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Thorburn Quits as National Australia Bank CEO After Inquiry Lashing

Thorburn Quits as National Australia Bank CEO After Inquiry Lashing

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Comments of the Day

08 February 2019



Video commentary for February 7th 2019



Eoin Treacy's view

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: High yield spreads have unwound their overextension relative to the trend mean. Treasuries traders are more interested in pricing in a recesssion than the looming wall of new supply, S&P500 pauses, Germany weak, oil and commodity weak but gold steady, Australia surges following strong financials results. 

Some of the topics discussed include: High yield spreads have unwound their overextension relative to the trend mean. Treasuries traders are more interested in pricing in a recesssion than the looming wall of new supply, S&P500 pauses, Germany weak, oil and commodity weak but gold steady, Australia surges following strong financials results. 




Please note - There will no commentary on Friday

I will be travelling to the UK today for David’s funeral service. That may mean the Comment of the Day and Subscriber’s audio and video will be posted at an irregular time on Thursday. There will be no commentary on Friday as I will be on the road all day, but I will attempt to record the Big Picture video at some point over the weekend.



Eoin Treacy's view



Musings From The Oil Patch February 5th 2019

Thanks to a subscriber for this particularly detailed edition of Allen Brooks’ report for PPHB. Here is a section oil related equities:



Eoin Treacy's view

A link to the full report and a section from it are posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

There is a mismatch between the statements from many politicians that the future of energy is in renewables and the statements from industry insiders that confirm the profit margins from these businesses are nowhere near those of conventional fossil fuels. That virtually ensures the continued success of renewables is dependent on subsidies and/or priority offtake agreements to justify the considerable expense in building these operations.



India's New Central Bank Head Delivers 'Election Cut' for Modi

This article by Anirban Nag, Rahul Satija and Vrishti Beniwal for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

India’s new central bank chief delivered an unexpected interest rate cut, providing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the kind of stimulus he needs to stoke economic growth in an election year.

In a sharp reversal from October, when the Reserve Bank of India took rate cuts off the table, Governor Shaktikanta Das -- who took office in December -- opened the door to more policy easing and brought growth back into the Monetary Policy Committee’s focus. That was a departure from his predecessor Urjit Patel, whose singular aim was to meet the RBI’s 4 percent inflation mandate.


Eoin Treacy's view

Narendra Modi was the first in what has become a long line of upstart political populists which have achieved some outstanding electoral results over the last five years. Buying elections is about the most effective strategy used by politicians everywhere and India is no different. In fact, one of the primary reasons for appointing a new central banker was to ensure compliance with the wishes of the ruling party to ease heading into the election.



Thorburn Quits as National Australia Bank CEO After Inquiry Lashing

This article by Jackie Edwards for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The yearlong inquiry uncovered a litany of wrongdoing across the industry, from charging dead people fees to advisers pushing customers into bad investments to meet bonus targets. National Australia staff accepted cash bribes to approve fraudulent mortgages and misled the regulator over a fees-for-no-service scandal.

“I acknowledge that the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the Royal Commission’s final report,” said Thorburn, who will leave Feb. 28. “I recognize there is a desire for change.”

His replacement will have to restore customer trust in the lender and steer it through a tougher landscape of falling earnings, a sinking housing market and rising funding and compliance costs. The nation’s big-four banks also face more muscular regulators intent on punishing wrongdoers in court.

In further fallout from the inquiry, National Australia said it will delay the planned IPO of its MLC wealth management unit as fee income and commissions come under pressure.


Eoin Treacy's view

David used to say he would not invest in banks on moral grounds. That is a clear reflection on the rather nefarious reputation of the industry to fall victim to its worst impulses to generate profits. Nevertheless, banks are important sources of credit for the economy; in every country. When they are under pressure either from reputational, regulatory or market risk their ability to create credit is inhibited and that represents a challenge for the market. The integral part they play in supplying credit also contributes to their knack of avoiding hefty fines.



David Fuller died on Tuesday, January 15th 2019

Thank you to everyone has written in. All your messages have been passed on to David's family and we would like to extend our deepest thanks for the upwelling of sympathy and well wishes the Collective have offered. I will continue to renew this post until February 8th. 



Eoin Treacy's view

David Fuller died on Tuesday, January 15th.

It is with the deepest regret I inform you David passed away on the 15th at his home in Devon surrounded by family, which is where he wanted to be. He is survived by his wife Graham, and his two daughters, Grayson and Laurel.

He had been battling a heart condition for the last several years. Unfortunately, the muscle was too weak to operate on, so he had been balancing medications in an effort to keep swelling under control and succumbed on the night of Tuesday the 15th. The delay in releasing this information publicly was in an effort to give the family and I time to begin to process the loss and to have some details of when the funeral might be.

Here are those details: 

Celebrating David Fuller's life

Graham, Grayson and Laurel warmly invite you to remember & celebrate David with us at his funeral service on Friday 8 February. 

Service at 2.30pm at Rowan Chapel, North Devon Crematorium, Old Torrington Road, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 3NW.  Parking on site.

Gathering from 4pm at Har-Leigh, Rectory Rise, Petrockstowe, Devon EX20 3HQ. (Please avoid parking at the house or on the road - we have use of the car park a few hundred yards further into the village, at Baxter Hall, The Village, Petrockstowe, Devon EX20 3HJ, opposite the Laurel’s Inn and adjoining the playground.)

In lieu of flowers it is requested that anyone who wishes to, makes a donation to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which David loved, attended and supported for many years. Contact Rosie Morden on 020 7840 4212. 

Please feel free to wear whatever you feel most comfortable in, whether smart or casual, sombre or colourful. 

RSVP to Grayson please, ideally before Monday 3 February, confirming numbers. We look forward to welcoming you to the service and the gathering at the house afterwards.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about transport, accommodation or anything else. 

Details will also follow about the memorial service to be held for David in London later in the year.  

If you knew David personally and wish to attend the funeral then of course you are welcome. If you would like to contact the family just drop Sarah a line and she will forward it along.

The family, old friends and I are very eager to organize a memorial service which we envisage will take place in conjunction with the dates of one of our London venues for The Chart Seminar. 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of The Chart Seminar and I think it would be fitting to time the memorial to occur around that time, since Behavioural Technical Analysis is the timeless legacy David is leaving to the world. 

Anyone who knew David will be familiar with how committed he was to a fit and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, he was dealt a poor hand genetically, but it was his lifelong fitness regime which likely allowed him to persist for as long as he did.

It’s all the more ironic because he had a giant heart, with room in it for everyone he met, and it was that trait which I personally found most inspiring from our years of working together. David was always willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and gave many successful financial professionals their first leg-up in the industry, most particularly, at his original company Chart Analysis. 

I’m certainly one of those David championed and I owe everything I have achieved to his kind and encouraging tutelage.

In speaking with people over the last couple of weeks one sentiment came through above all others, that life might not be eternal but his legacy is. David was a pioneer in the field of behavioural analysis and was among the most noted proponents of point and figure charting. Cutting through the jargon, messiness and, often, intentional complication he travelled the world teaching financial professionals the merits of looking at markets from a behavioural perspective. That idea was iconoclastic 50 years ago but it is widely accepted as common sense today.

David’s chief insight into the rhyme and rhythm of trends probably originated from his great love of the arts. More than a few subscribers looked forward to his reviews of the London Philharmonic and the Royal Opera’s performances but it was also that regard for music which helped inspire the exploration of the consistency of trends and how that reflects the crowd.

The one thing I believe everyone who ever met David would have been impressed by was his infectious optimism. He believed in the best in people and the ability of humanity to continue to progress despite the obstacles we put in our own way. Even that is a contrarian view in the financial industry today, where we are assailed with negativity and the view the future will be worse than the past. That optimism, however, was not blind, but tempered by the belief in sustaining power of improving standards of governance. His clear belief in the ability of emerging markets to in fact emerge formed the basis for his long-time optimism on the potential for Asia to develop while never forgetting that “Governance is Everything”. 

I’m reminded of his self-styled Fullerisms which are the soundbites that encapsulated his thinking over the years. His exhortation to “pose as the judge at an international beauty contest” and to “adopt the perspective of the naturalist” are among the most memorable. The simple conclusion that a consistent trend is the most reliable continuation pattern so one should scour the world for the best trends is the rationale behind a global strategy service. Remember “a consistent trend is a trend in motion”.

The view that “markets are manmade resources for us to harvest when the timing is right” was a fringe opinion back when David was starting out and arguably still is today in many segments of the market.

David had no time for theory, he was only concerned with objective facts and believed everything valuable to know about an instrument was right there on the chart, if only we allow ourselves to see it. His ‘mistakes people make with charts’ lesson was aimed at trying to foster the ability to see what is in fact there. His exhortation that “we need to adopt the humility to accept the reality provided by the market” is an appeal to develop the emotional intelligence necessary to know ourselves. That also reminds me of another thing he used to say which “behavioural analysis of markets is not academically difficult, but it is emotionally subtle”.

David’s willingness to go against popular opinion and to air views that were truly iconoclastic is a clear example of his rare ability to be absorbed by the markets, while simultaneously sustaining a big picture perspective. That commitment to rely on the evidence provided by the charts rather than to be ruled by emotions led to some of his best calls and was a constant feature of his commentary.  

David had more than a few ways of highlighting the importance of monetary policy ranging from “Central banks are serial bubble blowers” to “the Fed has killed off more bull markets than all other factors combined”, “bull markets don’t die of old age; they are assassinated by central banks” and “monetary policy beats most other factors most of the time”. A related but opposite sentiment is “happiness in the markets is having the trend and the central bank on your side”.

The thing I miss most is our daily discussions and our shared passion for the markets and everything they represent about the prospects for improvements in the standards of living for billions of people. It is hard to express the Greek term philia satisfactorily in English but the fellow feeling we experienced for one another is not something one hopes to replace and its absence represents a void.

David led by example. He had a deep regard for our subscribers and felt a keen responsibility for their welfare. He spent long hours in the evening perfecting his written copy because for him nothing less than his best work was acceptable. He turned down numerous opportunities to manage money over the years because he believed taking responsibility for other people’s money was too onerous a burden to accept. Instead he took the revolutionary step to tell people exactly what he was doing with his own money, warts and all, so they could draw their own conclusions about to do with their money. That is still not a popular strategy in the market today.

This Service was a vocation for David and it was his fondest wish that it persist without him. It’s as much a vocation for me as it was for David and I look forward to taking it onward for the next generations.










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