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Sovereign wealth funds lift their game on governance

The world’s state-owned investors (SOI) have made progress in leaps and bounds on governance and sustainability. Locally, the Future Fund and NZ Super lead the way. Oceania is well represented in Global SWF’s 2022 Governance, Sustainability and Resilience (GSR) leader board, with the Future Fund and NZ Super once again tying with big international pensions…

Lachlan Maddock | 1st Jul 2022 | More
‘Strong case’ to hit pause on choice performance test: Chant West

The performance test as it stands isn’t “fit for purpose” when it comes to choice products. And its bright line nature means tweaks are needed for MySuper products too. While the MySuper performance test dispatched a mere 13 funds, the outcomes for choice products could be even worse, according to analysis from ratings house Chant…

Lachlan Maddock | 1st Jul 2022 | More
  • History repeats in the everything selloff

    Everything old is new again amidst an inflation/rate/war driven synchronised selloff. But lessons from the 80s are still applicable today. In recent months, most asset classes have moved rapidly lower and in perfect lockstep. The last time that happened was 41 years ago, according to research from BCA, which examined the last 200 calendar quarters…

    Lachlan Maddock | 29th Jun 2022 | More
    A warning on alts from abroad

    While Australia’s super funds have gradually increased their allocation to alternative investments as public market return expectations fall, new research questions whether that’s the best approach.   Australia’s super funds are in the process of aping their overseas brethren by increasing their allocations to alternatives like private equity, but a new paper by Ennis Knupp…

    Lachlan Maddock | 29th Jun 2022 | More
  • Perma-bears vindicated, but the damage isn’t over

    The prophets of doom have seen their visions of a downturn realised, but the market is still tremendously expensive when compared with the bursting of previous bubbles. The bubble is finally bursting, but it took a while. It was last June when inflation flashed onto the scene for the first time since the 1970s, rapidly…

    Lachlan Maddock | 24th Jun 2022 | More
    ‘They’re still sticking to their goals’: MSCI on YFYS

    While Australia’s biggest asset owners are “extremely sophisticated” on ESG, the shackles of the idiosyncratic Your Future Your Super (YFYS) benchmarks are still holding them back on portfolio decarbonisation. A micro-debate occasionally rages in the Australian financial landscape about whether we’re behind or ahead of the ESG curve. Certainly we’ve lagged Europe in terms of…

    Lachlan Maddock | 24th Jun 2022 | More
    Academic factors only academic after all

    While nearly 400 investment factors have been proposed in academic journals since 1960, new research calls into question their practicality – and their ability to earn anybody a performance fee. The rise of quantitative and smart beta investing has also seen an explosion in the number of factors – that is, attributes or traits that…

    Lachlan Maddock | 22nd Jun 2022 | More
    At ASI, a big picture comes with a small note of caution

    While big super is all in on its newly-acquired nation building goals, a hint of caution about member outcomes pervaded last week’s AIST Superannuation Investment conference. Industry super funds have been on a decade-long high, with a reputation boosted by their low cost, robust returns, and their easy passage through the Hayne royal commission. But…

    Lachlan Maddock | 17th Jun 2022 | More
    CIOs go ‘back to basics’ as YFYS, volatility bites

    Nobody has a crystal ball, but you don’t need one to know that things could be more difficult from here on out. For some funds, it’s back to “investing 101.” “This sort of environment does give you the opportunity to really assess your portfolio in terms of whether everything is working as you expect,” Andrew…

    Lachlan Maddock | 17th Jun 2022 | More
  • Funds eye a ‘polar vortex’ of volatility

    We’re now living through the end of a three or four decade long secular trend, and the strategies that have worked for super funds might no longer be as effective. But that’s what makes the job fun. It’s not taken long for big investors to come to terms with what’s happening in the markets. While…

    Lachlan Maddock | 15th Jun 2022 | More
    Why industry funds must keep ‘the hunger to succeed’: Delaney

    Some within the sector believe the super wars are over and that industry funds have emerged victorious. But they shouldn’t take their primacy, or the change in government, for granted. Arriving at work one morning in October 1987, now AustralianSuper chief investment officer Mark Delaney was greeted by a gloomy telex message that said the…

    Lachlan Maddock | 15th Jun 2022 | More
    Think the unthinkable at the end of the WEIRD world

    As the fog of uncertainty creeps back in, Australia’s biggest investors are uncertain about where the next risk will emerge. It’s time to think about the unthinkable. It was baseball-playing philosopher Yogi Berra who said “making predictions is hard, especially about the future”. The last two years have shown us the pitfalls of prediction. Nobody…

    Lachlan Maddock | 15th Jun 2022 | More
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