Who’s taking your money? Every day, someone else takes your money from you, or you give it to them; depending on whether you pay by cash or EFTPOS… Who are these companies who take your money, and how do you get it back?

As a father to four children, and an ardent chef, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of my money at the grocery shop… A lot of my income also goes towards the cost of shelter, and that other necessity of life… No, not clothing; mobile phones.

Food, glorious food.

Seeing as how I choose to give Woolworth’s $900 each month in exchange for food, it makes sense that I should own a share of the company that I support. That way, I could at least get SOME of my money back.

Securing my shelter entails payments to the local council (rates, water, land taxes etc), bank interest and also house and contents insurance. Fortunately, I get a better deal on my insurances by insuring where I bank, so the one company takes my money for all three, and I own a part of them in return.

Clothing, well, most of my stuff is corporate wardrobe, so I definitely have ownership in that company, and if I was working for myself you can bet that I would STILL have my company name emblazoned on my chest… This would be for reason of tax deductibility rather than vanity. Vanity and pretty clothes is my wife’s department, which is why I ensure that I own portions of those companies also.

LEGAL WARNING: Before investing into any company, make sure that you do your homework, to make sure that the company is good and selling for a reasonable price. Also, get professional advice before you invest.

Invest where you spend, sounds easy… is it?
Sometimes it is relatively easy to invest where you spend. You may bank with the Commonwealth and have your mobile phone with Telstra, so one quick phone-call and you can buy shares in these two companies. But what about companies who don’t trade under the same name that they sell under? You may recognise that General Electric makes your toaster and your light bulb, but did you know that the US juggernaut also owns Australian Myer Card, Wizard Home Loans, AVCO Finance and Australian Guarantee Corp (AGC), among others?

Let’s have a look in Australia and find out who is the name behind the brands, that is, “who is taking your money” and where you should possibly invest to get it back.

“Lucky, you’re with AAMI”… and Vero, and Asteron…. Promina (ASX: PMN): The insurance company that most people have never heard of. It has various trading names and companies that it owns, including AAMI, Shannons, Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency (APIA), Royal & Sun Alliance, Guardian, Vero, Tyndall, Mariner, AA Insurance, Axiom, Autosure, Asteron and Secure Sentinel.

“Just jeans?”… and shirts, suits, and dresses… The Just Group (ASX: JST): Apparently these people own and operate all of the Just Jeans retail stores, in addition to keeping busy with other retail fashion outlets. They also own Jay Jays, Portmans, Peter Alexander, Urban Brands and Jacqui-E (my wife’s natural habitat!).

Too cool for school, and too many brands… Australian Globe Group (ASX: GLB) sell under the brand name Globe, also M-One-11, Stussy, Mooks, DarkStar, World Industries, Stage Nine, FreshJive, Gallaz, Blind (Blind Body Bags), Mossimo, Almost, Quattra, Grind, Sista, Enjoi, Speed Demons, Tensor, Sandolls, Ecko (Ecko Unlimited), Independent, Paul Frank (that darn monkey face which seems to be the New Millenium’s answer to Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe”), Legacy, Girl, Chocolate, Royal, Diamond, Fourstar, Blitz, Anger Mgt, Birdhouse, Flip, The Firm, Fury, Hookups, Santa Cruz, Ricta, TSG, Bootleg, Venture & Awake… If you have ever seen a skater or surfer with shoes or a shirt on, chances are they will be wearing one of the above brands.

It’s so much FUN to invest, especially when you can make money across cultures and age-groups… Funtastic Limited (ASX: FUN) sell so many things that I am gonna have to poke you with a stick… Obviously more brands than you can poke a stick at, but unless you are under 12, I may have to poke you with a stick to keep you awake throughout the list.

Many of these will be on every child’s Christmas list. Here goes… Disney, Goldstar, Action Man, Bratz, Care Bears, Hot Wheels, Tonka, Spiderman, Cat in the Hat, Justice League, Strawberry Shortcake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yu-Gi-Oh, The Crocodile Hunter, The Wiggles, Thunderbirds, Bananas in Pyjamas, Bey Blade, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Tomy, Razor, Choppa, 2DX, 180-s, Aerial, Ford Performance, Hi-5, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Bob the Builder, Minx, Piranha, Vibes, Dome, Jolie, Hulk, Looney Toons, Zoids, Beacon, Chupa-Chups, Warheads, Pez, Fisher Price, The Incredibles, Lion King, The Saddle Club, Slinky, Nikki Webster, Beach Crew, BeDeGirls, Blues Union, Boom Doggers, Miss Shop, SixOneNine, STE, Cabbage Patch Kids, Wild Planet, Spy Gear, Undercover Girl, Aztek, Sea Monkeys, Revell Models, Testors, Crush Gear, Astroboy, Power Rangers. (Whew!)

There may be more, check out their website or annual report to learn more. Suffice to say that Funtastic make money from infant’s toys (Tomy), confectionery (Chupa-chups), pushbikes (Razor, 2DX), and every toy that any boy or girl would want to own, until they discover mobile phones and the opposite sex…

Cool, clear, and dearer than Beer! Bottled water comes in varieties such as Mount

Franklin, Powerade, Pump and Neverfail… all four of these water labels are owned by Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX: CCL). They also make some type of sweet fizzy drinks… But you probably knew that already.

Pause and take a breath here, you’re about halfway…

Recently floated company Pacific Brands Group (ASX: PBG) is also an enormous silent giant. At last count, there were maybe forty brands of clothing and sporting goods. See if you can recognise any of them.

Underwear: Playtex, Formfit, Kayser, Hestia, Antz Pantz, Kolotex, Berlei, Love Kylie (yes, Minogue), Bonds (yes, Chesty), RazzaMatazz, Red Robin, Holeproof, Rio, Jockey, Schiaparelli, Voodoo, Explorer Socks, Cottontails, Bonds Wondersuits, Underdaks, Hanes, Canterbury.

Work & Play: King Gee, Nibblick, Dunlop Sport, Repco, Slazenger, Maxfli, Stubbies, Rosebank (“Stackhats”), Malvern Star, Everlast, Lightning Bolt, Hang Ten, Lee Cooper, Amco. Home: Tontine, Sleepmaker, Doona, Simmons, Serta, Dunlopillo, Ultrafresh, Enduro, Venus & Mars.

Shoes: Candy, Julius Marlowe, Clarks, Hush Puppies, Grosby, Sachi, CAT. Check out the Pacific Brands website to find out more.

Quiet achiever Biotech Capital (ASX: BTC) is a conglomerate of many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including one that claims to have a drug that stops the spread of AIDS through fluid contact (does not cure AIDS, but stops its spread), and a company that makes pain killers out of spider venom, I kid you not.

Biotech owns: Starpharma, Dendritic Technologies, Alchemia, Biocom, Continence Control Systems, Clinical Cell Culture, Pacific Knowledge Systems, Xenome, XRT, Stem Cell Sciences, Proteome Systems and more.

What would Jeremy do?

You can access information about the underlying brands held by your favourite companies or managed funds at the appropriate website or by reading the relevant company annual report. You can save yourself hundreds of hours by phoning a good financial planner and making some enquiries…

Remember to read the warning labels on everything, especially my e-mails.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Keep it safe.



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Source by Jeremy Britton