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Ron Lesh

Victoria – The place no one wants to be – Part 2

By UncategorisedOne Comment

I have not written for a while about the depressing situation in Victoria. For those in the other states, believe me when I say “depressed” is an understatement of the way people in Victoria feel. Angry, frustrated, over it – I could go on and on.

The question I keep asking myself is how did it get to be this bad? How did Melbourne go from the world’s most livable city to the world’s most locked down city, and why or how did we let this happen?

Well, let’s look at the how first – how did this happen? Last night our Chief Health Officer (CHO) Brett Sutton told us he had no choice but to lock Melbourne down for 246 days. Really? No choice? Then why did the CHO’s in 1,170 cities (with populations of more than 500,000) not feel they had no choice but to lock down their cities? Why only Melbourne? I think the record lockdowns have more to do with your competency than anything else. YOU could not find other solutions. YOU only had one card in the pack – lockdown. lockdown, lockdown. You have destroyed Melbourne. All the things that were great – sporting events, theatre, restaurants, shopping – all gone – under YOUR watch. That will be your legacy as CHO

And then there is SlugGate. For those who are not aware of SlugGate, Sutton closed down a food business because a slug was found in their food kitchen. However the slug appears to have been planted by a council Inspector. The matter is before the courts but check out the link for more info. If these charges are proven, and it looks like they will be, Sutton will be remembered not only for being incompetent and totally out of his depth (obviously) but also corrupt.

But Sutton would not have been able to lock down Victoria for 246 days, without the complicity of our Dear Leader. Sutton and Andrews will both be remembered as the people who destroyed Melbourne and killed 802 Victorians through their bungled hotel quarantine. Everyone seems to forget that according to the Victorian Health Department Organisational Chart, Sutton was in charge of hotel quarantine. Why was he not sacked? Does he know too many dirty little secrets?

Why has Andrews not resigned? Gladys Berejiklian resigned when an inquiry was announced – that took guts. Andrews has no guts. He does not take any responsibility for anything, yet he is the man in charge. All this happened under his watch. 246 days of lockdown. 802 + deaths. The most cruel and debilitating restrictions in the world – restrictions that make no sense and some that even help spread COVID-19.

Let me name a few – golf, fishing, boating, tennis, lawn bowls, playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor exercise equipment – all shut down? Why? What’s the logic? Yet building workers can play on their sites throughout the whole pandemic (save 2 weeks)? Why? Because Andrews needs money from the building unions to get re-elected.  And why are we forced to wear masks outside when your risk of catching COVID-19 outside is so low? When governments enact stupid laws or regulations the people eventually say – enough is enough.  In Victoria this has taken far too long.

And then along came Victoria Police. When I grew up, I was taught to respect the police. I was taught the police were there to protect me. Boy how things have changed. The Victoria police have become bullies. They have lost the respect of the community. When police throw little old ladies to the ground and then spray them with pepper spray, brutally throw citizens talking to police to the ground, swarm and attack protestors with rubber bullets and tear gas, they lose the respect of the community. I know not all police are like this but there would appear to be a culture of brutality in the Victorian police that I have never seen before in my lifetime. When the police are being used as political enforcers’ by Andrews to enforce dumb laws enacted by an incompetent CHO, their ability to police disappears. And this has happened in Victoria. The people of Victoria no longer respect the police and this, I think, is a real problem for our future.

The incompetence and ineptitude of Andrews and Sutton was certainly the main cause of the Victorian devastation – but the other complicit organisations are the media. Where is the media scrutiny we expect in a democracy? Where is investigative journalism? Most of the media are just cheerleaders for the incompetents. They should be the ones out there questioning how thes 2 incompetents have handled COVID-19 in Victoria not sucking up to them to get the next exclusive. And why is the Andrews government the only government in Australia that does not provide transcripts of press conferences? Isn’t the reason obvious? This way he can’t be fact checked.

I mentioned earlier there were two things I think this inept state government did or didn’t do that actually contributed significantly to the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria. The first thing is the curfew. The curfew forces people to all go out at the same time meaning more people are compacted in more places to spread the virus. Look at the crowds in the parks (not a problem) and the supermarkets. And then there is the total inability of this hopeless government to implement a contact tracing system that works. Contact tracing in Victoria has not worked since day one. This is the No. 1 reason Victoria is in the mess it is in today. This is why the case numbers have gone up. Contact tracing is at least two weeks behind – so yes – it is absolutely useless.

The other thing that concerns me is the scare, scare, scare. Everything still seems to be about case numbers. Case numbers are irrelevant as 99%+ of people who get COVID-19 have no or mild symptoms. Less than 1% of cases end up in hospital or the ICU. (PS: Remember the 4,000 ICU beds Andrews promised in March 2020 – searching, searching, searching – can’t find them? Neither can I).

Apart from the lack of honesty, integrity and leadership from Andrews, the thing that annoys me the most is the lack of accountability. Everything is everyone else’s fault. It is like a child in the playground – he did it, he did it – not me, When the numbers go up it is because we had Grand Final parties (BTW: with contract tracing two weeks behind, there was NO evidence Grand Final parties spread the virus) or we didn’t follow his inane rules. Always everyone else’s fault. Real leaders take responsibility. All of you do in your businesses.

The lockdown policies in Victoria have been a complete failure. The incompetence of Andrews, Sutton and the government is breathtaking.

A quick comment about vaccinations. I am fully vaccinated but I strongly oppose mandatory vaccination. How dare these government officials tell me or you what to put in your bodies.

I am really scared for the future of my children. One son already lives in the UK and another is thinking of joining him. They don’t want to live in Victoria like the 43,000 other now ex-Victorians that have left between the start of the pandemic and 31 March 2021. Many more will leave once they can – and I will probably be one of them. Who wants to live in a place that is so depressing when you have a choice?

So where is the future? I do not think Victoria will recover until Andrews, Sutton and Sally Capp (Melbourne’s Lord Mayor) are all gone. No one has confidence in any of them. Capp has destroyed movement in and out of the city with crippling bike lanes, removal of 1,000’s of parking spaces and a proposed new access fee. This on top of the parking space tax. Andrews and Sutton have destroyed business in Melbourne. So many empty shops and restaurants and how many other businesses that will never return.

There will be no change unless YOU are prepared to make it happen. Most of the media are complicit. It is time for you to take a stand!

Victoria – the place no one wants to be!

By BGL Update8 Comments

I used to live in the once great state of Victoria, Australia.

But after 6 lockdowns, this once great state is a shadow of itself.

I am really angry about the scaremongering from the politicians and the media.

Every weekday, I listen to the 8.30 news and all I hear about are infection numbers – scare, scare, scare. They don’t tell me how many people are actually sick or how many are in hospital or how many are in ICU, but they definitely tell me when someone (unfortunately) dies, but not whether they died with COVID-19 or from COVID-19. Scare, scare, scare!

So, let’s first look at the facts.

There has been 37,013 people infected with COVID-19 in Australia from a population of 25,825,438. 30,462 have fully recovered. 5,538 (99%) have a mild condition. Just 70 (1%) are in a serious or critical condition. There has been a total of 943 deaths. My source, before you say he is making these figures up, is https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/australia/. By the way, I should say, more COVID-19 tests have been performed than the population of Australia, costing us some $1.7b. Wow!

So less than .0014% of the Australian population have been infected and on the scale of deaths per million of population (37) we are 168th in the world.

Some people might say this proves our politicians have done a great job – but have they really? You cannot measure performance on just one statistic – so let’s look at a few others….

Mental health of our children is at an all-time low. Kids Helpline data tells us attempted suicide rates among Victorian teenagers have skyrocketed by 184 per cent in the past six months. Teenagers aged 13-18 are the most at risk, accounting for 75 per cent of the total crisis interventions from 1 December 2020, to 31 May 2021. 44% of Victorian emergency interventions from 1 December 2020, to 31 May 2021, were responding to a young person’s immediate intent to suicide, while child abuse emergencies triggered 31 percent. More than 13,000 calls were made by suicidal children last year, including 1,150 with “immediate intentions’’ or a current attempt to kill themselves. Check out the story on news.com.au. So, while our politicians may have protected some people in our community, they have not protected our children…

What about adults? Business people who cannot put food on the table for their families? Business employees who have lost their jobs with businesses that will never return? Politicians seem to think you can turn off and on business like a water tap. Maybe if just ONE had actually worked in a business, they would know better.

Recent ABS data gives us some idea of the extent of the problem. In June 2021, one in five (20%) Australians experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in the last four weeks. Almost one in three (30%) younger Australians (aged 18 to 34 years) experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in June 2021. In June 2021, more people living in Victoria (27%) experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress compared with the rest of Australia (18%).

Before COVID-19, the cost of mental illness to the economy was $60b each year. What is it now?

Small businesses have been decimated. Our governments have introduced schemes to help our small businesses but in reality, most of these are just spin, spin, spin. The grants and loans are simply impossible for most small businesses to get. Again, let’s look at some statistics from the City of Melbourne. Economic output is down 22%. Job losses are up to 75,000 or 15%. Our Lord Mayor Sally Capp should be very proud of herself. Here, hopeless policies around parking and bike lanes, unsafe injecting rooms and her refusal to clean up the streets has turned the City of Melbourne into a ghost town. Check out the stats at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au.

And this is just the city. The cost of the lockdowns to debt ridden Victoria is $150m per day. And we certainly are not All in this together. Our politicians and public servants have had two pay rises since March 2020 whereas the cost of the lockdowns have been borne 100% by business, employees of businesses and the self-employed. 100%. Not 50%, or 75% but 100%. We are definitely NOT All in this together.

But probably the most disheartening thing for me is what this country has become. What has happened to our compassion? The Andrews government lockdowns are brutal and cruel and far worse than they have to be. When I hear of a woman with a baby and her child in a car at the Victorian / NSW border being turned away when she wanted to go less than 100 kms to a farm to isolate or a small business woman who calls the Victorian Government Business Help Line and is recommended a Stress Down program, one has to wonder: our politicians and public servants are simply out of their depth and have lost the plot. When you have clown premiers saying Queensland hospitals are for Queenslanders and a child who lives in Tweed Heads cannot cross the border for treatment and subsequently dies, I wonder what has happened to common sense. What has happened to our compassion?

So, what’s the solution? Well I wish someone were listening. Our politicians and public servants are blinkered. All they care about is 0 0 0. They don’t care about people. They don’t care about what the lockdowns are doing to people. They think they can buy their way out by promising money – that is never delivered. The emergency power legislation in Victoria calls for a proportionate response to a medical crisis. So where is the medical advice? Why has NOT ONE PIECE of medical advice been published? The response in Victoria has not been proportionate. It has been cruel and brutal. There is no compassion.

As one of the lucky few whose business has not been overly affected by this government-caused crisis, I am very thankful. But rolling lockdowns have sapped the confidence of what once was a vibrant city. The people of Victoria are fed up.

Our governments keep relying on models. Models that told us in March 2020 150,000 Australians would die from COVID-19. Models that have been wrong time after time after time not only with COVID-19. Models, models, models. And as all the model-creating experts keep saying, they do not know what effect any single restriction has on their models. So really, the models are rubbish. They don’t actually tell us anything. So, what should we do?

A couple of thoughts: If we only isolated people with COVID-19 (or people who are sick), how would this affect the models? Nobody knows.  If we locked down suburbs or communities, how would this affect the models? Nobody knows. And there must be 100 more ways to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. But nobody knows. Because we have not tried. Because lockdowns are easy and scared people seem to love being locked down.

A recent survey in Victoria revealed 38% think if they get COVID-19 they will die. That’s right – 38%! Not surprising considering there’s only scare, scare, scare it’s the 6.30 news! Maybe we should go the way of the UK and Singapore and stop the media reporting COVID-19 numbers? And maybe we need to set a Freedom Day?

Australia is in a mess. Our politicians are oblivious. They don’t know and most don’t care as long as they get their paycheck every month.  The only way they will change what they are doing to us is if 1,000,000 people protest in the streets – like the Vietnam protests many years ago. But of course, today standing still out in the open – is illegal!

APIs should be free!

By Homepage, In the MediaNo Comments

This is an opinion piece

I think charging for APIs that allow clients to access THEIR data is wrong.

It’s becoming a trend – a bit like buying disparate businesses – companies desperate for revenue decide to charge for access to their APIs. We are seeing more and more of this these days.

APIs for those who don’t know are gateways into your data. They are used by multiple software businesses to connect your apps together.

BGL made a decision on Day 1 of our cloud products that we would not charge for our API. We have reasonably simple rules around who can use the API – but the determining factor of whether the access is available is decided by authorisation from our clients. We authorise the connection – the client authorises access.

I find it interesting however some software companies think they are entitled to a share of revenue earned by the business accessing their API. How ridiculous! The data belongs to the client. The client is being charged a fee for the service provided. And now the client is being asked (and in the end the client will pay for this) to pay for the same data twice. What a racket. It’s almost an exhortation!

So if you are in our industry and your supplier decides to charge your connections (auditors, document providers, other services) for access to their API, please come and talk to us. We are happy to convert your data for FREE and even give you 6 months free to move to our solutions.

BGL achieves industry leading results for Customer Support!

By BGL Update, Culture, In the Media, TechnologyNo Comments

BGL is 14.7 hours faster at first support replies and 54 hours faster at providing a full resolution!

BGL introduced Zendesk as its technology solution for client support in mid-2018. Since that time, the BGL Team has worked to implement Zendesk in all areas of the BGL business, replacing old help databases, telephone support systems and, giving BGL the ability to add chat support.

Zendesk recently provided BGL with performance comparisons. The data showed BGL was 14.7 hours faster at first support replies and 54 hours faster at providing a full resolution to client problems than those in similar industries. 

“These results are amazing and were achieved through the skills and expertise of our Support, Client Success, Account Management and Data Services Teams” said Ron Lesh, BGL’s Managing Director. “I am really proud of our teams and their commitment to providing clients with excellent customer service”.

“I am also really impressed with the work of our Documentation Team” added Lesh. “27.74% of our clients took a first look at our documentation to try to resolve their queries – this is 21.71% higher than the industry benchmark of just 6.03%”.

“This is one of the reasons BGL won the 2020 National Australian Achiever for Excellence in Customer Service” noted Lesh. “We understand it does not matter how good a software is if customer service is bad. At BGL, our focus has always been on providing the best software and remarkable client experiences.

Zendesk Support is integrated with BGL’s software platforms CAS 360, Simple Fund 360, and Simple Invest 360, giving users access to Live Chat with a member of our team and the ability to log a  telephone support call without leaving our applications helps to provide our clients with a seamless support experience.

Find out more about BGL’s omnichannel customer support: bglcorp.com/hub/support/

BGL recognised as the 6th best technology workplace in Australia & New Zealand

By BGL Update, Culture, In the Media, Industry, NewsNo Comments

BGL Corporate Solutions, developer of Australia’s leading SMSF administration and ASIC Company Compliance software solutions, is proud to announce it has been recognised on 2021 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work List as the 6th best technology workplace in Australia & New Zealand.

“We are honoured to rank #6 on the technology list from nearly 700 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand” says Ron Lesh, BGL’s Managing Director. “The assessment, conducted by Inventium, requires a written submission from BGL and a Team survey, with questions relating to policies, practices, and programs at BGL. The methodology is underpinned by Inventium’s Workplaces of the Future framework, which identifies ten key factors critical to employees feeling motivated and engaged at work”.

“This is an absolutely fabulous achievement by the BGL Team and especially our People and Culture Team”, added Lesh. “Over the past 30 years BGL has grown to become the leading provider of SMSF administration and ASIC company compliance software solutions in Australia and we would not be here without our amazing team of 170+ committed professionals. We believe great goals can only be achieved with inspired and passionate people! This award recognises our efforts and practices to provide our staff with a safe, flexible, inclusive, and friendly work environment, where they feel inspired, motivated and produce amazing results for our clients”. 

“Inventium is proud to announce the 2021 Best Places to Work list in conjunction with the Australian Financial Review. We have undertaken extensive research into what truly makes a brilliant workplace and we are thrilled to recognise many organisations who are leading the way with innovative practices that drive key elements such as flexibility, wellbeing, and equality”, Inventium said.

ABOUT THE AFR BOSS BEST PLACES TO WORK LIST 

The AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list recognises and ranks the best places to work in Australia and New Zealand, by industry, and is the premier list of its kind. The list is judged and compiled by Inventium – Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy, using unique research-based methodology. In 2020, the list comprised ten industry lists, compiled from nearly 700 nominations. More info

ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW 

For more than 50 years The Australian Financial Review has been the authority on business, finance and investment news in Australia. It has a reputation for independent, award-winning journalism and is essential reading for Australia’s business and investor community. The Australian Financial Review is owned by Fairfax Media Limited [ASX:FXJ], a leading multi-platform media company in Australasia. More info

ABOUT INVENTIUM 

Inventium is Australia’s leading behavioural science and innovation consultancy. Inventium applies the latest findings from science to help organisations unlock growth through innovation and to create brilliant workplaces that get the very best out of their people. Inventium is the official methodology partner of the AFR Boss Best Places to Work List and the AFR Boss Most Innovative Companies list. More info

ASIC finally admits SMSF fact sheet was – WRONG!

By Homepage, In the Media, Industry, UncategorisedNo Comments

I have said many times that ASIC’s “Are SMSFs for you?” fact sheet was wrong. The use of ATO data to produce a document that was clearly misleading my view was ridiculous.

Well finally the ASIC Chair has now admitted to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics that it failed when this so called fact (I would call it factless) sheet was published.

BGL has been saying based on data for over 200,000 SMSFs the cost of running an SMSF is somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. It can be higher and it can be lower – it depends – but it is certainly it is NOT the $13,900 published in ASIC’s factless sheet.

I could say “I told you so” but I won’t!

Check out the article below for more info.

https://www.smsfadviser.com/news/19866-asic-admits-failures-in-smsf-operating-costs-fact-sheet

PS: Love Tim Wilson’s comments….

2020 was a mad year – but I am so proud of what the BGL Team achieved…

By BGL UpdateNo Comments

2020 was a mad year.

I think we are all happy it is behind us.

But, during 2020, I was really proud of what the BGL Team achieved.

Let me first look at the CAS 360 Team.

There were 17 software releases with over 400 new features released.

Just think about that – 1 software release every 3 weeks and over 1 new feature every day of the year!

Second, let’s look at Simple Fund 360.

There were 42 major software releases with 100’s of new features released. These include:

  • Simple Fund 360 – 15 releases
  • Simple Fund  360 Workpapers – 2 release
  • Simple Invest 360 – 7 releases
  • Simple Fund Mobile – 4 releases
  • GuestTrack by BGL – 12 releases

And these are just the major releases!

Apart from the work of these 2 teams, the Training and Documentation Team were tasked with updating the documentation and training materials for both products. These guys did an amazing job keeping up with the speed of development of the CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 product teams.

And last, but not least, let’s include the fantastic work of the BGL IT Team. The BGL IT Team released myBGL and a huge amount of internal development during the year. This team also made numerous software releases of both myBGL and to other internal systems.

Not a bad effort from 3 of the sensational teams at BGL.

Working from home the Teams proved they are consummate professionals.

I am so proud of what was achieved in a very difficult year. I am so proud of each and every one of you!

 

The future of BGL’s Simple Fund Desktop

By BGL Update, Homepage, NewsNo Comments

Below is an email I sent to Simple Fund Desktop clients today.

If this affects you, please speak to your BGL account manager

************************************************************************

I am writing to advise you of the future of your BGL Simple Fund Desktop software.

As you would be aware, there will be a number of significant changes to superannuation law in the 2021 calendar year. These changes include indexation of the pension cap of $1.6m, Superstream Rollovers and the ability to have 6 members in an SMSF.

BGL has made the decision to not make these changes to Simple Fund Desktop and therefore 30 June 2021 will be the last tax release of Simple Fund Desktop.

BGL launched Simple Fund Desktop in 1997. This software has had an incredible life but eventually all good things must come to an end.

BGL will continue to support Simple Fund Desktop clients. No date for the cessation of support has been set and we know it will take a while for all clients to move to Simple Fund 360.

What’s next?

Simple Fund 360 is the natural move for Simple Fund Desktop clients. Migration is seamless and ALL data and reports are migrated from Simple Fund Desktop to Simple Fund 360, meaning you do not lose ANY of your valuable data.

To prepare for your transition to Simple Fund 360, it’s best to start early by:

  1. Reaching out to your Account Manager
  2. Preparing your funds for migration
  3. Signing up to Simple Fund 360
  4. Setting up your data feeds

My Account Management and Client Success Team are here to help make your move absolutely seamless. I have asked them to reach out to you in the coming weeks to help you get started but if you would like to contact us, please call on 1300 654 401.

Finally, let me thank you for being a Simple Fund Desktop client. For many of you, I know Simple Fund Desktop has been a part of your lives for a very long time. I hope Simple Fund 360 will help you continue this remarkable experience

Early release of super makes a difference

By BGL Update, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

This has been a tumultuous year for BGL, our clients and the superannuation industry.

During the year, the government introduced another super early release scheme – this time in response to COVID-19.

I have asked our friends at mProjections to do a couple of calculations to demonstrate the impact of a withdrawal and how to engineer a higher retirement. Please check these out.

Example 1

Phillippa, 29, worked in the hospitality industry with 2 jobs, total income (pre Covid) of around $55,000pa, pre-tax. She is single and had built up a Super balance of $25,000.

Shortly after loosing one of those jobs, she withdrew $8,000 without thinking about the consequences to super. Her Super had been invested in a typical ‘Balanced’ Investment Option with 65% in growth assets.

Using the mProjections Report, Philippa moved her post-withdrawal balance to a High Growth Investment Option (85% in growth assets). She saw that, before withdrawal, she would have $55,194 pa annual retirement income for 25 years, but with a move to High-Growth – without additional contributions – she would enjoy a $57,415 projection. Most importantly, her upside for a considerable improvement in retirement spending would increase.

 

Example 2

Jonathan works as an electrician in the western suburbs of Sydney and had his hours reduced to 20 hours per week for 3 months. He decided to withdraw $8,500. Using figures in our Report, he saw how to increase his $79,747 tax-free pre-withdrawal retirement projection by moving the balance of his fund to a High Growth Investment Option and a consequent retirement income projection of $82,442.

He also noted the greater likelihood of upside. ‘Low’ here is 15% of assets in growth.

 

If you would like to prepare an mProjections report for your clients, check out their website.

 

From the desk of the BGL Managing Director | 2020 in Review

By BGL Update, HomepageNo Comments

We are nearly at the end of 2020, and what a year it has been. It is certainly not a year I want to remember and the sooner we get (in my opinion) to 2021 the better.

BGL has a lot to be thankful for this year. Your support of my team and I has been fantastic and we all really appreciate it.

Working from home, Zoom meetings, doom and gloom from our media, has made our lives difficult. The winding back of restrictions, especially in Victoria, is well overdue.

We decided to close the BGL office for 3 weeks from 21 December 2020 to 8 January 2021 (inclusive). My team needs this time to refresh and recover from what has been a tough year. Very few have had any time off during the year.

I am looking forward to 2021 and the gradual opening up of Australian business. I feel very sad for so many small businesses that are not able to reopen. As a small business owner, my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

For BGL, 2021 will be very exciting. With the release of our 3rd cloud product Simple Invest 360 and some amazing developments coming from our product teams, 2021 will provide a heap of opportunities for clients and our Team.

I would like to sincerely thank the BGL Team that has grown to over 170 through 2020. The work you do and the service you provide our clients is invaluable.

Last, I would like to thank each and every one of YOU for being BGL clients in 2020. I hope we have lived up to your expectations.

Please have a safe and happy festive season and a prosperous 2021!