Economies Need Central Bank Digital Currencies More Than Bitcoin
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Economies Need Central Bank Digital Currencies More Than Bitcoin

According to a global banking watchdog.

By Barbara Kollmeyer
Fri, Jun 25, 2021 12:10pmGrey Clock 2 min

While investors in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may disagree, when it comes to digital money, central banks have the right stuff.

That is according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which has put its stamp of approval on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as it urges those institutions to pick up the pace.

Central banks are perfectly placed to offer “settlement finality, liquidity and integrity. They are an advanced representation of money for the digital economy,” which needs to be designed “with the public in mind,” the global banking regulatory body argued in a study released on Wednesday.

A form of digital money, CBDCs are denominated in the national unit of account, which is a direct liability of that central bank. According to PwC, more than 85% of central banks are currently investigating digital versions of their currencies, with China now in the lead.

The spotlight has increased on digital currencies this year, largely due to the popularity of Bitcoin, which the BIS again criticised, as it brandished cryptocurrencies as speculative assets used at times for financial crimes and ransomware. “Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint,” it said.

Cryptocurrency risks have been evident this year, as Bitcoin has taken investors on a wild ride, with prices down more than 50% from an all-time high of over US$64,000 reached in mid-April.

Neither are stable coins going to work as digital money, said the BIS, describing those as “ultimately only an appendage to the conventional monetary system and not a game changer.”

The BIS’ fresh urgency to get central banks moving comes amid its concerns that Big Tech could get there first as it muscles into financial services. And user data in existing technology businesses such as social media or e-commerce offer those companies a competitive edge. That can lead to a so-called “data-network-activities” loop that creates a vicious circle of “data silos, market power and anti-competitive practices,” it warned.

Left in the hands of central banks, though, CBDCs “could form the backbone of a highly efficient new digital payment system by enabling broad access and providing strong data governance and privacy standards based on digital ID,” it said.

Of course, international collaboration will be paramount, the BIS added. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in May promised his central bank would take the lead in “developing international standards for CBDCs.”



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The Top 10 highest paid CEOs of the ASX 200 revealed

Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Jul 23, 2024 2 min

The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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