2022 Theme: Metamorphosis – redrawing the investments map together


Join us at Mercer’s Pacific Global Investment Forum in September to discuss the evolution that will define markets and investing for many years to come. The Forums bring together asset owners, asset managers and senior investment professionals to discuss current and emerging themes impacting investors. They also provide an opportunity for you to catch-up with peers and expand your knowledge and professional network.

Agenda – what you can expect


The Forum offers a day of main sessions, breakout and keynote addresses, as well as hundreds of 40-minute separate virtual manager-led sessions. Some of the topics that will be covered in the agenda include the latest themes and opportunities, sustainable investing, private markets, transformational investing and more. Watch this space for details on the agenda.

Tuesday, 13 September

Times are in Melbourne Local Time (UTC +10)

      Time                                |   Session/speaker(s)

Wednesday, 14 September

Times are in Melbourne Local Time (UTC +10)

      Time                                |   Session/speaker(s)
      8:00 am - 9:30 am   |   Registration and breakfast
  • 9:30 am – 9:50 am   |   Themes and opportunities: Hindsights and insights

    Nick White, Global Strategic Research Director

    Our themes and opportunities summarise our views of the forces driving markets, economies and client practices over the next three to five years and beyond. The past five years have been marked by an extraordinary period of change driven by the global pandemic, inflation shock and elevated geopolitical tensions. Although the specific events that occurred seemed to come out of the blue, some of the underlying pressures these shocks to the system released were indeed identifiable in advance. In our session, we look back on events and how our themes and opportunities have evolved. And in the context of the regime change we’re currently experiencing, we ask, “Are we there yet?”

  • 9:50 am – 10:50 am   |   Keynote conversation: What does leadership look like?

    General Lori J. Robinson, Commander, NORAD and Commander, US Northern Command (May 2016-May 2018), Commander, Pacific Air Forces (Oct 2014-May 2016)

    Moderator: Kylie Willment, Chief Investment Officer, Pacific

    Our keynote speaker, General Lori Robinson, shares her own personal story of leadership lessons gained from a lifetime of military service at some of the highest levels, including command assignments in the Pacific and North America. Drawing insights from her experience, General Robinson and Kylie Willment examine parallels between military leadership and being a capable investment professional, including setting strategy in uncertainty, making decisions in times of crisis, taking calculated risks and recognising the importance of diverse teams. 


  • 10:50 am – 11:10 am   |   Everything, everywhere all at once – scenario planning for alternate universes

    Harry Liem, Director of Strategic Research and Head of Capital Markets, Pacific

    Institutional investors need to understand scenario planning if they are to achieve future financial objectives such as spending needs or meeting liabilities while avoid eroding purchasing power due to inflation. To make informed investment decisions, investors need a model of the world, and therefore assumptions about how capital markets are expected to behave. We discuss the merits (and limitations) of historical and forward-looking deterministic and simulation approaches and trace the use of scenario planning back to its military roots. As AI and processing power has increased, so has scenario-analysis and simulation capability.

      11:10 am – 11:40 am   |   Break
  • 11:40 am – 12:10 pm   |   Breakouts – Round 1

    1.     Private investigations – private equity and debt

    John Peterson, Portfolio Manager, Active Super
    Marcus de Kock, Alternatives Investment Director, Pacific
    Bill Muysken, Global Chief Investment Officer, Alternatives

    Private markets has become a mainstay for many institutional investors with patient capital in order to boost their investment returns and diversify their portfolios. Some might even say it is no longer an Alternative asset class. While the industry has delivered strong returns for more than a decade, it has not always been plain sailing for investors. With a plethora of new managers coming to market to raise new funds, and innovations such as continuation vehicles and semi-liquid funds, has the industry matured and has it made it more or less challenging for investors to navigate? Come hear from a panel of asset owners and Mercer specialists on their experience and outlook as they navigate private markets.

    2.     Real assets – real returns?

    Philip Graham, Independent Director, State Investment Advisory Board (Queensland)
    Murray Lapworth, Chief Investment Officer, Rata Foundation
    Simon James, Real Estate Specialist, Alternatives
    Amarik Ubhi, Global Head of Infrastructure, Alternatives

    Real assets have long been considered to provide a degree of protection against inflation over time, due to the pricing power that real estate and infrastructure assets have given their vital role in the economy. However, the returns from such assets are also influenced by interest rates and GDP growth, but not necessarily in the same way. Given the current uncertainty and volatility in these key macroeconomic variables, this session will explore their links to real assets and what that means for institutional investors. The session will include insights from two such investors, alongside experts from Mercer’s real estate and infrastructure teams.


    3.     Home sweet home? Australian vs global equities, home bias and ESG issues

    Sarika Goel, Global Head of Sustainable Investment Research
    Shannon Reilly, Portfolio Manager, Equities
    Moderator: Rich Dell, Global Leader, Equity Boutique

    Despite its small stature on the global stage, the Australian equity market attracts significant allocations from local investors. Perhaps it’s simply “better the market you know” and the benefits of franking  credits on high-income stocks that keep us captive.

    But when we think about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, does the ever-growing influence of ESG factors provide another reason to stay at home, or should we focus on the investment opportunities that lie offshore?

  • 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm   |   Goldilocks vs the three bears – growth, inflation, and geopolitics

    Eun Sub Kim, Market Strategist
    Sue Wang, Head of Portfolio Management, Pacific

    Are we on the cusp of a new golden age of strong growth, low inflation and world peace...or will we be eaten by a bear market? Sue Wang and Eun will debate these issues with the earnest seriousness you have come to expect from the world’s largest OCIO provider. Sue will make the case that a glorious future beckons, while Eun will paint a darker picture of the years ahead.

  • 12:50 pm – 1:10 pm   |   The elements of energy transition

    Cameron Taylor, Senior Investment Consultant

    Progress for our species has relied on finding new materials to burn and harnessing the combustion energy. Of all the energy transitions so far, a confluence of environmental and geopolitical exigencies make this one the most critical for humankind. One in six of us dies prematurely due to inhalation of particulates from the burning of hydrocarbons, and climate change is expected to cause 83 million excess deaths by the year 2100. Investors are increasingly focused on the energy transition needed to address climate change, and they can be part of the solution by stewarding and allocating capital and managing portfolio risk.

      1:10 pm – 2:30 pm   |   Lunch
  • 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm   |   Why impact investing should be on your agenda

    Timothy Stamp, Sustainable Development, Pacific

    Impact investing allows investors to invest in sustainable solutions addressing the most pressing needs of our time, while enhancing their own ability to meet their investment objectives. Is impact investing on your agenda to consider? In this session we explore the case for impact investing, including its ability to connect capital to the greatest sustainability challenges and its potential to transform people, places and systems. We look at impact investing as a source of new investment ideas across environmental and social issues and the solutions that are available in this space

  • 3:00 pm – 3:20 pm   |   We need to talk about ageing care journey – a blind spot for retirement planning

    Will Burkitt, Retirement Solutions Leader
    Jean Turner Chapman, Customer Engagement Leader

    Australians understand the value of planning for retirement, but rarely do they factor in an ageing care journey that may last 35 years! Ageing healthily and happily takes planning and support.

    For retirement income planning, is it time to evolve our approach to factor in the ageing journey with a better understanding of unknown costs that leads to improved retirement income drawdown decisions?

    Ageing also impacts adult children supporting their parents’ ageing journeys while still working. It’s incredibly stressful, time consuming, expensive and potentially career limiting!

    Why aren’t we talking about this blind spot — the ageing care journey?

  • 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm   |   Breakouts - Round 2

    1.     Insurance in an uncertain world

    Tanya Branwhite, Head of Portfolio Construction, NSW Treasury Corporation
    Denis Walsh, Insurance Client Segment Leader, Pacific
    Linda van Tonder, Senior Investment Consultant

    With persistent inflation and aggressive central bank policy driving a transformed landscape for fixed income markets, we consider what this means for insurers’ portfolios.  Join us to hear how insurers are considering portfolio risks and the opportunities for return in this new regime, what investment strategies and exposures are being examined to help mitigate inflation risk, and what portfolio management approaches are considered central to optimising portfolio outcomes in this market environment.

    2.     Wealth management – finding the customers’ yachts

    Peter Audet, Managing Director, Varria
    Luke Fitzgerald, Wealth Management Leader, Pacific
    Andrew Stewart, Investment Consultant

    In the classic 1940 investment book, a visitor comes to New York and admires all the nice boats in the harbour. He is then told they belong to bankers and brokers, upon which he naively asks, “Where are the customers’ yachts?” In this session, we discuss how the wealth management industry has evolved to act in the best interests of its clients rather than being perceived as acting in the best interests of industry participants. Following the Royal Commission, the wealth management industry in Australia has implemented changes to protect investors and their future and create a position of trust. The panel discusses industry trends and future prospects in client expectations, regulation, consolidation, automation and adviser education.

    3.     Investing for the long term - planning for a marathon through an obstacle course in a world that wants you to sprint

    Rebekah Dunn, Endowment and Foundation Client Segment Leader
    Doyle Mallett, Senior Investment Consultant

    With information at everyone’s fingertips 24/7, the world is constantly priming us for a sprint, to manage our efforts and expectations from data point to data point, but endowments and foundations have to plan for a marathon, a marathon that has been set across an obstacle course. We talk to clients about how they best balance their shorter term needs with their long term goals in a world where they are facing hurdles that can easily distract them from the long term goal.

    4.     Retirement outcomes – now is the time to get it right
    David Knox, Policy and Research Leader
    Clayton Sills, Superannuation Client Segment Leader, Pacific
    Kylie Willment, Chief Investment Officer, Pacific

    The Retirement Income Covenant is now law in Australia but how should super funds respond? This session will discuss alternative investment approaches and the broad range of financial needs faced by Australian retirees.

    4:00 pm – 4:30 pm   |   Afternoon break
  • 4:30 pm – 4:50 pm   |   In the land of the giants – is bigger better for asset owners?

    Cynthia Cottrell, Career Business Leader, Pacific
    Craig Hughes, Head of Investment Solutions, Pacific

    The government, Productivity Commission and APRA – and large sections of the Superannuation industry - believe bigger is better when it comes to super funds, largely in pursuit of lower costs and member fees. But… is there a point at which super funds become too large…will they always produce better member outcomes? What are potential capacity, access and organisational constraints and ways to solve these? Rapid growth in FUM size raises issues around optimal implementation pathways - in-house or outsourced arrangements, partnerships and fee alignment.  We will also consider impacts on organisational design, incentives and culture and whether other industry or international experience can provide guidance as to how to best manage growth and expansion. It is time to discuss… the elephants in the room.

  • 4:50 pm – 5:00 pm   |   Towards a brighter future

    Rich Nuzum, Executive Director, Investments and Global Chief Investment Strategist

    6:00 pm   |   Forum dinner at The Victoria State Library

Monday, 19 September

Times are in Melbourne Local Time (UTC +10)

      Time                                |   Session/speaker(s)
      12:00 pm - 7:00 pm   |   Learn, share, connect sessions (virtual)

Tuesday, 20 September

Times are in Melbourne Local Time (UTC +10)

      Time                                |   Session/speaker(s)
      12:00 pm - 7:00 pm   |   Learn, share, connect sessions (virtual)

Meet the speakers 


Each Forum features top thought leaders from within Mercer and the investment community and renowned experts shaping the way we think. We look forward to sharing these names with you soon.

Keynote speaker

General Lori J. Robinson

Commander, NORAD and Commander, US Northern Command (May 2016-May 2018), Commander, Pacific Air Forces (Oct 2014-May 2016)

  • Read more

    General Robinson retired from the Air Force in July 2018 following a 37-year military career, including serving as Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). In those positions, she commanded 1,600 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and civilians from the United States and Canada. Working with the governors of all 50 states and their adjutants general, General Robinson was responsible for coordinating the activities of 300,000 National Guard forces that could be tasked for response to natural disasters or internal defence of the United States. Reporting directly to the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada, she was responsible for early warning and engagement of air and space threats to the United States and Canada, including the ballistic missile threats from North Korea.

    Prior to her command of NORAD/NORTHCOM, General Robinson was the Commander, United States Air Forces Pacific, responsible for 45,000 airmen to deliver combat air power throughout the Pacific Theatre. She exerted direct global influence representing the chief of staff of the Air Force in meetings with heads of state and political and military leaders throughout the Pacific.

    General Robinson served in many other senior leadership positions, including: Director of Joint Capabilities Development (J-8), reporting to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Director of Air Force Legislative Liaison on Capitol Hill, reporting directly to the secretary of the Air Force, responsible for budget issues and coordination with political leadership in the House and Senate. Earlier in her career, she commanded the Air Force’s only Airborne Warning and Control Wing (AWACS) — including command of combat units engaged in the Middle East. General Robinson’s entire career demonstrates remarkable achievements at the highest levels of war-fighting operation, diplomatic engagement and political coordination.

    General Robinson has earned two master’s degrees, served in a fellowship at the Brookings Institution and completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard. She is a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and on the Honorary Advisory Committee for the Leadership Council for Women in National Security. General Robinson continues to serve as a role model and mentor to career-minded men and women who seek to balance the demands of career with personal and family responsibilities. She is married to Major General (Ret.) David A. Robinson. They reside in St. Pete Beach, Florida.


Peter Audet

Managing Director, Varria

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    Peter is the Founder and Managing Director of Varria Personal Financial Advisers. Varria is a growing business, with 10 advisers and support staff, and has been providing financial advice to people throughout Australia for more than two decades. Peter is an experienced adviser. He loves helping people get where they want to be and is driven to help people learn to make great financial decisions. 

    Peter has completed a Master of Science in financial planning and is featured in the New York Times bestseller Give and Take, written by Adam Grant.

Tanya Branwhite

Head of Portfolio Construction, NSW Treasury Corporation

  • Read more

    Tanya joined TCorp in December 2018 as Head of Portfolio Construction. Her team develops robust investment strategies, using asset allocation and factor strategies to deliver client outcomes. This team is central to TCorp’s investment management approach, fund design and implementation.

    Tanya joined TCorp from the Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, where her final role was Director, Market Insights and Portfolio Implications. She was tasked with strengthening the Future Fund’s whole-of-portfolio investment approach by extracting return-enhancing information and transforming it into cohesive insights around the economic cycle and the investment market’s return and risk dynamics in pursuit of better portfolio decision-making.

    Tanya has worked in financial markets and asset management, including senior roles at Macquarie Group, Credit Suisse Asset Management, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Global Asset Management.

    She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with honours) from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Finance from the University of Technology Sydney and a Master in Finance and Management from INSEAD. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David Bryant

President, Pacific Region and CEO, Australia

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    David is CEO, Australia, and President, Pacific Region, with overall responsibility for Mercer’s more than 2,000-strong team in Australia and New Zealand. In this role, he drives the strategy and growth of Mercer in the Pacific, advancing the robust portfolio of services across investments, superannuation and career consulting. 

    David joined Mercer in 2020 following a successful senior career in financial services, asset consulting and banking across the Asia-Pacific region. He is the Chairman of the Financial Services Council and a member of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee with Movember.

Will Burkitt

Retirement Solutions Leader

  • Read more

    Will is the Leader of Care and Living with Mercer (CaLM) and a partner at Mercer Australia. CaLM is an innovative service supporting seniors and their family carers with independent guidance and advice for any of their ageing care and living needs.

    Before joining Mercer in January 2018, Will gained 19 years of experience in wealth management, including working in Sydney, Hong Kong and London, advising clients on investment portfolios and the full range of wealth products and strategies to achieve their goals in retirement. Will has also gained experience as a company director. 

    Will is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds a Bachelor of Economics in accounting from Macquarie University and is a Justice of the Peace in New South Wales.

Noel Collins

Asia Pacific Leader, Fixed Income Boutique

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    Noel is a partner at Mercer, based in Dublin. He works in Mercer’s Fixed Income Boutique, with extensive involvement with Mercer’s Global Fixed Income Teams. Noel is a lead researcher on emerging market debt and APAC fixed income strategies and leads Mercer’s private wealth research process in a number of countries, including India and Canada.

    Before joining Mercer, Noel worked for seven years as a fixed-income and currency asset manager with a Dublin-based fund manager.

    Noel is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and holds a degree in economics and mathematics (with first-class honours) from Trinity College Dublin.

Cynthia Cottrell
Career Business Leader, Pacific
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    Over the past 20 years, Cynthia has helped hundreds of private and public sector clients reimagine how work gets done. She is passionate about helping clients translate their strategies into something they can operationalise by aligning both the tangible elements of the organisation — people, structure and process — and the intangible elements — motivations, relationships and culture. She has deep expertise in digital transformation, M&A, employee experience, strategy, organisational change and design.

    As the Career Leader for Mercer Pacific’s Workforce Consulting and Products practice, Cynthia is responsible for strategy, execution and building a sustainable culture that delivers value to clients and continues to grow the Mercer and MMC footprint across the Pacific region. Mercer’s workforce and talent solutions have served as the backbone for critical talent frameworks, systems and processes that have powered the world of work for more than 75 years. Mercer’s capabilities and solutions include organisational design and transformation, workforce strategy, HR transformation, cloud HR, talent and leadership solutions, rewards consulting, employee experience, executive remuneration consulting, salary and benefits benchmarking, M&A advisory, and learning solutions.

    Throughout Cynthia’s career, she has held various executive leadership roles in multiple geographies. In her last role at Korn Ferry, as a senior client partner, Cynthia led the Organisational Strategy consulting business for Australia and New Zealand. Before joining Korn Ferry, she held leadership roles across IBM Global Business Services that included market (territory), business functional and global roles. In these roles, Cynthia was responsible for developing innovative product and service offerings, leading large and diverse teams, and closing multimillion-dollar deals.

    Cynthia is a patent holder for a cloud-based CRM application that leverages data from multiple systems and user-generated inputs to enable personalised learner support and mentoring. Cynthia’s application is currently used by the United States Army to support more than half a million soldiers and civilians engaged in training around the world.

Simon Coxeter

Head of Manager Research, Asia Pacific

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    Based in Singapore, Simon is the Head of Asia-Pacific Manager Research, working with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that Mercer’s manager research capabilities continue to fulfil an increasingly complex spectrum of client needs. Before taking up his current role in 2022, Simon was Director of Strategic Research for AMEA and Latin America. Additionally, Simon has performed advisory engagements across a diverse range of investment-related issues and client types.

    Having first joined Mercer in 2010, Simon returned to the company in 2017 after a period as Head of Investment Solutions in Asia for Franklin Templeton Investments. Before joining Mercer, Simon was Managing Director in a Swiss-headquartered private equity firm. Previously, he co-founded AsiaSource Capital, a boutique investment firm based in Singapore and New York, where he managed a fund of hedge funds. Earlier in his career, Simon worked in Hong Kong as a sell-side equity analyst at Cazenove. His first professional role was as a global equity analyst at Prudential M&G in London.

    Simon holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies from the University of Oxford and an MBA from the HKUST Business School in Hong Kong and is a CFA® charterholder.

Marcus de Kock

Alternatives Investment Director, Pacific

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    Marcus is a principal in Mercer’s Investments business, based in Sydney. In his role as Alternatives Investment Director, Marcus is responsible for bringing the capabilities of Mercer Alternatives to clients and prospects in the Pacific region, delivering best-in-class alternatives programs across private markets.

    Marcus joined Mercer in January 2018 as a senior investment strategist in the UK Institutional Investment Solutions practice before relocating to Sydney. He was responsible for delegated investment solutions, strategic asset allocation and construction of UK institutional client portfolios, with a focus on integrating private markets into these portfolios. 

    Before joining Mercer, Marcus gained 13 years of experience in investment advisory and consulting services for institutional investors in the UK working at Lane Clark & Peacock LLP, where he provided specialist investment advice on a range of asset classes. This included setting strategic asset allocations, portfolio construction, manager selection and implementation of advice. Marcus w