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Looking to add further value to your clients and to your business? Our services are designed to complement your existing wealth management proposition.

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Our clients and professional partners benefit from a broad range of opportunities:

Cash investments
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The income and fixed interest securities team provides specialist advice and research across a wide range of listed and unlisted income and fixed interest securities. Attractive cash and income opportunities are available to you and your clients.

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The Morgans corporate team develops new investment opportunities for clients across all asset classes and industry sectors through company IPOs and capital raisings. Your eligible, approved clients may also have the opportunity to take part in our Sophisticated Investor program.

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The Morgans website gives you access to a number of facilities that allow you to look after your clients' portfolios yourself.

Alternatively, if you would rather outsource the management of your clients' portfolios, the Morgans Wealth+ Managed Portfolio Service may suit your needs.

Wealth+ is a reporting and administration service that allows your client to retain ownership of their investments, and enables you to work on the most tax efficient investment outcomes. Wealth+ can also provide a number of reporting solutions to make preparing year-end reports easier for you.

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The scope of choice gives Morgans advisers the ability to offer individual investment strategies, including tailored portfolios for Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs).

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All recommendations are supported by comprehensive internal research and supplemented by external research sources. Our research team covers all aspects of the Australian market, including macro economic strategy views, technical analysis, company research, and sector analysis.

Our technical support and research teams complement each other so as to ensure advisers and clients are kept up to date with the latest investment and retirement strategies.

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Contact us for a confidential discussion

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Mark Davies
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Ben Hatcher
Director of Equities
0417 609 848
[email protected]
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John Lindsay
Head of Adviser & Branch Development
0418 196 694
[email protected]
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Andrew Wilkie
Head of Retail Solutions
0412 779 383
[email protected]
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News & Insights

One year is a long time in politics. After delivering a budget that straddled the right balance between balance sheet repair and fiscal expansion, the 2024/25 budget was delivered with an eye to next year’s election. Tonight’s announcements centred around cost-of-living relief for all and the well-publicised plan for a “Future Made in Australia” promising over $22bn in spending over the next ten years but also bringing higher deficits over the forecast period.

One year is a long time in politics. After delivering a budget that straddled the right balance between balance sheet repair and fiscal expansion, the 2024/25 budget was delivered with an eye to next year’s election. Tonight’s announcements centred around cost-of-living relief for all and the well-publicised plan for a “Future Made in Australia” promising over $22bn in spending over the next ten years but also bringing higher deficits over the forecast period.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ third Budget shows the government is on track to achieve a budget surplus of $9.3bn, a $10bn turnaround on MYEFO that predicted a $1.1bn deficit. The surplus was again driven by a range of upside surprises to revenue, e.g. the strong labour market, solid wage growth and net overseas migration. Tax revenue was considerably higher than the previous forecast, with the government’s tax receipts at 25.8% of GDP - the highest level since 2007.

An improved fiscal position provides scope for the government to increase spending on temporary cost-of-living relief while committing to the “Future Made in Australia” program which involves tax concessions and subsidies to industries the government deems critical to achieving its net zero target. $7.2B has been committed to cost-of-living relief measures including energy rebates and rent assistance. However, there has been no meaningful attempt to tackle structural pressures from NDIS, aged care, and health care, which has seen growth outpace inflation over the past few years.

Ahead of the election next year, this was another chance for the government to demonstrate their economic credentials. With a helping hand from commodity prices and a strong labour market, we think the government has played it safe, opting to leave meaningful structural reform aside. In summary, the measures announced today is unlikely to move the dial on market sentiment.

Key highlights

•        Spending the surplus - At the headline level, a surplus of A$9.2b is expected in 2023-24 (+0.3% of GDP), significantly improving upon the $13.9b (0.5% of GDP) deficit predicted at last year’s Budget. That said, deficits are expected over forward estimates as commodity prices are forecast to ease and unemployment set to rise. Also, extra spending commitments (“Future Made in Australia”, stage 3 tax cuts) will weaken the fiscal position over the forecast period. The

•       Marginally inflationary but no big deal for equity markets – taking everything into account, a surprise surplus, the coming stage 3 tax cuts, a bump in government spending, and some targeted measures to address cost-of-living pressure should not worry investors. Importantly for the market, a strong fiscal position and few inflation-inducing spending measures should also reassure investors that a slowdown is possible without a recession.

•       Few consumption levers pulled this year – A feature of the previous Labor Budget’s such as large one-off cash payments, new welfare programs and tax offsets were notably absent. Instead, energy bill relief and the reworked stage 3 tax cuts are expected to do the heavy lifting on cost-of-living support. Big spending programs were replaced by targeted relief to and low-medium income households such as rent assistance. So this Budget will not provide the sugar hit to retailers we’ve seen over the past few years coming out of COVID.

•       Budget assumptions and a cut expected to net overseas migration – Forecasts provide a low hurdle for the December MYEFO or next year’s pre-election Budget. Key commodities are assumed to decline from elevated levels with iron ore price assumed to decline from US$117/tonne to US$60/tonne by March 2025; the metallurgical coal spot price declines from US$227 to US$140/tonne; the thermal coal spot price declines from US$105 to US$70/tonne. AUD is expected to remain at 65c through the forecast period. The Budget expects net overseas migration to be 395,000 this year, after 528,000 last year. The government forecasts that it will fall to 260,000 next year, to 255,000, and to 235,000 in the following years.

Our thoughts

Labor’s third Budget delivered another surprise surplus for the government leaving some wiggle room to spend ahead of the 2025 election year. While the “Future Made in Australia” promises to drive investment in the green economy, many questions remain about its implementation and effectiveness in competing in industries where we lack a comparative advantage. Implementing the re-cut stage 3 tax cuts and some cost-of-living relief will provide some support for domestic demand, which in our view is mildly inflationary but unlikely to move the dial meaningfully on corporate profitability.

Successive governments have lacked the determination to bring about significant structural reform, chiefly around genuine tax reform, productivity and housing. This Budget is no different. The lack of genuine long-term reform at time when the federal balance sheet has been boosted by elevated tax revenues, a strong job market and cyclically high commodity revenue is a missed opportunity for Labor.

In our view, the Budget is unlikely to bring about significant revisions to corporate earnings, however the ongoing commitment to support the vulnerable parts of the economy should help market sentiment and support earnings confidence. Moreover the surplus has reinforced Australia’s sovereign credit rating which can be viewed as favourable for inbound investment. We also see company dividends as sustainable if economic conditions hold. We prefer a targeted portfolio approach favouring quality (strong cashflow and market position e.g. COL, TWE, DBI, QBE, CSL), sectors linked to higher-for-longer inflation (Energy, Resources) and select cyclicals (MGH, CWP, QAL, BLX, ACF). See our Best Ideas for our most preferred exposures.

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Jim Chalmers talks as if he is delivering a big surplus. Certainly, $9.3 billion sounds like a lot of money. However, last year Australian GDP was an amazingly large $2.6 trillion. The Budget Papers (Table 1.2) show this budget surplus as just a small budget balance of 0.3% of GDP. Of course, a budget balance of 0.3% is better than no balanced budget at all.

Jim Chalmers talks as if he is delivering a big surplus. Certainly, $9.3 billion sounds like a lot of money. However, last year Australian GDP was an amazingly large $2.6 trillion. The Budget Papers (Table 1.2) show this budget surplus as just a small budget balance of 0.3% of GDP. Of course, a budget balance of 0.3% is better than no balanced budget at all.

This Budget seems to have been produced with detailed election polling in mind. There is something for everyone. There is a handout or a hand-up for every identifiable voting group. The Budget gives the government the flexibility to launch into an election campaign almost any time in the next year. Right now, in this document, almost every interest group is taken care of.

This is important because the major economic parameters tells us that the economy is softening. GDP growth for 2023-24 is only 1.75%. This is down from 3.1% in 2022-23. As a result, unemployment is expected to rise to 4% in the middle of 2024 and 4.5% by the middle of 2025. This unemployment of 4.5% stays at this level for three consecutive financial years up to and including 2026-27.

The result of this continued period of higher unemployment is that inflation falls. Still, it takes until the middle of 2027 for the RBA inflation target of 2.5% to be achieved. This low inflation is bought at the cost of a weak demand for labour.

Outlook for the Terms of Trade

The good news that has been delivered over the last couple of years in the shape of balanced budget has been achieved as a result of the highest terms of trade that has ever been recorded. Budget Paper 1, page 67, tells us that the terms of trade is forecast to decline from here over the next three years. The terms of trade is expected to stabilise in 2025-26 at around the average level of the past 15 years. Commodity prices are assumed to reach their long-term levels by the end of the March quarter 2025.

As we said, this is a budget which has something for everyone. The overwhelmingly largest function of expenditure is Social security and welfare. This accounts for spending of $266.7 billion, or 36.3% of outlays. Next comes Health with $112 billion, or 15.3% of outlays. Education comes next with $53 billion, or 7.2% of outlays. Following these is Defence with total expenditure of $48 billion, or 6.5% of expenditure.

The estimates of the increases in Australian General Government Expenses by Function show some very interesting movements. Of course, the largest total increase is Social security and welfare, with an increase of $14.35 billion. However, what is interesting in these numbers is the percentage changes.

By far the biggest percentage increase is spending on fuel and energy. These are subsidies for keeping prices low. The fuel and energy sector is seeing increases in expenditure of 51.6%. This is an increase in spending of $6.84 billion. The next big percentage of increased spending is Housing and community amenities with an increase of 25.7%. This is a total increase in spending of $2.044 billion.

Final thoughts

Jim Chalmers talks as if he is delivering a big surplus. The Budget Papers (Table 1.2) show this budget surplus as just a small budget balance of 0.3% of GDP. Of course, a budget balance of 0.3% is better than no balanced budget at all.

This Budget seems to have been produced with detailed election polling in mind. There is something for everyone. There is a handout or a hand-up for every identifiable voting group. The Budget gives the government the flexibility to launch into an election campaign almost any time in the next year. Right now in this document, almost every interest group is taken care of.

This is important because the major economic parameters tell us that the economy is softening. GDP growth for 2023-24 is only 1.75%. This is down from 3.1% in 2022-23. The result of this is that unemployment is expected to rise to 4% in the middle of 2024 and 4.5% by the middle of 2025. This 4.5% of unemployment stays at this level for three consecutive financial years.

Perhaps the government will want to move to an election before this period of weak employment and higher unemployment really sets in.

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From a Wealth Management perspective, this Budget is a non-event. Any significant announcements have already been made, particularly in relation to taxation and superannuation. Feedback to the government from Industry and Associations has largely been ignored. Nothing to see here.

From a Wealth Management perspective, this Budget is a non-event. Any significant announcements have already been made, particularly in relation to taxation and superannuation. Feedback to the government from Industry and Associations has largely been ignored. Nothing to see here.

In Summary

Taxation

The amended Stage Three tax cuts legislated earlier this year will apply from 1 July 2024. The original (Coalition) Stage 3 tax scale was amended to:

  • Reduce the 19% rate to 16% on income up to $45,000
  • Reinsert a 37% rate on income between $135,000 and $190,000 (previously 30%)
  • Bring the top rate of 45% to apply from $190,000 (previously $200,000)

Superannuation

  • From 1 July 25, under the previously announced “Better Targeted Superannuation Concessions” legislation – also known as Div296 tax - a proportion of earnings on total super balances exceeding $3 million will attract an additional tax of 15%. Refer to our Morgans technical paper on how this tax will apply.
  • Announced in last year’s 2023 Federal Budget, employers must pay superannuation at the same time they pay salary and wages to employees.

Small Business

  • The instant asset write-off asset threshold of $20,000 will be extended for another year to 30 June 2025.
  • Eligible small businesses will receive $325 in electricity bill relief throughout the year via an electricity rebate.
  • In addition to the instant asset write-off, small and medium businesses switching to energy-efficient equipment or facilities can obtain additional (accelerated) depreciation deductions of 20%.

Cost of Living Relief

  • From 1 July 2024, households will receive a total rebate of $300 on their electricity bills throughout the year.
  • The maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance will increase by a further 10% over the next five years. This is in addition to the 15% increase delivered in September last year.
  • In response to the Australian Universities Accord, the Government will cap the HELP indexation rate to be the lower of either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index. This relief will be backdated to 1 June 2023. Changing the calculation of HELP indexation applied from 1 June 2023 means that the indexation rate is reduced from 7.1% to 3.2% in 2023 and from 4.7% to around 4% in 2024.

Aged Care

  • The Government has committed to funding the Fair Work Commission decision to increase award wages for aged care workers. This is on top of $11.3 billion already allocated for the interim 15% increase.
  • The Government will invest $531.4 million to release an additional 24,100 Home Care Packages in 2024–25.
  • The My Aged Care Contact Centre will receive $37 million to reduce call-waiting times for people seeking information and access to aged care.

Welfare Recipients

  • The deeming rates (currently 0.25% and 2.25%) used to assess income under the Income Test for welfare recipients will remain at current levels until 30 June 2025.
  • The government intends to boost assistance for Veterans by providing funding for additional staffing resources and to protect against cyber risk. Funding will also be provided for Veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation legislation.
  • In addition, $48.4 million will be available for Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing programs and $10.2 million to provide access to funded medical treatment for ill and injured veterans while their claims for liability are processed.

Paid Parental Leave Scheme

  • From 1 July 2025, superannuation will be paid on the 20 weeks of government-funded parental leave. Parents of babies born on or after 1 July 2025 will receive 12% superannuation on top of their government-funded parental leave.

Working for Women

  • The government is introducing a national strategy to achieve gender equality titled “Working for Women: A Strategy for Gender Equality”.
  • The strategy is intended to drive action on women’s safety, sharing and valuing care, economic equality, women’s health and leadership, representation and decision making.

The Omissions

The wish lists from industry participants were ignored, which as we have come to expect is disappointing but not surprising. No mention of improved tax deductibility on financial advice. Nor any mention of advisers having access to the Australian Tax Office portal to better help their clients. Once again, financial advisers have been left on the bench in relation to easy solutions that can better equip them to support and sustain the financial wealth of Australians.

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