MARCH 8, 2016

Mercer Global Investment Forums – Singapore, 8 March, 2016

Forum Agenda

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15:00–17:00Manager Session

17:00–19:30Welcome Drinks



Morning MC

Steven SeowHead of Wealth Management, Asia

09:00–09:10Welcome and Opening

Jeff SchutesInvestments Business Leader, Growth Markets

The current economic and market environment presents investors with many sources of uncertainty, from the pace and impact of monetary policy "normalization" and the slowdown in China to geopolitical risks in the Middle East. So although risk management will remain high on the agenda, investors should also prepare for the opportunities that might arise from periods of market stress. In this session, we explore our key strategic research themes for 2016: handling reduced liquidity in "liquid" markets, preparing for a maturing credit cycle, tilting portfolios from beta to alpha, and thinking long term. We also discuss how these themes translate into practical investment opportunities for our clients.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investments Research


Fumihiko OtsukaRepresentative Director and President of Mercer Investment Solutions, Japan

Adeline TanHead of Investment Advisory, Hong Kong

Serene TanSenior Investment Consultant

09:50–10:00Lightning Talk: The Death of Benchmarks

In this session, we discuss whether defining benchmarks to measure investment managers might actually encourage short-termism and conventional benchmarks may create more risk than investors think. We discuss issues such as how investors can monitor their managers in the short-term with an eye on longer-term returns.

Garry HawkerDirector of Strategic Research, Growth Markets

10:00–10:30Networking and Coffee Break

10:30–11:30Keynote Address: Why Population Matters

Prof. Sarah HarperDirector, The Oxford Institute for Population Ageing

Long-term investing is a much discussed but often wrongly defined term. This session provides insight and clarity around what it means to invest for the long term, addressing questions such as:
  • How long is long term?
  • Which types of investor should care about the long term?
  • What practical steps can long-term investors take in their portfolios?
In particular, the session focuses on how investors might adopt a broader perspective on risk in order to address some of the difficult-to-measure risks and secular trends often ignored by traditional risk models that are biased to the short term.

Phil EdwardsDirector of Strategic Research, Europe

12:00–12:30New Frontiers in Equity Investing

Over the last two decades, Asia and Emerging Market equities have been the go-to asset class for investors seeking high returns. However, over the last five years, lower growth, macro and political risks, and currency volatility have led to low returns, raising questions about the role of traditional emerging market allocations for investors. In this session, we look at the "new frontiers" in equity markets and at where we believe investors will look in order to generate returns from equities in the years ahead.

Rich DellGlobal Head, Equity Boutique

Ying TanResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique


Afternoon MC

Sharon SaundersSenior Investment Operations Consultant

In a persistently low-interest-rate environment, yield-starved investors seek new sources of income and growth while facing incessant market volatility. Private markets offer greater alpha potential and better diversification of risk in this environment by accessing an opportunity set not available through the public markets. The cost of investing in the asset class is illiquidity and the long-term investment horizon. Within private markets, a number of strategies exist across the risk/return spectrum. In this session, we discuss how a multi-sleeve private markets program can be tailored to an investor's specific needs and risk tolerance.

Joe ChangResearch Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Mark MurrayResearch Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

14:30–15:00FinTech – How Technology is Changing Wealth Management

We expect financial technology (FinTech) to have a significant and disruptive impact on the wealth management industry over the coming years and decades. In this session, we bring together three leaders in the industry to discuss various technologies, such as Call Level ("Bloomberg in a pocket") and Mesitis (the first account aggregation service for high-net-worth families). We discuss how these specific innovations are changing the wealth management landscape and more generally what the future in wealth management might look like for individuals and asset managers.

Steven SeowHead of Wealth Management, Asia


Nasir KausarPresident, Bazingo Inc.

Cynthia SiantarCo-founder, Call Levels

Tanmai SharmaCEO and Founder, Mesitis

15:00–15:35A Timely Debate: How Best to Enhance Your Risk-Return Profile

The recent hike in the US Federal Funds Rate is a timely reminder that the current zero-bound interest rates in most of the developed world must rise eventually. Against such a headwind, the highest-quality and non-investment-grade bonds alike remain vulnerable to rising interest rates. At the same time, many asset owners are approaching, if not already at, maximum allocation to equities. In this session, we explore and debate if alternatives such as multi-assets and hedge funds can provide the answer to increasing returns without stretching the liquidity budget of investors.

Chua Boon LeeSenior Investment Consultant


DYNAMIC ASSET ALLOCATIONBen AbellInvestment Consultant

HEDGE FUNDSJordan NaultGlobal Head of Hedge Funds

MULTI ASSET STRATEGYSimon CoxeterResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique

15:35–16:05Networking and Coffee Break

Cyber risk is an escalating threat and one of the most challenging issues facing the financial world today. Cyber risk mitigation is not just a challenge for the IT department — it requires engagement by everyone and must be on the full executive leadership team's radar. Effectively managing cyber risk today requires a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach that encompasses people, processes, and vendors — and includes response and recovery plans in addition to prevention tactics. In this session, we highlight what this means for asset owners and the investment management community.

Craig PlaneMercer Sentinel™ Business Leader, Growth Markets

16:15–17:05Bull or Bear? Three Topical Investment Issues

Is it time to buy within emerging markets? Should we worry about inflation or deflation? Has the US dollar peaked? 2015 marked a watershed moment as the prolonged period of "zero interest rates" in the world's largest developed economies was finally ended by the US Federal Reserve's lifting of rates on December 16. Will this also mark a turn in the tide for asset class performances? Garry Hawker and Dave Stuart go head-to-head on these three important investment topics to enable you to decide whether you're a bull or a bear.

Dave StuartChair of Global Dynamic Asset Allocation and Chief Strategist for Mercer Funds, Pacific

Garry HawkerDirector of Strategic Research, Growth Markets

17:05–17:25Building Portfolios for Long-Term Investing in a Short-Term World

A true long-term investor never loses sight of their long-term goals, and positions portfolios accordingly, to reflect perceived long-term risks and opportunities. The pragmatic long-term investor acknowledges, however, that the long-term is ultimately a series of short-terms, and their ability to meet long-term goals is heavily influenced by how effectively they manage the short-term i.e. capitalising on opportunities and responding to changing risk environments. In this session, we discuss the evolving nature of risk management in diversified portfolios, the current perception of risks, and how investors should respond.

Amit PopatSenior Investment Consultant

17:25–17:30Concluding Remarks

Kian Lee SoonHead of Investments, ASEAN


Did you know?

Members of some professional bodies may be able to claim continuing professional development credits for attending this event

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