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ACC a good investor

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, October 16th, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: ACC, john key - Tags:

The other day, John Key said “ACC’s investment portfolio had not been working well”.

Now, if there’s one golden rule regarding people with power it’s never take what they say for granted. And that’s never been more true than with this Prime Minister.

So, I took a look at ACC’s annual report (Colin Espiner et al, I hope you’re taking notes) and this is what I found:

acc returns

So ACC has outperformed the investment fund benchmark hugely. I wish I could have put $1000 in ACC back in 1992, I’d have $5000 by now. The Fund has held up remarkably well in the face of the credit crisis and it will have grown strongly in the recent months not covered by the annual report.

Key, of course, was lying when he said the investment portfolio had performed badly. That is a scandal but no surprise to anyone who has followed this guy’s behaviour. What is a surprise, and just as scandalous, is that no-one whose job it is to uncover these facts and hold the government to account has discovered or publicised the fact.

Instead it’s left to some guy called Marty G. It’s enough to make you weep.

40 comments on “ACC a good investor ”

  1. tc 1

    Yet another factual and telling piece on the truth behind ACC and the fact it’s in good shape…..that’s why NACT want it privatised so their backers profit. This whole scenario should be showing everyone how compliant (sold out) and irrelevant the media have become.
    When I worked in News and current affairs in the 90’s the catchcry of the head was ‘intellectual rigour’ ‘add to what’s out there’ ‘dig behind the PR spin and press releases’………tuning into the mainstream media that dictate agendas and decide elections via their coverage it’s all intellectual rigormortis and lazy fell good pop culture.
    I despair that these are the crowds deciding our future via their dominance of an out of date yet still influencial mediums they spew content into……maintain the rage kids, it’s the only chance we have.

    • Good comment

      The corporatisation of the media will be its death. It is becoming more and more irrelevant and concentrates on the superficial at the expense of deep analysis.

      With the current state of the world deep analysis and intelligent leadership is vital.

      I feel so let down in NZ …

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      Come on , they interviewed the ‘typewriter’ in the old days as well.
      AS well the wishfull thinking was on Colins blog, which is presume doesnt have the same rigour as a printed piece.

    • Chris 1.3

      Colin Espiner/Duncan Garner et al wouldn’t know what ‘intellectual rigour’ is if it stripped down to its lacy underwear and gyrated in front of them…

      Face it – Espiner/Garner et al are in love with themselves.

      • roger nome 1.3.1

        lol Garner is more worried about getting into the pants of my mates than ACC – he’s a joke.

  2. Lew 2

    I wish I could have put $1000 in ACC back in 1992, I’d have $5000 by now.

    So you wish ACC had been privatised in 1992?


    • sk 2.1

      No, what Marty G is saying is that he wishes he had access with his personal capital to the investment management team that ACC has. Even if ACC was privatised and listed back in 1992, he would not have been able to that. And in all likelihood, if it had been listed back then, it would now be 100% foreign owned – just like the rest of our financial system.

      There is no logic to the privatisation of ACC. What would have happened if it had been privatised, had a different investment team, and they had been invested in CDO’s and credit default swaps. ACC would have been wiped out just like AIG. And the NZ taxpayer would have had to step in. ACC is too big too fail. It should be in state hands. That is the lesson of the credit crisis.

      It never ceases to amaze me how the NZ Right is stuck in the 1980’s

      • Lew 2.1.1

        sk, YHBT, HAND.


        • sk

          Sorry mate, I have no idea what you are talking about – which is par for the course I suppose. I guess you couldn’t follow what I wrote either. Figures. (which is why Kiwiblog is a problem for the Right, inhabited as it is by complete f**** idiots who incapable of thinking about policy in anything but slogans)

          • Lew

            sk, I’m not sure who you think I am or what you think I stand for but this should disambiguate my last comment.

            And as I said: have a nice day.


            • sk

              ok, I get it. Slow learner here.

              Good response though. . .

            • Lew

              sk, no hard feelings. But if you review some of my previous comments on the matter you might revise your assessment of me : )


            • sk

              Lew, absolutely mortified over here. apologies.

              I spend the 90’s out of the country, so have not lived under a National gov’t since 1984. Finding myself getting too worked up . ..

              Conservative is one thing. But these guys are random. And when you read Audrey Young writing that it is ok that Key is populist because Muldoon was also very popular . . .

            • lprent

              sk: Lew is skeptic, who is frequently looking at the counter-factual. Even when you disagree with him (as I frequently do) it usually pays to listen before reacting.

            • sk

              lesson learnt!!

    • indiana 2.2

      Partially yes.

      If I am employer in say the cheese making sector, and I have superior work place safety systems, a nil or extremely low workplace injury rate – but my competitor who is a bit of a cowboy and has very poor workplace safety systems, and a high injury rate. Our levy is based on the the number of injuries in our industry sector. So I end up paying higher levies for these bad guys. If I could self insure my insurance costs would be lower because my premiums are underwritten based on my injury rates and safety practices. A bit like getting a cheaper home insurance premiums if I install deadlocks and an alarm compared to someone who doesn’t. Also I could have possibly negotiated with my insurer cheaper premiums or keep my premiums fixed, year on year if I don’t make any claims. Because I can self insure, I also reduce the workload on ACC and their costs go down – all win win as far as I can. So possibly here privatisation is actually good not bad!

      • Clarke 2.2.1

        Assuming you have a cheese making operation of respectable size you can already self–insure under the existing ACC rules:

        ACC Partnership Programme
        Employers can take up to 90 percent off their ACC levies, if they take responsibility for their employees’ work injury claims.

        The ACC Partnership Programme is more suitable for large employers whose levies exceed $150,000 per year.

        ACC’s website also points out some additional ways you can decrease your levies compared to your unsafe competitor if you are a smaller business, and your argument might have been improved by actually checking on them first rather than simply wheeling out some tired right-wing ideology.

        • indiana

          Yep, I know about this, but I’d rather not pay a single cent. The 10% I pay is still for the silly buggers who keep injuring their employees because I get lumped into an industry group. If my Cheese was made in China, but all I had was the admin in NZ, I’m still lumped in the Cheese industry and pay their levy rate when none of my staff have anything to do with making cheese. The same applies for transport companies who operate call centers, but pay the transport ACC levy or get discounted on that rate, when really they should pay a cheaper rate. So again privatisation looks at what I can influence or control and my insurance premiums get based on that, not across an industry.

          • Clarke

            Your arguments are nothing more than a rationalisation for trying to contract out of your social responsibilities as an employer.

            To extend your proposed approach to its logical conclusion, what’s to stop me setting up a shell company to which all employees are contracted, but which holds no assets, then “self-insuring”? The effect would be that all levies and insurance premiums can be avoided and the shell company simply declared insolvent in the event of a significant claim so that no money is ever paid to an injured employee. It’s a perfect mechanism for privatising profits whilst socialising losses, which seems to be your desired goal.

            Remember, ACC isn’t like a conventional insurance scheme. If you decide to save a few dollars by not insuring your house and it then burns down, you’re the financial loser. However if you decide not to insure your workers against workplace accidents and they’re injured, then they are the losers. And society still has to pick up the costs of those injured people.

            ACC levies aren’t a cost to be avoided, they’re an essential business investment necessary to operate in a civilised society.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        Because I can self insure, I also reduce the workload on ACC and their costs go down

        You’re deluding yourself.

        Firstly, there is always cross subsidisation within insurance – it wouldn’t work if there wasn’t. Secondly, private insurance companies have to make a profit so their costs are increased by that amount. Thirdly, competition requires advertising which again increases costs. Fourthly, a single insurance firm with only part of the market has to increase levies to cover the same relative number of insurance claims. And lastly, the private insurance firm is more likely to take to you court to prevent having to pay out on your insurance directly increasing your costs – I hope you have good lawyers.

        ACC is recognised around the world as one of the most, if not THE most, efficient and cost effective accident insurance systems available.

    • snoozer 2.3

      “So you wish ACC had been privatised in 1992?” lol, very cheeky.

      of course marty means give $1000 to ACC to invest, not buy $1000 of ACC.

  3. BLiP 3

    And herein the crux of the problem – a low-life, scum-sucking good-for-nothing government department doing what the mighty, God-like and perpetually beneficent private banks couldn’t: prudent and sustained investment over a long and difficult period reaping an above-average return.

    No wonder Key’s masters have turned their sites onto ACC: if one government department can do it, then what example does that set for the others and what risk does it present as to the relevance of the money-changers and their plans for future loans to the state?

    Just like the Cullen Fund, ACC is a sitting duck simply because it does its job too well.

    • indiana 3.1

      So if the fund is so great, why have ACC premiums for employees been rising? Should we employees get a reduction in ACC premiums now that there is this super performing fund to cover all potential liabilities?

      • BLiP 3.1.1

        Employers can get huge reductions – they just have to make a concerted effort in regards to safety but, alas, concern for the workers isn’t their strong point. Far easier to sit around, piss and moan waiting for the big-boys to come along and dismantle the existing system in the vain hope that some crumbs will fall from the table.

      • sk 3.1.2

        The issue is that these actuarily assessed liabilities are nothing but sophisticated guesses. They are in no way cast in stone.

        There are issues with coverage, and the last Government was guilty of expanding it beyond what ACC’s capital base could sustain. But that does not excuse the current ‘panic’ or rush to privatise.

        Also, until the global outlook is clearer – for growth and investment returns – making rash decisions on increasing premiums now is very unsound, and potentially costly in terms of inflation, costs for businesses etc

      • Clarke 3.1.3

        Levies have been rising because accidents have been rising and the cost of treating those accidents has been rising.

        ACC’s levy increases have been significantly lower than the huge increases from private medical insurance companies, which does tend to reinforce Marty G’s point that the ACC fund managers have been doing a much better job than their private sector counterparts.

        And best of all, we didn’t have to pay them tens of millions of dollars in bonuses to get them to do that job, for which I – as an ACC levy payer – am immensely grateful.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    “doing what the mighty, God-like and perpetually beneficent private banks couldn’t: prudent and sustained investment over a long and difficult period reaping an above-average return.”

    The banks are the average, so by definition, no, they can’t do better than themselves.

    It would be wonderful if all investment in the world could be gauranteed to be +5% p.a, but of course the world doesn’t work like that. There will always be some above, and some below, and an average.

  5. BLiP 5

    The banks are the average, so by definition, no, they can’t do better than themselves.

    And they all lived hapilly every after. The End.

  6. Ianmac 6

    Does the PM stand by his Word?


    Does the PM stand by his word when he said that the ACC portfolio was not working well? Figures released show that it is running at a 9.9% return at the 17 year rate. What does the PM believe would be a better performance?

    I am very relaxed about everything.

  7. Key, of course, was lying when he said the investment portfolio had performed badly.

    Well, yes, but he is after all from finance. And that means that he only looks at last quarter.

    • snoozer 7.1


      but the last quarter will actually be very good. the fund barely dipped at all, and that was a year ago.

  8. sk 8

    Oh, I get it. Slow learner here. Good points I made in response though.

    This ACC is a big deal.

  9. tc 9

    Ah yes, clarity as I was in the ABC and having toured TVNZ’s facilities at the time I could only describe the culture as so blatantly ratings driven.
    I’m afraid mahreney has to take some blame for how that panned out…..Fraser was a big mistake coumponded by recycling Rick Ellis has made it even more arrogant.
    It’s not the nations voice, it doesn’t even produce content anymore, that’s done by outside production houses.
    Add to that the ambulance chasing /ratings focused chief of news (an ex channel 9 Oz producer) and the die is cast.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Nothing wrong with ratings driven. The ratings for news have been falling like a stone for years, even as the sound bites get shorter, the topics get more frivolous.
    Trouble is the advertisers dont wont anybody over 45. So they have to pitch for the demographic who wants celebrity funerals, dead babies sport punchups and killer storms coming our way.
    gee the news ‘looks’ like all the other shows surrounding it, which isnt by accident

    • Herodotus 10.1

      The reporters are young, attractive & fresh faced they are, and have you noticed the need for a live link of a reporter holding a mike that adds no additional value to the report.
      One of the best channels for informative programmes (And some goog music) was Alt TV. I am surprised that another channel did not pick up on both Mr Drivers (Gingercrunch interviews) and The Sunday News Roast. Evan channel 7 or 97. Anyone from NZ on Air listening?

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1

        “the need for a live link of a reporter holding a mike that adds no additional value to the report”

        Yeah. It hit a new low this week with live crosses to ‘interviews of journos’ outside the private home of the grieving Symes family. Fcking vultures. There was zero need to have the house in the background for what was essentially an overview of the day’s events.

  11. chris 11

    Try applying under OIA for ACC investment results July, August & September. Sharemarkets have been rising in Australia and NZ.

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