Centred Investor

Introducing the Centred Investor

The Centred Investor is an annual publication for and about the Institutional Investor. The journal is distributed to 700+ executives, trustees, and other representatives of Australian superannuation funds; master trusts, statutory funds, insurance funds, provident funds and other institutional investor (Funds) entities; and asset consulting firms servicing the Funds industry.

Each edition details a comprehensive look at the core themes the Centre for Investor Education (CIE) has identified as topical for the Institutional Investor.

All editions of the Centred Investor are available for download here:

Centred Investor Issue 10

Investor sentiment has shifted and CIE’s delegates agree that Europe offers the greatest investment opportunities over the next three years. It is time for investors to wipe away the tears and focus on the opportunities in front of them.

Investors are taking a fresh look at Europe and there are four forces at play creating a new sense of optimism. First, positive economic data shows that the trend is your friend. While not outstanding by global comparison the trend in European GDP growth, unemployment and productivity are clearly positive and more stable than at any time over the past decade. While there are vast differences across European nations the fact is that aggregate economic performance offers the strongest outlook since the financial crisis.

Second, European corporate earnings have picked up off historical lows and are now growing faster than in the US. Economic growth is flowing through to corporate earnings in Europe at a time when US earnings appear to be slowing. Relative value is seeing investors re-weight towards Europe and this will continue. A third driving force is that most of the bad news is in the market. While Brexit remains a source of uncertainty, the markets haven’t panicked. Investors have concluded both Europe and the UK will survive.

Fourth, the wave of political populism appears to have been stemmed in France and Germany. The political victories of Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel represent a retreat back to the political centre in the two most important nations of the EU.

The mood of the German electorate was summed up well in the lead up to the German election by the Münchner Merkur when it wrote; “In an increasingly uncertain world which is led by testosterone-filled leaders, people don’t know what Schulz wants. But they know what Merkel can do.”

The bottom line is that, while Europe continues to face many challenges, the economic decline has subsided, the politics is more stable and relative value is looking much better.

Centred Investor Issue 9

In today’s rapidly changing and uncertain economic environment, it is more important than ever to be innovative in how we manage portfolios in pursuit of returns; how we manage and immunise portfolios against downside and tail risks; and how we manage people and organisational structures to enable us
to successfully navigate the increasingly complex investment landscape we face.

In 2017 we will take CIE’s International Investing Symposium to Washington D.C. where the event will be held at the infamous Watergate Hotel. By April 2017 we will be three months into the term of the new President (Inauguration Day is 20 January) and domestic and foreign policy agendas will be becoming evident.

We will dissect the implications of a new President in an increasingly multipolar world, where the US faces challengers to its economic, political, and military influence and where the risks of growing isolationism are real. The US remains the dominant force in the global economy and it will provide a rich framework from which to view global investment issues.

This, the ninth edition of the Centred Investor, addresses these important ideas and focuses on a number of investment trends and approaches that investors ought to keep in mind as they navigate the uncertain investment environment.

Centred Investor Issue 8

CIE is celebrating its 20th year in 2016. Having been part of our industry for the past two decades, CIE has witnessed firsthand the changes that have occurred, with the industry having professionalised rapidly in terms of leadership, organisational capability, corporate strategy and investment expertise. Over the same timeframe, financial markets and the global economy have undergone a steady evolution and endured periods of seismic dislocation.

The challenges and opportunities in global investment, risk management and product development have become broader and more complex and in response investors have deepened their in-house expertise.

To ensure we remain relevant and add value to investors, we have refocused our program with the objective of creating an unparalleled platform for knowledge sharing.

This, the eighth edition of the Centred Investor, delves into CIE’s continuing evolution as it strives to become even more technically sophisticated, globally focused and to create new sources of value for investors through its investment forums, symposiums and other media. Furthermore, this edition addresses a number of important ideas, trends and investment philosophies that funds ought to keep in mind in pursuit of optimal outcomes for their beneficiaries.

Centred Investor Issue 7

The seventh edition of the Centred Investor looks at the resurgence of tensions between Russia and the West, and the implications for Central and Eastern Europe. As countries and companies consider their next move, investors also need to consider how to be positioned in this high stakes game of chess.

With tensions running high between the European Union and the Kremlin, especially in the wake of the outbreak of violence in the Ukraine, there is growing concern in the West about the onset of a new Cold War brought about by changing economic spheres of influence. Russia’s growing economic might has led many in Europe to conclude that their eastern neighbour is more powerful now than ever before. Russia is slowly gaining sway over parts of Central and Eastern Europe, even amongst European Union member states like Hungary, through a series of trade negotiations and political agreements. Whispers of growing political and military influence over Estonia have further worsened fears that Russia is intent on re-establishing itself as a superpower using Cold War tactics, given that Estonia is a NATO member country and has been an independent nation since the fall of the Soviet Union.



Centred Investor Issue 6

The sixth edition of the Centred Investor looks at the strategic location of Turkey as the connection between the East and the West. The focus on Peripheral Europe is growing as the European Union tentatively emerges out of a crisis and embarks on its long road to recovery.

A lot can be learnt from Turkey through the time elapsed between the fall of the Ottoman Empire and its comeback post GFC. The contributors to this edition of the Centred Investor share their opinions and perspectives with respect to: the structural changes driving growth in emerging markets and the potential for superior returns from a myriad of factors that can be exploited across global markets; the related currency risk investors face in making efforts to overcome domestic biases in portfolios; and an alternative to the post-retirement dilemma that Australian superannuation are currently facing.

The Centred Investor also delves into CIE’s 2014 investment forums, symposiums and training programs; and dissects the key themes that are to be addressed in a bid to shed light on the key issues related to the investing of retirement assets.


Centred Investor Issue 5
This edition of the Centred Investor analyses the dynamics behind the low interest rate environment and the resulting repercussions for owners and managers of fixed income assets.

Since hitting a high of 15.8% in September 1980, the yield on 10-year US government bonds has been downward trending for the past three decades. Today the 10-year US government bond yield is at ~1.68%. This scenario is broadly representative of interest rates globally and has benefited fixed income portfolios as a result of bond values rising. However, with little room for interest rates to fall further, fixed income managers are facing the prospect of interest rates rising inevitably. While many are considering alternatives, such as infrastructure and real estate as a substitute to generating yield to help match liabilities whilst hedging inflation risk, fixed income assets are likely to continue to make up a material portion of institutional portfolios.

Contributors to the Centred Investor share their thoughts and investment strategies across the asset class and provide insights as to how fixed income portfolios can be managed better under this environment.



Centered Investor Issue 4
The fourth edition of the Centred Investor draws on Japan’s economic history and current economic challenges faced in consideration of the possible environment that institutional investors across western economies may face in times to come.

Contributors to this edition of the Centred Investor share their thoughts on: the “Japanisation” of the West and how learning from history can help the West avoid a similar fate to that endured by Japan over the last two decades; how activism can be used as part of the wider investment strategy to add value and alpha; and finally, as investors seek out the higher growth environment of emerging
markets, understanding the drivers of emerging market equity performance.

In the last issue for the 2012 calendar year the Centred Investor also delves into CIE’s 2013 investment forums, symposiums and training program and dissects the key themes that will be addressed, in a bid to help facilitate best practice management of retirement assets in today’s dynamic operating environment.



Centered Investor Issue 3
Demographic shifts, urbanisation, technological innovation and environmental trends, coupled with historically low global growth are some of the external factors providing challenges for institutional investors. Meanwhile, superannuation fund members are demanding better risk adjusted returns.

This confluence of events is occurring in parallel to a rapidly evolving regulatory regime, aiming to encourage best practice amongst industry participants. Consequently, superannuation funds are under significant pressure to evolve their organisational structures to improve their efficiency and competitiveness. In view of this backdrop and the challenges the industry faces, the third edition of the Centred Investor explores various facets of competition across the superannuation industry and the path the industry as a whole, and at the fund level, can take to “rise above the herd” and better achieve goals held out to members.




Centred Investor Issue 2
The GFC has served as an inflection point for the financial system as a whole, with both the beginning and the end of numerous longer term economic and financial trends, resulting in structural reforms to domestic and global capital markets. These changes
are reflected in the Basel III (Banking), Solvency II (Insurance) and Stronger Super (Superannuation) reforms being implemented by regulatory bodies worldwide. Based on the research conducted, CIE believe the role custodians of capital have historically played within the financial system is nearing a pivotal point.

The decisions institutional investors make now stand to have significant implications for years to come. CIE believe the contention that the Australian Superannuation industry is positioned to benefit by playing a greater role in Australian debt capital markets warrants further investigation and presents a worthy theme for our second edition of the Centred Investor.


Centred Investor Issue 1
2011 has seen economies and financial markets around the world experience significant volatility and ongoing levels of uncertainty,  with profound effects on member outcomes. In combating the relentless macroeconomic environment, the superannuation industry is undergoing significant change in seeking to ensure best practice management of members’ assets. A drive towards increased consolidation and an intensified regulatory environment has ensued.

This edition details a comprehensive look at the core themes we have identified throughout 2011, as they are likely to be most significant for the industry over the coming years.