Three Minute Squiz With… Shane Oliver

Shane Oliver is the Head of Investment Strategy/Chief Economist for AMP Capital, and is the man the media go to when something tricky in the financial world needs explaining. Since starting his career in the mid-80s, he’s seen a few things like stock market crashes, recessions, mining booms and a global financial crisis. And when he’s not crunching the numbers, he’s a rev-head who leans towards vegetarianism. Please welcome Shane to this week’s Three Minute Squiz. 

How and where do you Squiz?
Usually on my iPad on the ferry in the morning.

Your commute into the city requires a daily trip on the iconic Manly Ferry. Is it the best public transport route in Australia or has the gloss worn off over time?
It’s often on the Manly Fast Ferry too. I think it’s still the best. No traffic. Sydney Harbour. Who could ask for more?

We hear a lot about the trying economic times we’re in. What’s the one thing thing we should know/drop into dinner party conversation?
That the economic times we’re in are just the mirror image of the high inflation of the 1970s/early 1980s. And like that, this too will pass. Yes, it’s trying, but low interest rates and inflation have been far more positive for our wealth than the high inflation and high rates of three or four decades ago.

Should we be worried about falling home prices?
Only if you bought at the top. After the massive gains in prices since 2012 a pullback was inevitable and healthy.

What emerging market should we keep an eye on?
India – its economy may be small relative to China’s but it’s now growing faster. In the generations to come, it will likely return to being the world’s largest economy.

For anyone looking to get ahead financially, what’s your top tip?
Make the most of the power of compound interest (ie returns that build on themselves), invest for the long term, don’t get blown off course by cyclical swings in markets, turn down the noise around investment markets and maintain a sense of optimism.

What’s the most remarkable market event you’ve seen in your career?
The 1987 share market crash – 25% or so wiped off in a day, 50% in two months… But it just looks like a blip in the historical context of the share market’s rising trend.

We don’t think we’ve met a vegetarian V8 enthusiast before. Have both things been part of your life for long?
I am not a strict vegetarian… but come close. I have been cosmically conscious since my 20s and try to do the right thing by all sentient beings and by the environment. But everyone has a weakness and a V8 is mine.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Well, not kill for… but Nikita Khrushchev, Jane Fonda, Margaret Thatcher, Paul McCartney.

Your favourite writer?
Robin Hobb, The Assassin series.*

The best piece of advice you’ve received?
Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
There isn’t one.

What’s your worst and best habit?
My worst is spending too much time on social media/on my device (yeah, I gotta turn down the noise too!). I do my best to be kind and nice (most of the time).

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
That we are prosperous and live in relative harmony.


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