Conference Program



Day 1: Monday, 15 May 2017

8.00am Conference registration
9.00am Conference opening - Diana D'Ambra, ASA Chairman

Economic outlook – Saul Eslake, Independent Economist & Vice-Chancerllor's Fellow at the University of Hobart 

Renowned economist Saul Eslake will open the conference with an overview of domestic and international affairs affecting our economy. President Donald Trump has been in office for his first 100 days, the ramifications of the Brexit Vote are clearer and the UK Government has announced a ‘snap’ election. Throw in the results of the French Presidential election and the 2017 budget and the need to understand the economic context has never been greater. Saul will also address the property market, currencies, interest rates, exports and Australia’s growth prospects.

10.10am Morning tea

Challenges and opportunities: how do big institutional investors manage active ownership in the companies in which they invest? - Louise Davidson, CEO at ACSI

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) is a collaboration of Australian and international asset owners, bound together by their common interests as long-term investors in the capital markets. ACSI engages with listed companies about environmental, social and governance performance on behalf of Australia’s super funds and international asset owners.  Find out what the key issues have been over the past year and how big investors are thinking about the future of Australian companies.




Portfolio design & retirement income adequacy - Craig Israelsen, 7Twelve

US-based Craig Israelsen developed an investment model, referred to as the 7Twelve portfolio, which, he believes, is applicable to investors in any country. The ‘7’ refers to asset categories and the ‘Twelve’ to underlying managed funds. Craig will firstly discuss the pragmatic mathematics of portfolio-based retirement income and follow this up with the historical survival rates of several retirement portfolios analysed over the 91-year period from 1926-2016. This is then compared to his multi-asset 7Twelve Portfolio and its 19-year performance as an accumulation portfolio and a retirement distribution portfolio with a demonstration of how you can apply these principles to your investing.

The case for ETFs - David Bassanese, Chief Economist at BetaShares

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) provide access to a variety of investment strategies and solutions including Australian and international shares, short exposures, commodities and currencies and are increasingly being used by a number of investors. With the proliferation of ETFs now available on the ASX, investors may well find themselves spoilt for choice. In this practical session, David Bassanese will provide investors with some practical ways to use ETFs in investment portfolios, outlining uses for both ‘buy and hold’ and tactical investors.





Integrating environmental, social & governance factors into investment decisions - Elaine Prior, Managing Director at Citi Research

An award-winning “ESG pioneer”, Elaine Prior’s research covers sustainability issues for ASX listed companies, to help clients assess valuation impacts or risks, or to engage with companies to encourage risk mitigation or broader positive change. Elaine is therefore well qualified to provide an overview of Citi’s research into Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors that are potentially material to different stocks and sectors. Elaine will address a range of topics including climate change and the energy transition, mine and petroleum closure and rehabilitation, and various other ESG issues that are relevant to ASX companies.



The contrarian investor - Rudi Filapek-Vandyck, Editor at FNArena

The share market is a hot bed for generalising conventions and universal truths. None of this means successful investing is always the same, regardless of the time, the place or specific circumstances. However, the simple act of research finds these conventions and universally accepted truths often are no more than illusions and half-truths. Rudi Filapek-Vandyck believes investors would be wise to ask the right questions. Rudi has some of the answers, and he's willing to share them.






Why you should invest overseas - Nikki Thomas, Head of Research and Portfolio Manager at Magellan Asset Management

With greater appreciation of the importance of diversity, it is no surprise that the usage of international assets has increased significantly over the past 12 months.  Magellan’s approach incorporates intensive bottom-up stock analysis and industry research with broad and detailed top-down macroeconomic insights. Through this methodology Magellan continues to successfully navigate the key risks in global markets, and more importantly identify the next key global tailwinds from which to benefit. Nikki Thomas will share their latest macroeconomic and investment insights, along with several case studies that help colour their convictions.

12.40pm Lunch

The case for agriculture - Jamie Nemtsas, Managing Director at Sornem Private Wealth

Interest in agriculture and investing in agribusiness is growing rapidly as investors begin to understand more about food scarcity, emerging market demand and the advancement of technological efficiencies that provide opportunities in an uncorrelated and underinvested market.  With research, an eye for opportunities and good advice, the agri-waters are more than navigable, they are necessary in today’s low return environment. Jamie Nemtsas will not only present the case for agri-investing, he will show you how to find ‘top down bottom up’ opportunities and how to incorporate agriculture into your investment portfolio.

The income investor - John Abernethy, Chief Investment Officer at Clime

The income investor strives to select companies which provide a steady income by regularly paying a solid dividend. Whilst these tend to be the more established companies which are able to sustain higher levels of growth, there are times when such companies fail to deliver, CBA for example. Does the myth that the utilities and telcos are reliable dividend payers hold true? John Abernethy will address this and outline strategies to help you not only select robust companies but to also watch out for the signs of a company not likely able to deliver dividends.

How new technologies can help and improve your investment outcomes - Andrew Braun, Head of Marketing at netwealth

Andrew Braun has been working with digital technology businesses for over 15 years. From 2013-2015 funding to fintech companies grew over 500% globally. Andrew will take us through the different digital technologies and options available to investors and super fund members today.  The emerging areas of robo-advice, super and investment platforms, online investment research tools and SMSF management technologies will be explored. He will demonstrate how these can be used to potentially improve your investment outcomes.


The case for fixed interest - Geoff Malkin, Managing Director at BondAdviser

Bonds and income securities should be considered in a diversified portfolio but are widely misunderstood and overlooked due to their complexities. Not only is there a range of cashflow options (fixed rate, floating rate or cpi) but also terms and conditions which require a case by case analysis as to the credit risks of each security and the underlying borrower. Most well constructed income portfolios are not about growth but more about capital preservation. However higher returns from income securities are available to investors who are prepared to take greater credit risk. The types of securities discussed will include Preference shares, Capital Notes, Subordinated Notes, Retail Bonds, Unsecured Notes, Government and Corporate Bonds.

The value investor - Rob Markham, Managing Director Asia Pacific at VectorVest

Unlike growth investors who seek out overvalued securities, value investors look for those stocks that are out-of-favour or undervalued. Value investors expect that these securities will rise and seek to buy them before they do. To help you find which stocks are good value, Rob Markham will show two fresh approaches for valuing stocks using publicly available information. He will then outline the dynamic relationship between stock prices, stock valuations, earnings, inflation and interest rates to help you pick the start, maturing and end of Bull and Bear Markets well in advance of usual commentaries.


Will an Uber disrupt the wealth management industry? - Graham Hand, Founder & Managing Editor at Cuffelinks Newsletter

Technological change is disrupting industries at a faster pace than at any time since the industrial revolution. Billion-dollar companies are created in years rather than decades, while destroying previously dominant incumbents. Graham Hand will look at the structure of wealth management in Australia and the way it prices and distributes products, and considers whether any new entrant has the potential to undermine existing businesses in coming years. It's relevant for all investors deciding where to put their money.



3.30pm Afternoon tea  

The banking panel - Chaired by Alan Kohler, The Constant Investor with Shayne Elliott, CEO at ANZ Bank; Jason Beddow, Managing Director at Argo Investments Limited and Dion Hershan, Head of Australian Equities at Yarra Capital Management 

With banks dominating most retail investors’ portfolios, the panel will discuss some of the current issues confronting the sector including the outlook for profitability, dividends and share prices. With more changes to capital adequacy in the pipeline will the banks need to raise additional equity? How will a bottoming of interest rates – and potential rate raises – impact bank margins? With the four major banks now primarily focused on the domestic market, will competition increase and margins come under pressure? Have the financial planning and insurance scandals caused long-term damage to the sector? The panel will discuss these, and many more issues.


Happy Hour

Complimentary for all conference delegates, Happy Hour is a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow members from around Australia. A delegate’s guest may attend for $20 per person.


Conference dinner sponsored by Lincoln Indicators - Is the game stacked against the independent investor? - James Kirby, Wealth Editor at The Australian

We've always known the institutional investor had an edge over the private investor (they were better at maths for a start!) But at least the individual had a fighting chance. Now in the age of hedge funds, 'flash boys', algorithms and other anonymous operators, the sole operator stands as a forlorn figure in a changed landscape. Are the odds now impossible? Commentator and Wealth Editor of The Australian James Kirby will deliver our dinner keynote address.

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Day 2: Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Predictability in a disruptive world -  Jonathan Reyes, Portfolio Manager / Analyst at AMP Capital

‘Disruption’ is the buzzword of the last decade. Whether fuelled by technology revolution, such as automated cars, or the dire need to address climate change, the world we live in is changing at a faster pace and infrastructure must evolve to support it. Jonathan Reyes will demonstrate ways to get exposure to these megatrends with downside protection.

The active investor - Alan Hull, Founder/Owner at

Would you like to have more control over risk? Are you prepared to buy and sell shares on a weekly basis? If so, an active investing style might be right for you. Active investors select specific stocks and use market timing to try to outperform the market in an effort to boost profits and minimise losses. Active investing is a hands-on growth portfolio management strategy that utilizes both fundamental and technical analysis. Alan Hull will show you a simple active investing strategy that takes less than 15 minutes per week to implement. He will also demonstrate how, as an active investor, he sold all of his shares at the start of the 2008 global financial crisis and didn’t buy back in until mid-2009.




The case for IPOs - Tim Eisenhauer, Managing Director at OnMarket Bookbuilds

IPO activity steadily increased in 2016 and the pipeline for 2017 appears strong. Compared to the ASX200 the 12 month returns for this sector is also solid with a 35.8% return to November 2016 compared 2.7% for the ASX200.  As expected the IT sector continues to dominate the IPO count in 2016. However, before investing in an IPO, what should you look for? How long should you hold the stock? Tim Eisenhauer will present the latest research, discuss the challenges for retail investors and outline how to overcome these.






The case for A-REITS - Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management at Folkestone

The Australian real estate investment trust (A-REIT) sector offers investors access to some of Australia's highest quality office, retail, industrial and real estate related social infrastructure assets. Two key debates associated with A-REITS are 1. are they really just an equity masquerading as real estate or a legitimate form of real estate investing and 2. can you really generate alpha in the sector or should investors just index the sector. Adrian Harrington will put the case that A-REITs have a place in a portfolio and, in doing so, should be actively managed to generate alpha.

The growth investor - Elio D’Amato, Director of Research & Education at Lincoln Indicators

Recently the market has discarded the high quality growth stories for low quality value bargains. But does that mean the end of the growth investor cycle or is this the opportunity patient investors have been waiting for? Elio D’Amato, Director of Research and Education at Lincoln Indicators, will give his views on what is next for the growth investor as well as the key factors to look for when selecting companies which will likely be bigger tomorrow than what they are today. He will show you how to assess the company’s growth prospects; how to determine whether you are paying an acceptable premium price for a quality business and how also to be wary of those priced for perfection.

The case for LICs - Daryl Wilson, CEO at Affluence Funds Management

There are over 90 Listed Investment Companies (LICs) available on ASX. Through LICs you can invest in Australian and international shares and many other asset classes. You can access some great fund managers and many different investment strategies. Daryl Wilson will demonstrate a process designed to identify the best LICs and when to buy them at the right price. You will learn why you might want to hold some LICs in your portfolio, what to look for, the things that do (and don’t) matter and some key trends that can help you add value.



10.30am Morning tea  

The case for gold - Jordan Eliseo, Chief Economist at ABC Bullion

Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Jordan Eliseo will take you on the journey of an Australian gold investor, outlining the key drivers of the gold price, as well as some of the myths surrounding gold investment. Whether you invest in gold bars or a gold fund, Jordan will outline the role gold can play in your investment portfolio and provide some practical tips to investing in this asset class.


Balancing growth & income in Australian equities - Malcolm Whitten, Portfolio Manager & Senior Analyst at Nikko Asset Management

Australian shares can provide investors with an attractive opportunity for income generation. However, when saving for retirement capital growth (and preservation) is also relevant to protect against longevity risk and inflation, is it possible to get a balance of growth and sustainable income from Australian equity allocations? Mal Whitten, Portfolio Manager at Nikko AM Australia will share his investment beliefs and show you how he and the Australian equity team aim to construct a diversified portfolio that generates consistent income, at the same time as delivering capital growth.

The case for domestic small caps - Dean Fergie, Director & Portfolio Manager, Cyan Investment Management

Dean will demonstrate why it is good to have some exposure to small caps and why small and medium size companies, in particular, offer great opportunities.


Healthcare sector - Chris Kallos, Healthcare Analyst at Morningstar

According to a leading research house the S&P/ASX 200 Healthcare Index has returned 247% over the past 10 years, compared to just 54% for the All Ordinaries. Healthcare has been, and still is, ahead of every other sector. Can this dominance continue? What are the challenges and opportunities as ageing populations succumb to chronic diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Chris Kallos will address the issues of the sector and the outlook going forward.










Direct investor and SMSF trustee’s investment trends using ASX - Ian Irvine, Head of Customer and Business Development at ASX

Direct and SMSF trustee investors have chosen to use ASX as a way to invest in an efficient way. Often SMSF trustees lead the way with regard to their investment decisions. This session looks at how the investment profile of direct and SMSF investors has changed and what are the implications.


Debate: The case for class actions - Moderated by Stephen Mayne with Andrew Watson, Head of Class Actions at Maurice Blackburn and Jenny Campbell, Partner at Allens

Are shareholder class actions a distraction for companies and a money making opportunity for lawyers and litigation funders, or an important example of the market holding companies to account for breaching Australia’s continuous disclosure rules? Andrew Watson runs Australia’s biggest corporate class action law firm Maurice Blackburn, which has achieved more than $2.4 billion in settlements from major public companies. Jenny Campbell, a partner at law firm Allens, defends many of the companies which get sued. In a not-to-missed debate, hear both perspectives on whether shareholder class actions are good for Australia.

1.00pm Lunch

The future of retail - Richard Murray, Group CEO at JB Hi-Fi

The retail sector continues to face challenges and only those who adapt will enjoy long term success. Delivering a brand promise has never been more important. JB Hi-Fi Group CEO Richard Murray will how outline how JB Hi-Fi is adapting to the changing retail environment and why evolution is core to his company's DNA.


The role of the Future Fund and its contribution to Australia’s financial position - Peter Costello, Chairman of the Australian Future Fund

3.30pm Afternoon tea  

Grill the chairman panel - Chaired by Stephen Mayne, ASA; Paula Dwyer, Chairman at Tabcorp & Healthscope; James MacKenzie, Chairman at Victorian Funds Management Corporation & Development Victoria; Lindsay Maxsted, Chairman of Westpac and Tim Poole, Chairman at Aurizon Holdings, McMillan Shakespeare & Lifestyle Communities.

This closing session will bring together four prominent chairs of ASX200 companies for a lively discussion facilitated by Stephen Mayne and involving audience participation. Should the AGM be abolished? What do chairs think about two strikes? How should ASA engage with chairs before, during and after an AGM? How do you get rid of dud directors? And what do chairs think of ASA’s rising voting power?  These and many other issues will be debated in this not-to-be missed final plenary.

5.00pm Conference close  

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Please note that all program details are subject to confirmation and change. The dates and venue remain fixed.