December 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

A Year of Conservative Political Shake-Ups

Politically, it’s been an interesting year. One that has surprised many, shocked some, and sent others into a momentary tailspin. The world appears to be trending toward more conservative, nationalist politics and, in the case of the United States, away from politicians altogether.

Six months ago Britons voted to leave the European Union and at first the reaction was one of shock. The markets were in chaos and the Pound, understandably, took a beating. In the most recent twist it’s been reported that Russia may have fixed the election. So what does this all mean for Asia-Pacific? In September, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo were asked about their plans by a number of politicians in Europe, urging them to prioritise discussions with the EU, rather than the UK. And British Labour representative David Martin told us we “cannot dance with two people at once”, challenging Australia to consider its plans post-Brexit. Formal talks with the UK cannot be held until Brexit actually takes place and Mr Ciobo pointed out back in September that trade discussions with the EU were at a much more “mature” stage than with the UK. It will be interesting to see how these trade negotiations play out and where priorities will indeed lie, especially following the collapse of a European trade deal with Canada in October. The UK is Australia’s second-largest foreign investor and their seventh largest trading partner. The relationship has been strong for decades, so it seems unlikely that Australia will not do everything in its power to negotiate a trade deal with the UK, while also forging a stronger relationship with Europe. If it can be managed.

Ultimately the decision by 52% of Britons to leave the EU was spurred on by ‘Leave‘ commentary aroundglobalisation not working for Britain and a desire to protect its borders. Something similar happened in the US this November when Donald Trump was voted in as the next president. He’s promised to remove the US from its responsibility as the ‘world’s policeman‘ and to raise tarrifs, opposing free trade agreements, in another big protectionist move. As the world becomes more parochial, Australia and Asia-Pac nations should be open to managing their own economies and military better. If Trump wants to be less involved in global conflicts, countries like Australia may well be required to pump more into their own military, which obviously comes at a cost. He’s already suggested that Japan and Korea would need to be more independent from a military perspective. And if global tarrifs are raised and restrictions are placed on imports and exports, we are likely to feel exposed here in Asia-Pac, in turn affecting our economies and confidence. While PM Malcolm Turnbull reassured Australians that they are politically independent on the battlefield, Brooking’s Institute security analyst Thomas Wright warned, “There will be real doubts about the alliance with the US, the alliance system in the Asia-Pacific more generally, and whether the United States will remain present in the region”. Australia’s Kim Beazley went as far as stating that if Trump “imposes the tariff he’s talking about with respect to China, it will cause close to an economic crisis.” Others have argued that stepping away from the US can only be a good thing, and will push us harder into forging stronger relationships in the region. Whatever happens next year, it will definitely be an interesting one from a political, trade, economic and military perspective.

Thank you for your support in 2016. We hope you’ve enjoyed our monthly newsletters and gained from our news and opportunity updates in your inbox and on your social media feeds. We wish you a safe and happy Christmas season and hope 2017 is prosperous and memorable. As always, we are available to chat about your career and plans for next year across our four key markets: Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Hong Kong. Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

November 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

Ethical & Socially Responsible Investing

ESG, or Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, seems to be in financial services news a lot lately. All the big banks and funds appear to have a stronger-than-ever ESG focus, especially with climate change, sustainability and human rights in the spotlight in recent years. These ESG factors are having a significant impact on a company’s value, and this way of investing is becoming more mainstream.

As outlined in a recent article in The Australian by Will Hamilton of Hamilton Wealth Management, ethical and socially responsible investing has traditionally meant excluding tobacco, alcohol, gambling and guns from investment decisions. But increasingly these exclusions are moving towards environmentally-conscious choices such as excluding investment in fossil fuels like coal, despite its rising price.

Last December the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong upped the ante for listed companies, advising them they have to ‘comply or explain‘, including 12 environmental KPIs including greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous wastes, water consumption and energy use.

The story is the same in Singapore. An annual review of Singaporean companies’ sustainability will take place, requiring companies to report on ESG issues relevant to their business.

The argument behind more responsible investing is that this will help create a more sustainable economy, in a world where this is more important to investors, and more small-scale customers, than ever. And the icing on the sustainable cake? ESG funds have been seen to outperform non-ESG funds in some markets.

October 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

10 Habits of Successful People

To get ahead in financial services it’s worthwhile to pause and consider some of the traits of successful professionals, no matter what industry they’re in.

1. Count minutes rather than hours
To successful people there is nothing more valuable to them than time. Money can be made quickly but can disappear just as fast all in the same day. Deals are won and lost; clients come and go. But time can never be reveresed or reclaimed. Successful people are cognisant of this and of the importance of making each minute count.

2. Only check email a few times per day
So many of us have become slaves to our inbox. We leave it open all day and check it incessantly, responding to emails as soon as they appear. Successful people are aware of this intrusion and deliberately schedule specific times of the day to check and respond to emails. And avoid checking emails first thing in the morning or before bed in the evening. Give yourself some well-deserved ‘me’ time.

3. Avoid lengthy meetings
Everyone’s experienced a meeting when you’ve wondered why on Earth you’re there. Successful people don’t have meetings for the sake of meetings, and they keep them brief and to the point. Give yourself the opportunity to actually get work done, and minimise the time spent in meeting room chairs.

4. Ditch your to do list
A handy tip for more success and focussed work is to throw away your to do list. Lists can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Schedule everything in your calendar and set reminders and deadines for work. Your calendar will be your one port of call for everything work-related.

5. Carry a notebook:
Behind every successful person is a notebook (or a few) full of ideas, musings, concepts and thoughts. Carry one, keep one in the office, beside your bed, next to the loo. When a good idea comes to mind, write it down. It may be your best idea yet. Writing down thoughts unburdens your mind and allows you to work more effectively. If it’s good enough for Richard Branson and Aristotle Onassis, then it’s good enough for you.

6. Delegate, delegate, delegate
The idea of delegation sounds simple, but so many of us take on more work than we need to, and don’t let go of work someone else could be doing. If you have a team of people to help you, put them to good use. Acknowledge their help and enjoy not feeling overworked when you can avoid it by sharing the work around.

7. Don’t make excuses
“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure”. Successful people just get stuff done. They don’t waste time making excuses. Don’t be someone that has multiple reasons for not seeing their dreams come to fruition. Stop making excuses and just go for it!

8. Be healthy
You’ve heard the phrase ‘healthy body, healthy mind‘. Well, it’s not just words. If you keep active and eat and sleep well you’ll feel more energised, more positive and are more likely to reach your goals. Successful people need energy. So look after yourself, inside and out, and see if you notice a difference in your mental wellbeing and desire to achieve whatever you have your heart set on.

9. Surround yourself by other successful individuals
There’s no greater way to urge you to push forward with a new idea than surrounding yourself with successful people who inspire you. It’s also a great opportunity to brainstorm and throw ideas around.

10. Make it home for dinner
People in financial services know all too well that long hours are often just a part of the job. But it’s so important to remember everything, and everyone, else. At the end of the day your family will remember the moments you spent together at home; the nights you were home for dinner; the weekends when you didn’t work. Spend some time with your family and try to reach that work/life balance we all dream of.

September 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

The 5 Worst Questions to ask in an Asset Management Interview

Your first interview with an asset manager is a great opportunity to learn more about the fund and to demonstrate how your experience can add value. To show your excitement in the firm, it is often a clever tactic to propose some canny well-directed questions. There’s no interview textbook and it comes down to the interviewer and the nature of the role you are applying for. It is worth considering the purpose of the interview so you can tailor your preparation. Whether it’s with HR or your 1st, 2nd or 8th round interview, here are some questions you might want to avoid.

1. Are you a hedge fund?
Hedge funds typically pride themselves on being hedge funds and under the radar, while traditional asset managers pride themselves on not being hedge funds. Either way this question is unlikely to get a great response, and will make you seem ill-informed.

2. How quickly can I become a Portfolio Manager?
If you are not applying to join the investment team then it might be an idea to keep this ambition clandestine initially – at least until you get the job. The path to becoming a PM is a long road and it’s best not to query the length of the road.

3. Are the bonuses better than Investment Banking?       
It’s always nice to get a feel for the total earnings available in the role you’re applying for, but using investment banking bonuses as a benchmark may be misleading. In an interview situation, asking whether the bonuses rival banking incentives will likely do two things: the question may annoy the interviewer or the answer might disappoint you.

4. What are your total Assets-Under-Management?  
This you should find shouting at you on the homepage of the company’s website. If not, then there’s probably a reason why. Rather than asking for the AUM directly, it is best to wait until the information is provided.

5. Are the hours better than Investment Banking?
This is often the case for Buy-Side positions, but to emphasise your impressive work ethic, let them know there are reasons beyond the hours that you’re excited about. Similar to the bonus question, go easy on the investment banking comparisons

August 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

Tips for Doing Business Abroad

Doing business abroad can have challenges beyond basic language barriers. Here are a few tips for your next business dealing with people from Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia to help bridge any potential culture gaps.

Singapore is a multicultural society where Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions coexist in a western cosmopolitan city full of well-educated, innovative individuals. The Chinese community accounts for around three-quarters of Singapore’s population so their culture has a great influence on how business is done. They consider the interests of a group more important than those of an individual and, as such, decisions are usually reached by consensus. Singaporeans placeimportance on hierarchy and status so it is advisable to know who is more senior as they are the ones who should be spoken with first in a meeting. A light handshake is good during greetings but you might find that it is appropriate to slightly bow your head in acknowledgement to women. Singaporeans prefer a calm manner during communication. Don’t speak hastily; it comes across as thoughtless. Be prepared for some tough negotiations too; the Singaporeans like to bargain. Try not to lose patience when working out the details. When a business deal is closed, the exchanging of small gifts is appropriate.

Singapore and Hong Kong share similar values so doing business can be a comparable experience. Red is a lucky colour in Hong Kong, and represents good fortune, so wearing something red, such as a tie, may have a positive effect during business negotiations. It is a sign of respect when you lower your eyes during an introduction and a light handshake is appropriate. And ensure you address them with their appropriate title and surname. People in Hong Kong might ask you some personal questions during small talk before proceeding to talking business in order to get to know you well. If someone at a business meeting sucks air through their teeth, It is likely you have said something they don’t like. Try to rephrase what you meant to say.

In Australia, English is spoken in the majority of cases but you might find some people have a strong accent. Some slang and colourful language may challenge those from out of town. However, Australians are fairly easygoing and won’t be offended if you ask them to repeat something, but look the part. Don’t head to a meeting looking like you’re going to the beach afterwards. Australians are often informal during meetings; a handshake and a smile should suffice. They have a matter-of-fact approach when it comes to business and negotiations can be quick. They don’t bargain that much but avoid exaggerated claims when making presentations. Australians appreciate modesty and a bit of a sense of humour.


July 2016

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2016

5 Spots for a Business Lunch in Singapore:

Business lunches and dinners often require consideration and precision depending on who you’re dining with, what you’re hoping to achieve from the catch-up, and how much you’re looking to spend.

Here’s our pick of five fantastic spots in Singapore to wine and dine a client, celebrate a corporate milestone, or simply have a nice lunch out with a colleague or friend.

Sky on 57 is located 57 storeys above the impressive Marina Bay Sands. This sky-high restaurant has breathtaking views of the city, port and Marina Bay, and right across the ocean to Malaysia. Celebrity chef Justin Quek has developed an innovative menu fusing traditional Asian flavours with classical French style. Inhale the 360-degree views of Singapore while enjoying a cocktail, before trying some of Quek’s signature dishes such as the fresh mushroom cappuccino, slow-cooked pigeon breast or Wagyu beef noodles.

The Study takes inspiration from classic British comfort food and is a nice, modest restaurant to meet colleagues or clients for an informal lunch. Located on busy Keong Saik Road, The Study is open every day of the working week, and offers variations on classic dishes such as fish and chips and bangers and mash, as well as a smoked Wagyu beef burger and Seabass with truffle-mashed potato. The set lunch specials are great value or, if you prefer, do a deal at brunch with a cocktail and their Big English Breakfast.

Sometimes it’s hard to resist an authentic Italian meal, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at award-winning Senso Ristorante and Bar. Located in an old convent on Club Street, this is the place to head to if a sophisticated dinner is more the style of you or your client. Have a drink at the bar before enjoying your meal in this charming, colonial-style building.

The Black Swan on Cecil Street is a semi-casual place to take your clients, and a very popular business lunch venue. In a lovely art-deco setting, in one of the few remaining low-rise buildings downtown, The Black Swan is usually fully booked for lunch from Tuesday through to Friday, and is in a great central location just around the corner from Raffles Quay. A good, affordable lunch option too if you go for the set menu.

Luke’s is an iconic business lunch and dinner venue off Club Street on Gemmill Lane. Luke’s is renowned for serving Singapore’s best oysters, and has an exceptional range of steaks imported mostly from the US and Australia. This is a great spot to take clients for high-end steak and red wine, although expect your Amex to take a beating. A good option for a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night client dinner, before beers on Club Street.


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