Mercer Global Investment Forums

HONG KONG14 March 2017

Mercer Global Investment Forums – Hong Kong, 8 March, 2017

Forum Agenda

Contains links to related content on Mercer.com

MARCH 13, MONDAY

15:00–17:20Manager Session

18:00–21:00Reception and Dinner Buffet

MARCH 14, TUESDAY

08:45–08:55Welcome and Opening

Billy WongWealth Leader — Hong Kong, China, and Korea

08:55–09:00MC

Elvin TharmHead of Business Development, Wealth, Hong Kong

The global economy is starting to reflate with stronger growth and higher inflation expected in 2017, although we are also seeing the potential for increased volatility in financial markets. We believe that investors must seek to identify and understand some of the key drivers of change in today's world. Global fragmentation, an abundance of capital, a shift from monetary to fiscal stimulus and understanding structural changes are four themes we believe will shape and influence the investment environment of 2017 and the years ahead. In this session, we explore how different types of investors can respond to these themes to seek out practical investment opportunities, improve their portfolio outcomes and meet their objectives.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investment Research

Garry HawkerWealth Business Leader, Singapore and Director of Strategic Research, Growth Markets

Adeline TanHead of Investment Advisory — Hong Kong

Boon Lee ChuaSenior Investment Consultant, Singapore

09:40–10:10Achieving a Healthy Outlook: How to Survive and Thrive in this World of Individual Accounts

A lack of access to savings programs, as well as financial exclusion in many markets, has led to a global savings gap, which is exacerbated by rapidly aging populations. Consequently, savings policies are increasingly focused on ensuring that individuals have sufficient savings, regardless of employment status. The shift to individual responsibilities in creating financial retirement security presents new challenges, particularly in markets still accumulating scale and more limited financial literacy. In this session, we discuss the different approaches to global retirement system reforms, the implications of these changes and a number of emerging regional policy responses.

Stacy ScapinoSenior Investment Consultant, Illinois

Garry HawkerWealth Business Leader, Singapore and Director of Strategic Research, Growth Markets

10:10–10:20Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities I

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Ben AbellSenior Investment Consultant, Singapore

10:20–10:50Networking and Coffee Break

10:50–11:50Keynote Address: Where Tech Will Create Opportunity In An Accelerating World

The exponential curve that Moore's law brought to computer processing is equally hitting diverse sectors such as the costs of gene sequencing and solar energy. The ubiquitous networked device, profiting from ever-more-powerful machine intelligence, is meanwhile transforming market advantage in sectors from entertainment to politics. In short, the world will never move this slowly again.

WIRED Editor-at-large David Rowan offers first-hand insights from his recent travels in tech ecosystems from Shenzhen to San Francisco, Harvard to Herzliya, to unpick where the smart founders, investors and researchers see the greatest investment opportunities. From conversational AI bots to voice interfaces, autonomous vehicles to blockchain-based authentication systems, new winners are emerging that will rapidly disrupt incumbents' market value. Meanwhile, geopolitical pressures - from demographics and resource scarcity to neo-isolationism - will cause new imbalances in commodities markets and consumption patterns. Yet as technology-led transformation creates new opportunities, David also explores how the strongest startups acclimatize to the risks of failure as they bet boldly on future consumer behavior and business models because it takes a startup mindset to optimize your chances to win in the emerging investment landscape.

David RowanEditor, WIRED UK

11:50–12:20Customization to Exploit Competitive Edge

Every institutional investor is unique, and investment strategy and its implementation should reflect this. Explicit consideration of which risks we are more willing to take, relative to other investors with whom we're competing for returns, can help us construct an investment program that exploits our comparative advantages to deliver outperformance. What are the opportunities we can exploit as corporate defined benefit plans close, freeze, de-risk and engage in buyout transactions with insurers? What are the opportunities we can exploit as individual account-based savings become the dominant form of savings globally? How can we exploit the short-termism, rear-view mirror bias and lack of "single-line-item" risk tolerance inherent in the governance of many investment programs? This session explores how, at both an asset class and an active management level, better governance can drive better investment outcomes.

Rich NuzumWealth Leader — Growth Markets

12:20–12:30Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities II

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Ben AbellSenior Investment Consultant, Singapore

12:30–13:45Lunch

Innovation in The WM Industry and Implications for Wealth Managers

In this wealth management breakout session, we discuss the hype and latest development of robo advisors in the industry — what value can they add and what are the investment implications? We answer questions such as: What innovation are we seeing in this market, both in Asia and further afield in Europe and the US? What do those considering adding a robo-advisory capability need to consider? And what would best-in-class robo advisors look like?

Beverley Sharp Global Leader, Retail Research

Steven SeowHead of Wealth Management, Asia

According to philosopher and satirist Mokokoma Mokhonoana, "In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying." This breakout session takes the terror out of unpredictability and reveals the role multi-asset strategies can play in diversifying one of the most undiversified components of the fiduciary value chain: asset allocation decision-making and philosophy. We also explore how clients can harness different segments of the multi-asset strategy spectrum to tackle a range of challenges, provide historical context to performance outcomes over recent years and possibly even defy unpredictability by making some predictions.

Simon CoxeterResearch Specialist, Multi-Asset and Equity Boutique

Cameron SystermansPortfolio Manager, Delegated Solutions

Factor-Based Investing – Is it Worth The Effort?

Much has been written about factor investing and how factor-focused strategies can be used to construct "robust" equity portfolios. In this breakout session, we compare various factor-based investment approaches (including "passive" factor indices and active approaches), look at whether factor strategies have delivered on their expectations and discuss practical considerations for clients within the context of Mercer's advice in this area.

Rich DellGlobal Leader, Equity Boutique

Fei TanResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique

Given the current level of bond yields and equity market valuations, portfolios dominated by equities and bonds offer a relatively unattractive risk/return trade-off going forward. One important way that investors are looking to address this challenge is to seek a greater contribution from alternative asset classes across both liquid (e.g., hedge fund) and illiquid (e.g., private market) opportunities. In this breakout session, we explore how investors can build exposure to these alternative asset classes.

Bill MuyskenChief Investment Officer — Alternatives

Mei-ni YangPrivate Equity Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Innovation in The WM Industry and Implications for Wealth Managers

In this wealth management breakout session, we discuss the hype and latest development of robo advisors in the industry — what value can they add and what are the investment implications? We answer questions such as: What innovation are we seeing in this market, both in Asia and further afield in Europe and the US? What do those considering adding a robo-advisory capability need to consider? And what would best-in-class robo advisors look like?

Beverley Sharp Global Leader, Retail Research

Steven SeowHead of Wealth Management, Asia

According to philosopher and satirist Mokokoma Mokhonoana, "In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying." This breakout session takes the terror out of unpredictability and reveals the role multi-asset strategies can play in diversifying one of the most undiversified components of the fiduciary value chain: asset allocation decision-making and philosophy. We also explore how clients can harness different segments of the multi-asset strategy spectrum to tackle a range of challenges, provide historical context to performance outcomes over recent years and possibly even defy unpredictability by making some predictions.

Simon CoxeterResearch Specialist, Multi-Asset and Equity Boutique

Cameron SystermansPortfolio Manager, Delegated Solutions

Factor-Based Investing – Is it Worth The Effort?

Much has been written about factor investing and how factor-focused strategies can be used to construct "robust" equity portfolios. In this breakout session, we compare various factor-based investment approaches (including "passive" factor indices and active approaches), look at whether factor strategies have delivered on their expectations and discuss practical considerations for clients within the context of Mercer's advice in this area.

Rich DellGlobal Leader, Equity Boutique

Fei TanResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique

Given the current level of bond yields and equity market valuations, portfolios dominated by equities and bonds offer a relatively unattractive risk/return trade-off going forward. One important way that investors are looking to address this challenge is to seek a greater contribution from alternative asset classes across both liquid (e.g., hedge fund) and illiquid (e.g., private market) opportunities. In this breakout session, we explore how investors can build exposure to these alternative asset classes.

Bill MuyskenChief Investment Officer — Alternatives

Mei-ni YangPrivate Equity Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

For the foreseeable future, we expect investment markets to remain volatile, which for many investors provides opportunities, whereas for others this uncertainty is a challenge. Previously, we have relied on assets such as bonds to provide "protection" in periods of significant equity market drawdown; however, with the increased correlation of equities and bonds, does this strategy still remain valid? In this environment of low or even negative yields, we explore other asset classes and investment techniques that we believe will provide the protection required.

Amit PopatHead of Delegated Solutions — Growth Markets

15:35–15:45Lightning Talk: Fees For Alpha

As options for passive investing expand at an ever-increasing rate, the spotlight on management fees shines ever brighter. Fees shouldn't be the driving force behind investment decision-making, but they are an important factor. Deciding which strategies provide the best value for money is a challenge we sympathize with. Get ready for some thought-provoking analysis as we outline which strategies should theoretically get the best alpha per unit of fees and where our A-rated strategies have historically delivered.

Frank CookeInvestment Consultant, Hong Kong

15:45–16:15Networking and Coffee Break

16:15–16:25Lightning Talk: ETFs: Do They Really Offer an Investment Advantage?

An end investment goal has many components, and each one faces innovation, competition and regulatory scrutiny in its own turn. ETFs seem to satisfy those pieces well, being cheap to design and distribute for the providers, while investors see them as low-cost and easy to access. Are we entering a world of "ETF of all things"? In this lightning talk, we set out the pros and cons and consider whether ETFs really do offer an investment advantage to institutional investors.

Adeline TanHead of Investment Advisory — Hong Kong

16:25–17:05Globalization in a Fragile World: Is it Time for a Rethink?

In this session, we debate whether it is now the time for a rethink on globalization. Andrew Kirton and Dave Stuart go head to head and discuss the implications of globalization, covering topics such as geopolitics, economics and trade, technology, and the implications for investment today. We also encourage audience debate so you can decide where you stand on this topic!

Andrew KirtonGlobal Chief Investment Officer

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

17:05–17:15Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities III

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Ben AbellSenior Investment Consultant, Singapore

17:15–17:30Final Thoughts

Billy WongWealth Leader — Hong Kong, China, and Korea

17:30–19:00Drinks

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