International marina conference under way in Australia

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Under the banner of "new horizons," the Marinas 2011 International Conference and Exhibition opened today in Australia.

“Delegates and exhibitors have been expressing their satisfaction with the conference program and with having 45 exhibitors to discuss business with. Allowing for the number of day delegates, the MIAA expects there will be 300 participants in Marinas 2011 by its close on Wednesday,” president of the Marina Industries Association of Australia president Andrew Chapman said in a statement.

The keynote address was delivered by Joe Ueberroth, president of Bellwether Financial Group Inc. He used a “choppy waters” analogy to describe the investment environment in the United States and beyond.

In such an environment, Ueberroth said, investments should focus on quality over growth, and he identified four factors to consider when investing in a global sense.

The first is demographics, specifically the aging population, and the need to factor it into investment decisions. The second factor was government deficits. Although he said the problem is far greater in countries such as Greece, the United States and Japan, even in Australia the government is spending more than it is earning. The third consideration he mentioned was inflation. He said inflation is here to stay and that an asset built today will be more expensive to build tomorrow.

The final factor he mentioned was technology and how it is changing the way we do business and how businesses interact with customers. For example, he said, there are 5.2 billion cell phone subscribers across the world, and consumers now have far greater access to information about businesses and the business environment.

Ueberroth was cautiously bullish about the marine sector, organizers said. Although the cycle for new-boat purchases is depressed, he sees the aging of the population as a long-term positive. Constraints on the supply of new marinas will continue to help those with existing assets. He said new marina investments should focus on location, quality and capable people to be successful.

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