The importance of dividends - A bias of Titanic proportions
Where to Now?
OK, not directly related to Q but believe the brand and /or CEO could be inserted in this story in various places. (interesting perspective considering the contents of this thread)
A bias of Titanic proportions
Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. You probably heard about it.
Every major news organisation covered it. Two cruise ships tossed wreaths into the ocean where the ship sank. Apparently, a New York food group re-created the final meal of the ship's first-class passengers. "Something about it is intriguing," the group's chef said.
The Titanic's sinking, which claimed 1500 lives, was a tragedy. But almost no one ever mentions a word about the 1987 sinking of the ferry boat MV Dona Paz, which killed 4375 people. Or the capsizing of the MV Le Joola, which claimed 1863 lives off the coast of Gambia in 2002.
Using 2010 statistics as a reference, 1500 Americans likely died in traffic accidents in the last two weeks alone. No food club will re-create their last meal 100 years from now.
Some stories capture our attention more than others that are objectively bigger and more important. I don't know if there's a name for that, but it should have one. Let's call it the Titanic bias.
The Titanic bias shows up in the financial world all the time. We spend too much time focusing on some financial stories while ignoring others that are more important.
The importance of dividends
Think about this: One thousand dollars invested in the S&P 500 in 1950 would be worth about $78,000 today if you focus on the index alone. But with dividends reinvested, your $1000 actually grew to $622,000 - eight times higher than the index shows.
Over the long haul, dividends provide the majority of returns. That should be the biggest story investors spend their time and energy on. Yet look what gets almost all the attention in the media: daily market swings of a few points here and there, none of which matter over the long term.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) fell a few percentage points on Monday, bringing shares back to where they were literally a few weeks prior. And the media went wild. By my count, nearly 2000 articles referenced Apple's "plunge" - many as front-page stories.
Meanwhile on Monday, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) raised its dividend for the 56th consecutive year, this time by a lofty 7 per cent. Only a handful of news outlets picked up on the news; most were buried by headlines of Apple's one-day hiccup.
For those looking to build wealth, consistently growing dividends are far more important than daily market wiggles. Yet most of us are captivated by the latter. There's your Titanic bias.
Who's really overpaid?
Then there's the Titanic bias that exists when we talk about CEO compensation. The media have become fascinated with overpaid CEOs. Former Home Depot (NYSE: HD) CEO Bob Nardelli was obsessively criticised for taking a severance package worth nearly $200 million after the company's stock fell 40 per cent during his tenure. His pay was the topic of dozens of front-page news stories.
Nardelli was grossly overpaid and deserved the criticism. In Australia we tend to focus on the multi-million dollar remuneration of Rupert Murdoch, Frank Lowy and our bank bosses. But there are more sinister and widespread examples of corporate overpay that go largely unnoticed.
Consider the compensation of money managers.
According to S&P Capital IQ, Nardelli earned $US254 million at Home Depot from 2000-2006. That's 0.8 per cent of the $US32 billion in profits the company earned under his watch.
Compare that with US mutual fund managers. One analysis by Yoseph West of Vuru concluded that management fees collected on equity mutual funds captured one-third of all investor profits from 2000-2010 - and the vast majority of those funds underperformed a simple index fund.
In 2011, US money market funds distributed $US5.2 billion in dividends, but only after collecting $US4.7 billion in management fees, according to the Investment Company Institute. That's nearly half of all income. And as Reuters explained, many of those funds are run by one (highly paid) manager. You call that work?
Another study by David Norman, former CEO of Credit Suisse Asset Management, found that UK investors pay 8 billion pounds a year in hidden fees to financial advisors, capturing upward of one-third of all investor returns. Several years ago I learned that an unsuspecting family friend was being charged 1 per cent a year by a financial advisor to park her money in a product that yielded about 1 per cent a year. The advisor was taking just about everything for himself, in other words. And he called it "work".
Forget Nardelli. Forget the bank CEOs. The real pay scandal is the one Titanic bias shields our attention from, and it's probably affecting you, right now, whether you realise it or not.
It's a terribly complicated world. Whatever you're worried about, frustrated about, or upset about, there's probably a bigger issue out there that deserves your attention. Something about that is intriguing, you might say.
Morgan Housel is a Motley Fool contributor. The Motley Fool's purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691)
As I see it, the operational side of the business keeps the show on the road... carrying a lot of administrators on it's back... Any CEO who hasn't paid a dividend for a while, would be worried.... the institutional share holders may be becoming a little restless?
Australian flag carrier Qantas is still considering Singapore as the base for a premium carrier in Asia, chief executive Alan Joyce said in a report published yesterday.
Qantas’ Asian plans — which it sees as key to its strategy of revitalizing its loss-making international business — were dealt a blow when talks with Malaysian Airlines over the premium joint-venture collapsed last month. Talks with Singapore on the issue had also lapsed, but Joyce told the Australian newspaper that the airline was still looking at a range of options for a premium Asian airline, including the city state.
“This will take a bit longer than we originally thought, but we’re still keen to set up a premium airline in Asia and we’re still looking at a range of options available to us — and Singapore is one of them,” Joyce said. He added that Qantas was still talking to the Singapore government on the idea.
“We work with them on a range of issues and one of them is keeping the door open to the possibility of a premium airline,” Joyce told the newspaper. Qantas holds a 65 percent share of the domestic Australian market, but has struggled with an underperforming international business. It is attempting to refocus on Asia, the world’s fast-growing aviation market, and last month announced a new Hong Kong-based budget airline, Jetstar Hong Kong, which it hopes will be in the air next year.
However, Joyce said that for long-term success, Qantas, which has a weak market share in Asia, needed to participate in the premium end of the regional market.
“Qantas could probably live with it for the next few years, but I’m committed to [the idea] that in the future we have to address it, and the way to address it is to be involved in a premium airline in Asia,” he said. Joyce said while there would be costs associated with establishing a new Asian operation, it was needed to fix the longer-term problem of Qantas being relevant in the region.
“It’s something we have to do in the long-term, but we don’t have to do immediately,” he said.
Qantas’ Asia plans sparked a fierce domestic backlash when unveiled last year, with Australian unions concerned the move would see jobs sent abroad. The ensuing acrimony between management and unions saw Joyce ground the entire Qantas fleet in October, stranding thousands of passengers at airports around the world, digging into the airline’s bottom line.
There is, as always, more than immediately meets the eyes in the announcement today that Bangkok will be a new Scoot destination with daily return flights from Singapore from 5 July, adding to previously announced services between Singapore and Sydney, Gold Coast and Tianjin in northern China. The Bangkok service joins Sydney as one in which the 100% Singapore Airlines owned wide body low fare carrier will compete at both economy and premium service levels with its parent. And it will also take on Singapore Airlines’ minority owned Tiger Airways for the first time on the comparatively short route as well as Jetstar Asia flights between Singapore and Bangkok.
It just gets more confusing.. what's the plan for next week?
It just gets more confusing.. what's the plan for next week?
Tim, The strategy is pretty obvious. Far Q Premium is still on. However, while they are shedding lots of employees in Australia they just can't talk about it out loud. Remember, 'the Asian strategy does not give rise to job losses in Australia'? They don't want any bad publicity like Toyota Australia, do they! It is still the plan, it's just gone underground.
Then, dirty work completed, up pops the new 787 base in Singapore, all sorted and ready to go. [What a surprise!].
Last edited by Captain Gidday; 24th Apr 2012 at 09:24.
I hope AJ doesn't plan to use the "spirit of Australia" line if he gets his wish to base in Singapore; Singapore certainly is not Australia. Alternatively, he could fvck off and try starting his own airline in Asia, just leave our airline alone. Fool!!
In case you missed it, this was in paper yesterday, a public holiday. - (my bold)
QANTAS chief executive Alan Joyce says investors can still make returns out of aviation and defended the company not paying dividends for the past few years.
"Qantas hasn't been paying dividends because of the global environment we've been in and with regards to the importance that we maintain our investment-grade credit rating.," he said.
Speaking at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney yesterday, Mr Joyce said the airline remained focused on turning its international business around.
The value created by its low-cost arm, Jetstar, was as great as the successful Irish carrier Ryanair and Britain's easyJet, Mr Joyce said. "Jetstar today, after seven years, is bigger than Ryanair was after seven years," he said.
Singapore-based Jetstar Asia, in which Qantas invested $80 million, was another example of shareholder value being created, he said.
"Based on Tiger being listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, Jetstar Asia is worth $250m to $300m. That's not a bad return for shareholders in the space of a few years."
Mr Joyce reiterated calls for changes to be made to the Fair Work Australia Act, namely the removal of the prohibitive content clauses. "Before this act came in, there were a whole series of items that you didn't have to talk to the unions about which were general strategy about the company and our ability to have flexibility and to adapt," Mr Joyce said.
Under current laws, Qantas has had to negotiate a series of items around the strategic direction of the company, including restrictions on the airline building infrastructure for future projects.
"One of the proposals was to build a 787 or A380 hangar for aircraft that do not need maintenance until 2025," Mr Joyce said.
The success of Jetstar, Qantas domestic and the frequent-flyer business meant the company's focus remained on the turnaround of its international business after a $200m loss last year.
Mr Joyce compared the international business to the car and steel industries, saying it was a trade-exposed operation with its cost base mainly in Australian dollars, and that had hurt efficiency. "We're implementing a huge change to our core operations, change in the way we do maintenance, change in the way we do catering and change in the aircraft," he said.
Asked if Qantas was making Jetstar international larger at the expense of its international arm, Mr Joyce said millions were being invested in new aircraft and new services to keep customer service at the highest levels.
"We have a capital discipline approach and we will allocate capital to the businesses that are making the return," he said. "But I have a fundamental belief that we can grow Qantas and we can grow Jetstar because I think there is a role for a premium airline and (one) for a low-cost airline."
Memo to Alan, Leigh and Olivia. The enemy is not your employees, it's the mob at the other end of the terminal. You are about to be screwed by a virgin....... Hope the big institutional shareholders like the wacky tabacky that Alan must pass around at investor briefings, to retain their confidence and support. They are going to need a whole lot more if they believe the good ship QF is in expert hands. Virgin sets its compass to Asia
Now lets see where AJ has the Rat placed...serious alienation of most staff, shut down of routes, retirement of aircraft with no replacement, a semi serious competitor on domestic front, selling $1 fares in Japan, a LCC plan that seems to take on all major Asian carriers assuming they will not protect their patch, a premium airline that is being planned with no details and a PR team that feeds lines from GD 10 years ago that are being derided by JB. That about sums it up.
The one part of the puzzle that seems to be a bit unclear is the major deal re NEO engines, presume that fits with frames that may or may not arrive depending on Asian LCC strategy.
This should be fun soon I suspect, as the stars align.
Location: Alabama, then Wyoming, then Idaho and now staying with Kharon on Styx houseboat
QF is suffering a terminal illness called 'death by Joyce'.
After all he was speaking at an Australia/Israel commerce function so maybe he is courting Israel as another potential notch in his Qanstar international plan? To be followed by Zimbabwe, perhaps Iceland and McMurdo Sound.
He should hang his head in shame claiming aviation is still a good investment platform! Give me a break. It would be one of the highest risk investment platforms going. For example, and i am not quoting QF here, hypothetically try combining the risk of accidents, disease outbreaks, war, social unrest, economic downturns, natural disasters and oil instability with let's say an airline management team who are incompetent, rudderless, almost legendary for making loss making decisions, disconnected, out of their league, untrustworthy, sociopathic, unpredictable and peddlers of lies, deceit and self greed and ask yourself would you really risk investing in that, especially if say dividends are never posted, the management team have murdered the companies share value and all they do is talk, talk, talk and more talk while producing - shite! That is what the average aviation investment consists of around the globe.
I bet you're thinking some of those 'Nigerian investment schemes' are looking a lot better right about now?
Cheer up fella's, just imagine what would have happened if Dixon and Jackson had pocketed their 100 mill? One mob who wanted to buy QF has gone broke, Mac Bank are in deep shite, and shedding staff, and poor old QF? Swannie would be wringing his hands, as Elaine begs for money to save 35, 000 jobs, (and his own) Swannie screaming what about my surplus, ahhhhg, Gillard prattling on about going forward, working families, and it the right thing to do, (not saving QF), meanwhile Slipper would be running up bills in A1 with plenty of trips to BKK and MNL, and we would have even a bigger mess than we have now. Great call Dixon, great call, and you almost got your way, so very close. Be grateful fella's, be grateful.