going on between the private hospitals and the health insurers.
“The question for investors is going to be who has the upper hand in those negotiations. If it’s the insurers, then it’s probably going to be okay, but there’s an enormous arm wrestle going on between the private health insurers and the hospital sector to contain costs as a result of that pricing cap, which I believe lasts for two years,” he said.
SMSF investors should also keep in mind that if Labor gets in, it will be increasing taxation which is a form of fiscal tightening.
“It’s fiscal tightening at a point in time where the economy is quite vulnerable. You’ve got a very leveraged household sector, you’ve got property prices falling, you’ve got retail sales under pressure, and car sales and building approvals are going through the floor,” he said.
“So, you’ve actually got a weak economy and a government proposing to wind up taxes and suck more money out of the economy, so that also has an impact on consumers, so investors have to ask themselves what impact that’s going to have on retail in Australia and consumer behaviour.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.