Mercer Global Investment Forums 2018

SINGAPORE6 March 2018

Forum Agenda

Contains links to related content on Mercer.com

5 MARCH, MONDAY

15:45–16:30Manager Session Registration

16:30–18:20Manager Session

18:30–20:30Welcome Reception & Buffet Dinner

6 MARCH, TUESDAY

07:30–08:30Breakfast

08:45–08:55Welcome and Opening

Chee Loong ChongWealth Business Leader, Singapore

08:55–09:00Morning MC

Neil NaraleActing CEO, Mercer Singapore

With the global economy in the midst of a widespread upswing in growth, what does 2018 hold in store? In this session, we set out our investment themes for 2018, which we believe will present both challenges and opportunities as well as drive change in the investment landscape. We outline major issues impacting different investors around the world, and invite you to raise the key investment challenges you are facing for the panel to address.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investment Research

Phil EdwardsGlobal Director of Strategic Research

Garry HawkerDirector of Strategic Research, Growth Markets

Adeline TanHead of Investment Advisory, Hong Kong

09:50–10:05Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Journey into the unknown with Mind Games 2 and this time plot the future of a digital odyssey as it transforms the world around us. Join us to engage in a lively table debate, create new and exciting portfolios, and finally, discover the future of mankind.

Ben AbellDirector of Analytics Research & Tools, Growth Markets

10:05–10:35Networking and Coffee Break

10:35–11:35Keynote Address: Reimagining Financial Services for the Algorithmic Age

We are on the brink of an entirely new era for financial services. Tomorrow's consumers and companies, accustomed to real-time, personalized experiences made possible by data, algorithms and machine-learning, will demand an unprecedented level of service, product and attention. And in order to meet those expectations, tomorrow's financial institutions will need to be agile, responsive and driven by the very same digital DNA as the giants of e-commerce, social media and search. For 21st century leaders, the challenge is clear: how do you balance a deeply human insight into what makes for great experiences, with a computational ability to leverage automation and algorithmic tools to make smarter, faster and more impactful decisions?

Mike WalshFounder and CEO, Tomorrow

11:35–12:05Which Way Forward? A Principled and Practical Approach to Good Investment Stewardship

In this session, we explore what Good Investment Stewardship or Responsible Investment means both locally and globally and how, as fiduciaries, asset owners can work out which way forward is most appropriate for their organisation. While there is no "one size fits all" approach, we outline some key components of a robust investment stewardship strategy, as well as examples and indicators of best practice. We also investigate some of the common pitfalls or challenges of implementing an investment stewardship program and how asset consultants, investment managers and other service providers can provide practical support along the journey.

Alexis CheangResponsible Investment Consultant

Today there 250 million migrants on the move, of which 65 million are refugees. Drawing on the World Economic Forum Global Risks report and Mercer climate change research, this lightning talk asks questions such as "Are we really understanding the connections between global social issues like migration on social and economic stability?", "Are investors at risk of having blind spots, not recognising that social system issues are already impacting economies, governments and companies the world over?", "Do these issues impact sovereign risk and mean headwinds for equities?" We suggest that, as long-term investors, there are ways of assessing social issues and share ideas on tools and indicators for addressing them.

Maykala HariharanInvestment Operations Consultant, Growth Markets

12:15–12:25Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Journey into the unknown with Mind Games 2 and this time plot the future of a digital odyssey as it transforms the world around us. Join us to engage in a lively table debate, create new and exciting portfolios, and finally, discover the future of mankind.

Ben AbellDirector of Analytics Research & Tools, Growth Markets

12:25–13:40Lunch

Afternoon MC

Sharon SaundersSenior Investment Operations Consultant, Growth Markets

13:40–14:35Alternatives Factor: Overcoming 'Hurdles' to Investment Success

The environment of continued low interest rates has been one of the driving forces behind the increasing prominence of alternative assets in recent years. Many institutions now commit to at least one alternative asset class, but investors also face significant hurdles, such as high valuations, fees, illiquidity, complexity and varying levels of transparency. In this interactive session, four asset class specialists each argue how a specific alternative asset class can overcome or compensate for these hurdles. Three Mercer colleagues form a panel of judges to ask questions and provide their views. The audience also gets to ask questions and ultimately vote for the most convincing presentation.
Moderator

Simon CoxeterResearch Specialist, Multi-Asset and Equity Boutique

Presenters

Infrastructure

Mark MurrayResearch Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Private Equity

Mei-ni YangResearch Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Real Estate

Henry ChingLeader, Real Estate Boutique, Asia

Hedge Funds

Adrian WorthResearch Specialist, Hedge Funds Boutique

Judges

Paul CavalierGlobal Leader, Fixed Income Boutique

Janet LiWealth Business Leader, Asia

Beverley SharpStrategy Leader, Investment Research

14:35–14:45Lightning Talk: Will All Stock-pickers Be Robots?

Advances in artificial intelligence have continued at an ever increasing pace over the past few years, and today the world's best chess and poker players are machines. Is it conceivable that before long the world's best investors will be machines, too? In this lightning talk, we explore the impact of technology developments on the investment industry and consider whether advances in big data and machine learning will mean that robots entirely take over from human stock-pickers in the future.

Fei TanResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique

14:45–15:20Does Our Industry Remain Fit for Purpose?

The asset management industry is part of a wider savings and investment ecosystem. In the eyes of many, this industry is malfunctioning. The charge is that it is increasingly remote from end savers (who are the ultimate providers of the capital), fraught with agency issues, and failing in its central role as an effective allocator of capital. Equally, buyers of investment services have an important role to play in ensuring the value created by the industry flows efficiently through to end savers. In this session, we set out our idealistic vision of the future, and consider what the providers and buyers of asset management services can do to help ensure the industry remains fit for purpose.

Janet LiWealth Business Leader, Asia

Rich DellGlobal Leader, Equity Boutique

Serene TanSenior Investment Consultant

In 2010, an individual bought two large pizzas in exchange for 10,000 Bitcoins in what is believed to be the first cryptocurrency transaction. By the end of 2017, a single Bitcoin was worth over $14,000 and Bitcoin had a market capitalization higher than New Zealand's economy. So, what lies ahead for the future of cryptocurrencies? With the substantial rise in value, will a practical use for cryptocurrency beyond speculation be established? Could this therefore represent a new asset class? In this lightning talk, we discuss the truths and myths surrounding cryptocurrencies. We examine the underlying blockchain technology, and looking beyond Bitcoin we also outline how other digital currencies have performed. Finally, we set out the developments in regulatory response and practical applications for financial institutions.

Chin Yee KohInvestment Consultant

15:30–16:00Networking and Coffee Break

This session looks at the past, present and future to examine how the world of bond investing is evolving, and how the fixed income strategies of today can be better aligned to your future needs for protection and growth. The future is unpredictable, and the road ahead is certain to be bumpy at times, so buckle up and unconstrain your imagination… the world of bonds just got a whole lot more interesting!

Lewis EmmonsResearch Specialist, Fixed Income Boutique

16:20–17:10Debate: Is Inflation Ever Coming Back?

Our annual debate is back! Older members of the audience may recall the chaotic inflation of the '70s, when rampant price rises around the world decimated living standards and left investors with substantial losses across most asset classes. However, since 1980 inflation has been on a steady downtrend and post the GFC, deflationary threats have replaced inflation as central banks' main preoccupation. Will structural disinflation prevail, or is inflation likely to return to haunt markets? Our customary protagonists, Andrew Kirton and David Stuart, will attempt to persuade you of the merits of their respective viewpoints on this topic, whose resolution may have a profound impact on asset class returns.

Andrew KirtonGlobal Chief Investment Officer

Dave StuartChair of Global Dynamic Asset Allocation

17:10–17:20Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Journey into the unknown with Mind Games 2 and this time plot the future of a digital odyssey as it transforms the world around us. Join us to engage in a lively table debate, create new and exciting portfolios, and finally, discover the future of mankind.

Ben AbellDirector of Analytics Research & Tools, Growth Markets

17:20–17:40Plot a Route to Success

In this session, we bring together the various themes and topics highlighted over the course of the Forum. We put forward suggestions for how you as investors can build these into a fiduciary calendar for the year and ultimately help you plot a route to success in this extended cycle.

Rich NuzumPresident, Wealth

17:45–19:15Drinks

2017 Event highlights

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