Business research

This morning’s happy birthday call

Pictured: Celebration in Sydney… Rodrigo Catril, Tapas Strickland, Ken Crompton, Ray Attrill, Skye Masters and Stacey Pharro.

Skye Masters is the first to say her role as an interest rate strategist won’t put her at the top of every guest list.

But the regular guest on NAB’s Morning Call as the podcast turns six knows she reaches a diverse audience of nearly 15,000 daily listeners, all eager to understand what ticks the world of financial markets.

“Sometimes I think I get up too early already,” Masters says of his pre-dawn prep before logging on to record. “But then there are the comments from people saying, ‘I really like hearing what you’re talking about’ and the extent of your contact that gets me up and going.”

In more than 1,400 episodes, and as many 4 a.m. starts for NAB guest analysts, the Morning Call has garnered 5.5 million podcast listens since 2016, with audiences in Australia, New Zealand and in global financial centers in the UK, US and Asia.

The 15-minute format offers an accessible and informative conversation, with host and guest briefing listeners on key economic and market movements while emphasizing what to look for and why.

For Masters, who is NAB’s head of market strategy, the podcast is an important extension of the valuable reports the team files for clients, but this time filtered through a different medium and reaching a different audience.

“As an analyst, you want to help people understand what’s going on in what can be a very volatile and uncertain environment,” she says.

“I’ve spent my entire professional life thinking that what I do is so specialized that no one outside of this field would do well to listen. But the podcast is a great vehicle – it’s created for everyone to listen and understand. It’s very gratifying to know that we reach such a wide audience and to know that NAB really supports that.

History in the making

When the podcast started in 2016, the Brexit referendum had just happened and Donald Trump was about to be elected the 45th President of the United States. Since then, there’s been a global pandemic, conflict in Europe and now an increased focus on rates after the US Federal Reserve’s “hawkish pivot” – as the podcast puts it – last year amid what appears to be continued geopolitical and economic volatility.

But whatever happens overnight, for Masters, the experience is having a one-on-one conversation with UK-based host Phil Dobbie, whose radio experience and snitch interest in the economy make it possible to start the day energetically.

“All of us in research are more than happy to chat, so in that sense, it’s fine,” she says. “The stressful part is getting ready to look at what’s happened in the markets and understanding why rates have gone up or down or is it just noise?

“For our listeners, having a valid analysis of what happened overnight is important. This year, it’s all about data. You wake up and look at what the payroll has done or what wages have done or the inflation or the discrepancy between the forecast and the actual numbers, which have been quite significant, and then the market reactions.

Obsession with the yield curve

The Morning Call concept grew out of a friendship between Dobbie and NAB’s head of FX strategy, Ray Attrill, who at the time both lived on the same street on Sydney’s north shore.

Today, the pair is communicating from other sides of the globe and at different ends of the day, all rushing to produce each segment based on what will become the overnight market action for Down Under.

The results combine Dobbie’s expertise and passion for the medium with the specialist knowledge that NAB’s analyst guest list brings to the call.

For Attrill, whose business is numbers and who take economic surprises with fair measure, there remains a certain pride – but even more amazement – ​​at the numbers they have achieved over the past six years.

2022 has seen the podcast go from strength to strength, with over 1.7 million plays so far this year, more than double the figure for the same period in 2021.

Most of today’s daily viewership sticks around until the end of each episode, which Attrill considers the podcast to hit with confidence.

“When you start something new, you can have some degree of confidence that it will succeed,” he explains today. “But really, it’s experimental. You have no way of knowing exactly whether your trust is justified or not.

“We didn’t imagine there were 15,000 people every day very, very interested in the shape of the yield curve at 6:30 a.m. – that’s a bit surprising.

“But from the outset it’s a conversation between two people – it’s not a monologue by an analyst that’s boring as dishwater – it’s quite the opposite. It’s been a consistent feature , that he was very conversational. There was a bit of irreverence in that, if you will.

Diversity of expertise

Attrill says that despite the stylistic differences, the podcast is still a NAB research product, which ultimately conveys the expert opinions of NAB market analysts and is ideal for the morning commute.

“For any analyst, I think what motivates us is knowing that what we’re doing is in demand and that it’s being read or listened to,” he says. “It’s very gratifying to know.”

The guest team has grown to extend the diversity of thought involved, with a range of specialists in areas such as foreign exchange, economics and rates – a breadth that Attrill and Masters say is essential to understand the complexities that govern global markets today.

These expert NAB voices include: Rodrigo Catril, Ken Crompton, David de Garis, Gavin Friend, Taylor Nugent and Tapas Strickland.

Masters says the goal is to continue adding to that diversity in the future, with JBWere Chief Investment Officer Sally Auld the latest addition to the podcast talent pool.

NAB Corporate and Institutional Banking Chief Economist Ivan Colhoun also sometimes joins the call.

The participating NAB Global Markets research team is already well regarded in the field, topping a range of measures in Peter Lee’s annual industry surveys covering interest rate derivatives, currencies and fixed income securities. fixed income.

Listen now: The Morning Call turns six

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Phil Dobbie says… a word from our host:

“The morning call works because the team gets along very well. There’s a lot of respect for each other. We all know what we’re here to do and we do it. We don’t have time to tweak the finer details, we just focus on delivering a half-decent product on time every day.This reliability, I think, has played a big part in our gaining a large following.

“I still love doing it, after six years it’s still fun to do. I think it’s because it’s an ever changing picture – we’ve been through Brexit, Trump, Covid, war in Europe and now runaway global inflation I think there could be an episode where I said “nothing happened today”, but there is almost always a last minute surprise.

“I’m proud of his timeliness. The NAB team prepares early and we tape about three-quarters of an hour before it is released. Then the price information and intro are added at the very last moment. If something important happens soon after an episode is released, we’ll update it. It’s as close to live radio as you can get in a podcast.

Six for Six: Ray Attrill’s Key World Events Shaping the Market (in Chronological Order)

  1. The November 2016 election of Donald Trump as US President
  2. Trump’s China trade war launched in 2018
  3. The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020
  4. Joe Biden’s election victory in November 2020, followed by Pfizer BioNTech’s announcement of a 95% effective vaccine
  5. Post-pandemic inflation, the Fed’s “hawkish pivot” in mid-2021, and all that came with it in global interest rate markets
  6. The Russian invasion of Ukraine

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