Glenn Stevens and the pompous Englishman

John Preston wants to know what a pompous Englishman (AKA Ken Veksler) thinks he knows about Glenn Stevens and our economy anyway? (Simple answer – not much)


Just because something is important to you, it does not mean it is important to everyone else.

So, that some screen jockey in the UK described our Central Bank governor Glenn Stevens as “having lost all credibility, if he has any left to lose”…

I couldn’t really care less and neither could the rest of Australia for that matter, I suspect.

When Chief Investment Manager Ken Veksler of Accumen in the UK pompously declared, “If governor Glenn Stevens thought he was giving a masterclass in Central Bank communication, he’s sorely wrong,” I was disappointed that the Herald picked it up as a story.

It isn’t one.

Well, if you say so Ken, but here in Sydney we don’t do masterclasses – we just do stable employment, inflation and financial systems. Which is more than I can say for the wreck that was Britain’s financial system after the GFC.

Maybe, Ken, you might want to open your venetian blinds and take a look?

There is another story, and that is in a very Australian way our Central Bank has done a world-class job of not letting our banks melt down, keeping us in jobs and seeing the economy motoring along in very difficult circumstances over the last decade. Our adulation has been conspicuously absent for this great institution run by highly capable and thoroughly decent individuals, who are very familiar with the concerns of ordinary Australians.

Personally, I think our Central Bank is one of the best in the world, headed by a thoroughly decent governor in Glenn Stevens. He likes the banjo and holds a private pilot’s licence with an instrument rating. And for the price (in salary) of just one million dollars a year, Glen Stevens is nothing less than excellent value as he could work anywhere else for many times that. It is clear he has entered public service at great personal cost.

The Australian economy is in a record-breaking run of uninterrupted growth thanks, in no small part, to the RBA. At one stage of the game in 2010, we had four of the world’s AAA-rated banks. In the meantime, we had wild swings in our national income thanks to a resources boom that has ended not in tears, but in a fairly moderate reorganisation of our economy.

Do you think pulling that off is easy? It’s not. The last resources boom we saw in the late 70s ended in tears with a wages blowout, a deficit blowout and double-digit inflation and unemployment. And that boom was tiny compared to this one.

Years ago we would have sat up and taken notice of the “Kens” of this world, but now we know better to yawn and get on with shaping our institutions that have done us proud. The RBA is certainly one of them.

It’s invisible to us as we go about our daily lives.

That, I suspect, is the way we want to keep it.


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