Daily Dispatches - the wheel turns

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Banking to buy side anyone?

Australian business wants Labour to change

An 11th hour decision in Australia yesterday saw the country's unpopular prime minister Julia Gillard ousted by the same man she challenged and defeated in 2010 for the top job in politics. But Kevin Rudd's return as head of the ruling Labour Party, which has suffered in polling ahead of the planned September elections, may do little for business, despite the party's much-reviled  investment-unfriendly policies.

Some analysts believe Rudd's triumph will boost consumer and company confidence, with Bloomberg reporting that the leadership battle will now remove a distraction in national politics that has weighed heavily on business and society, especially in recent months. Peter Esho, an investment adviser in Sydney at Wilson HTM Investment Group, which oversees about $11.8 billion, told Bloomberg that the latest developments were, "...a bit of a circuit breaker around confidence."

But others don't agree. Rudd is known for his hostile stance against business, with some leaders saying that Labour needs to change its policies or face a defeat by the rival Liberal party. Business wants the elections brought forward to end economic instability, and has called on Rudd to repeal laws that have allegedly hurt commerce. Tony Shepherd from the Business Council of Australia told ABC that"...we need a change in policy." 

Happy days in Singapore

Chief financial officers in the Lion City are feeling positive about its growth prospects for the next 12 months, according to the sixth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor, a survey of 519 senior finance executives worldwide. Of these, 31 respondents are based in Singapore.

Manulife targets Asia growth, plans hires

Manulife Asset Management is planning to hire in Asia to expand its asset allocation team - currently run by two people in Hong Kong - as it targets an ageing population in Asia that doesn't have adequate income security.The company says it will  hire more people this quarter. As the asset management arm of Manulife Financial Corporation, Manulife Asset Management manages over USD$248 billion in assets.

Hong Kong's Top Ten

Looking for a banking job in Hong Kong? Start by targeting the city's ten largest banks by total assets. The number one bank is HSBC, according to a recent KPMG banking survey, with total assets of HKF5.6 trillion. HSBC is followed by Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, Standard Chartered, and Bank of East Asia.

IB on the rise?

UBS has appointed Saurabh Beniwal as head of investment banking for Southeast Asia (excluding Philippines) as the Swiss-based bank identifies the region's growing importance for investment banking flows and revenues.

US tops again

The US has returned to the number one spot in executive sentiment as the world's leading foreign direct investment destination, usurping China as the world turns bearish on that Asian country. According to Reuters, the annual AT Kearney 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a survey of more than 300 executives from 28 countries, reported that the US has reclaimed first place after an absence of 12 years. And even more happily, more than half the respondents believed the global economy will recover from the financial crisis and recessions in 2014 and 2015, compared to 2010 when 42% believed the recovery would occur in just one year.

Is it a plane? Is it a car?

Beat the traffic by flying to work. Honda says it plans to sell 80 to 90 units a year of its 'flying sports car', with Japan's third largest carmaker expecting the first car/plane to roll off the production lines next year. A mere snip at USD$4.5 million, the vehicle is only USD$600,000 more than a Lamborghini, and somewhat faster, with a top speed of 778kms an hour. So perhaps the next big trend in property will soon be an estate that can accommodate a small runway. Question is, where do you park on the other end?