Positioning for reinvention
Times are in UTC+8/Singapore/Hong Kong
*All registered participants will receive a list of LSCs the week before the Forum. In the meantime, please save the time in your diary.
9:30 am–9:45 am | Welcome and Opening
Simon Eagleton, Institutional Wealth Leader, Pacific
Janet Li Wealth Business Leader, Asia
9:45 am–10:05 am | 2021 Investment Themes and Opportunities
As investors, we need to adapt our outlooks and expectations to ensure portfolios are positioned to manage new risks and capture opportunities that may just fleetingly arrive. We encourage investors to focus on the themes and opportunities where we see the most potential in the years ahead.
Our New World theme considers the impact of monetary and fiscal policies on the global economy, along with shifting power and alliances on the global stage. In our Business as Unusual theme, we explore the changing trends in business, as both markets and work become more unusual, and we enter a world of increased engagement. Finally, within our Position for Transition theme, we see action by investors on climate change as crucial, and a total portfolio approach fundamental in supporting this.
Deb Clarke, Global Head of Investment Research
Nick White, Global Strategic Research Director
10:05 am–10:25 am | Investing in China: Emerging Market Allocations for the New World
As you grapple with the complex dynamics of the new world, how should you think about China’s evolving role across the global investment landscape? How can you position yourself to meet challenges and capitalise on opportunities that lie ahead in an uncertain geopolitical and macroeconomic future? Ignore these questions at your peril, because the stakes are high for critical aspects of portfolio diversification, access to valuable sources of return and risk mitigation. We help you to answer these and other questions with our latest guidance on emerging market allocations.
Simon Coxeter, Strategic Research Director, Growth Markets
Fei Tan, Asset Class Specialist, Equity Boutique
10:25 am–10:45 am | Breaking the Bond: Successfully Sourcing Returns in a Low Return Environment
How are you feeling as you monitor your bond portfolios? Are they still the only defensive option in your investment management toolkit? Or are you searching for more in this lower for longer bond yield environment where government debt is increasing, benchmark duration is extending and credit quality is deteriorating? Should you continue to hold traditional bonds? Where else can you go to achieve your income enhancement, diversification and inflation-hedging objectives? We examine asset classes including real assets, diversifying alternatives, growth fixed income, private debt, currency, gold and commodities. We also look at the different regional trends across Asia Pacific.
Adeline Tan, Wealth Business Leader, Hong Kong
Dr. Harry Liem, Strategic Research Director and Head of Capital Markets, Pacific
10:45 am–11:15 am | The COVID-19 Hangover: Inflation or Disinflation?
Our annual debate is back! We have seen unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus to help us through the pandemic. Economists have been dividing into the same camps as in 2009.
The first camp is worried that inflation is returning. They believe that policymakers have not only overstimulated the recovery but — unlike after the global financial crisis — this time stimulus has gone straight into the real economy.
The second camp is less optimistic on the recovery and less worried about inflation because there is a risk that COVID-19 has fed into the ongoing trend of secular stagnation.
Our speakers attempt to persuade you of the merits of their respective viewpoints on this topic, the resolution of which may have a profound impact on future asset-class returns.
Chair: Gwion Moore, Head of Investment Strategy, Pacific
Cameron Systermans, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Mainstream Assets, Japan
Sue Wang, Senior Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income, Pacific
11:30 am–11:50 am | Breakout Panel Discussions – Round 1
1. ESG-ing Your Portfolio: How to Implement a Best Practice Approach
As Environmental, Social, and Governance investing continues to gain momentum, there are still many who are just beginning their ESG journey, and even more who are unsure of how to get started.
Our panellists provide guidance on how to begin incorporating ESG principles into asset allocation, manager selection and portfolio monitoring. The discussion focuses on the actions they have taken in their approach, sharing how they arrived at and implemented their current strategy, as well as the obstacles they faced.
2. Transitioning Your Portfolio for a Low-Carbon World
Climate change is driving the need to transition to a zero-emission economy. Investor and corporate awareness of, and commitments to, the transition are increasing rapidly. Investors want to understand the risks they face as a result of the transition, and want to understand what opportunities there are to companies generating sustainable and green revenues.
But how do you as an investor understand where your portfolio sits on the transition spectrum? And how do you develop an investment plan to transition to a low-carbon economy? Join us in this timely breakout session to explore these important questions.
3. Transformational Investing: Converting Global Systemic Risks into Sustainable Returns
Do we spend enough time thinking about the incorporation of risks and opportunities associated with long-term systemic trends such as climate change, geopolitical stability and demographic shifts?
How can asset-owners incorporate these trends into mission, governance and implementation processes? Which tools can be used to mitigate risks associated with the trends?
Mercer, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, is producing research that provides frameworks to address these questions.
In this session, we draw on findings from an asset-owner survey representing more than $3.4 trillion in aggregated assets to highlight how the community is integrating the trends. The panellists share the steps their organisations have taken as well as their lessons learned through their transformational investment journeys.
|4. How to Incorporate China Equity Exposure in Your Portfolio: Manager Selection and Portfolio Construction
Against the backdrop of China’s growing prominence in benchmark indices — with improving access to its capital markets over recent years, and a wide spectrum of equity strategies offering exposure to it — we believe that investors should carefully evaluate their approach to this market. In this breakout, we explore a range of portfolio construction and manager selection considerations in allocating to Chinese equities.
Tracy Huang, Asset Class Specialist, Equity Boutique
Ronan McCabe, Head of Portfolio Management, Pacific
Jack Yuan, Wealth Investment Director, China
5. Getting Mental Wellbeing Right in a Post-Pandemic World
Health is not just an aspect of physical safety — for instance, organisations providing a safe environment that protects people from infection — but is also linked to psychological safety. The incoming ISO 45003 standard on psychological health and safety at work is just one indicator that mental health is finally being regarded as important as physical wellbeing.
In this breakout session, we meet with industry leaders and discuss what works and what needs improvement to create a “good” return to the workplace.
|6. Insurers’ Response to a Low-Yield Environment: A Discussion
Yields on traditional fixed-income assets have been falling in recent years, a trend which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has created an increased challenge for insurers to generate investment returns. During this panel discussion, we explore the investment strategies being considered and portfolio management actions being taken by insurers in navigating this environment.
Denis Walsh, Insurance Client Segment Leader, Pacific
Dr. Mark Konyn, Group Chief Investment Officer, AIA
Damien Morgan, Treasurer, nib Health Funds Limited
7. Endowment and Foundation Funds’ Response to a Low-Yield Environment: A Discussion
Expansionary monetary policy as a response to COVID-19 and persistent low inflation has resulted in cash and fixed-income yields continuing to decline.
Many countries now have negative rates — and indeed some central banks like the US Federal Reserve and Australia’s RBA have stated that near-zero cash rates will be here for years to come as a response to low inflation and spare capacity in the economy.
Many endowments and foundations rely on yields from their investment portfolios to fund operations and support mission objectives. How have these organisations responded? How has Mercer advised its clients in the face of lower traditional yields?
In this breakout session, we address these issues and provide insight into the actions taken by endowments and foundations in dealing with this issue.
8. Retirement Funds’ Response to a Low-Yield Environment: A Discussion
|9. Wealth Managers and Private Banks’ Response to a Low-Yield Environment: A Discussion
Jean de Kock, Asset Class Specialist, Fixed Income Boutique
Rebecca Jacques, Senior Investment Consultant, Sydney
Chee Loong Chong, Wealth Business Leader, Singapore
|10. Sovereign Wealth Funds’ Response to a Low-Yield Environment: A Discussion
As we start to emerge from lockdowns in response to COVID-19, the world that lies before us is vastly different from the one we left behind. For example, interest rates will be dramatically lower for longer due to expansionary monetary policies and markets are increasingly disconnected from the real economy. Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) take many forms, but long-term wealth accumulation is just one goal among many. How will SWFs navigate this turbulent environment? Join our panel of experienced guests as we explore the investment approaches taken by SWFs in response to this environment.
Chin Yee Koh, Senior Investment Consultant, Singapore
Garry Hawker, Global Leader, Sovereign Funds
Michael Frith, Chief Economist, New Zealand Superannuation Fund
11:55 am–12:15 pm | Breakout Panel Discussions – Round 2
12:30 pm–12:50 pm | The Science of Leadership
Most people think of leadership as a role or position, but in reality, it is a process. It is the social process that someone uses to transform a group into a high-performing team; achieving outcomes that would be impossible as just a collection of individuals. The better the leadership process, the more extraordinary the outcome can be.
Talent and skills for using this process are therefore a critical resource for collective success. The most effective leaders are able to achieve success and performance while enhancing the wellbeing of followers and the sustainability of the communities they operate in.
We discuss some of the main social resources that leaders draw on to generate strong and sustainable performance. We also reflect on why it seems so rare for talent using the leadership process to do so in a way that serves all stakeholders.
Lewis Garrad, Career Business Leader, Singapore
12:50 pm–1:10 pm am | The Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate and Infrastructure: Implications and Actions for Investors
The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 was the defining event of 2020, and is likely to be for 2021. This session explores what impact the pandemic has had upon the infrastructure and real estate markets to date, what the future holds for these asset classes, and the opportunities that have emerged or are likely to emerge post COVID-19.
Allison Yager, Global Head of Real Estate, Alternatives
Amarik Ubhi, Global Head of Infrastructure, Alternatives
1:10 pm–1:40 pm | A Conversation with Keynote Speaker, Tim Harford: The Path Out of Disruption
Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist, host of Cautionary Tales and the author of the Number One bestseller "How To Make The World Add Up" discusses what disasters can teach us, the progress of the vaccination effort, and why data is like radar.
Tim Harford, Author, Financial Times Columnist and BBC Broadcaster
Interviewer: Yaying Dong, Market Strategist, Pacific
1:40 pm–1:50 pm | Final Remarks
Rich Nuzum, President, Wealth
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