There are always a few types of  business which can profit from a  financial crisis, and it’s been interesting  to watch those who hope to be among  them subtly play their angles.

The bids for attention have sometimes  come from opposite ends of the  risk spectrum.  For instance this month we had  fixed income broker FIIG Securities  herald ‘Government-guaranteed bank  debt’ as the new asset class du jour,  which will trade at a wider spread than  traditional Australian Government  bonds. FIIG said the guarantee “improved the creditworthiness” of the entire fixed income sector. 

In more
exotic territory, Select  Asset
Management loudly proclaimed  an
October-to-October pre-tax return  of
20.77 per cent for its Select Futures  Fund
(that’s right, no minus sign) as  evidence
that managed futures were a  highly
liquid panacea that performed  best in
moments of market stress.  Likewise First
Quadrant, whose  head derivatives trader
Steve Richey  visited these shores last
month, was  using the extremely high
price of  volatility protection as a
springboard  for the firm’s global TAA
fund in to 

, given its rare place as
a seller  of such protection in the
current market  accounted for much of the
fund’s  positive return last year. 

Back in the more traditional  world, van Eyk was telling anyone  who’d listen that the times finally  suited concentrated Australian equity  managers, after years of disappointment  thanks to their higher fees and  inability to get an edge in bull markets.  And guess who can help you select a  couple of them? 

Recessionary times are also a good  time to appeal to the bargain hunters,  and First State Super was among  those doing just that, announcing that  its average member fee of 0.4 per cent  had seen it deemed

’s lowest  cost public offer fund by all three  super ratings agencies.  When sharemarket investors are  near the point of “capitulation” (to use  Jack Brennan’s phrase), they are more  receptive to new narratives. Let’s hope  a few of those being bandied about  stick, because at least the beneficiaries  won’t be sacking anybody 

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