December 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

2020 has undoubtedly been an incredibly tough year for most of us, both personally and professionally. There’s been a real shortage of good news, so we decided to round up some reasons to be looking positively towards 2021 as we finish up the year.

Huge strides have been made in controlling COVID-19 in Australia, and globally, massive medical and social developments are being made. Vaccines have started being distributed in the UK and the US is following quickly behind. While this pandemic is by no means over, there’s a bit more hope as we learn to manage outbreaks and look forward to mass vaccinations.

Work-from-home orders have also led to some exciting changes in the way we structure our weeks and work in a more collaborative way. Business leaders and employees alike have come to appreciate the value of more flexible work set-ups, and in all likelihood working from home will be an option available in some capacity to those who want it moving forward. Pets all over the country are rejoicing!

The election of Joe Biden bought some calm to markets globally. As things continue to level out, 2021 is looking to be a good year for a number of Australian businesses. Valuations for unicorns such as Canva continue to grow, and we’re excited to see how innovation continues to change the business landscape.

We’d like to sincerely thank all our candidates and clients for their continued support, understanding and collaboration this year. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and holiday season and hope that 2021 brings great joy. We look forward to working with you all again next year.

November 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

Rest Super recently settled a litigation dispute with a Brisbane-based member around its fiduciary duty in disclosure and consideration of climate change risks within its portfolios. The member claimed Rest had breached the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act. He also claimed the fund had failed to provide adequate material for the member to understand their position on climate risk, mitigation strategies and other risks under the Corporations Act.

The case raised the importance of disclosure around underlying investments with superannuation funds even beyond those brought up by the threat of climate change. Super funds need to be able to plainly explain their strategic and investment decisions regarding their portfolios, particularly when they market those strategies to members based on the understanding that the underlying investments act in the way they purport to. As ESG and climate change mitigation-style strategies become more important and widely accepted by members as both appropriate and necessary, the need for funds to relay information about them in layperson terms, and in further detailed granularity, will be important into the future.

This particular case also suggests that even beyond individual strategies, super funds should be taking steps to mitigate certain risks across their whole business. With 1.9 million members it is unlikely that every member’s desires and needs will be met when it comes to new, old or assumed risks. This mitigation across an entire business will no doubt add a layer of cost to portfolios that many members will not want, contrary to the notion brought forward to the Federal Court by the aforementioned member. It does seem prudent that individual portfolios and strategies that purport to act in a certain way, or take in certain risk-mitigating strategies, should endeavor to do what they say.

The court challenge and settlement by Rest comes at a time where greater scrutiny and importance has been placed on climate-related issues globally. One of the world’s largest money managers, Blackrock, and its founder Larry Fink has described the situation as a ‘seismic reallocation of capital‘, and called for a climate risk overlay across long term investment strategies. Surely this is the takeaway for superannuation funds and money managers too as they review the legal risk now created by this case against Rest.

October 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

Last month JP Morgan announced the creation of a new private trading team based in their New York office. The team is dedicated to facilitating and sourcing Pre-IPO trades for their clients, with tech start-ups such as RobinhoodSpaceX and airbnb named as targets for the team.

Pre-IPO trading is not necessarily a new area, but it is increasingly catching the eye of investors who would previously have been shut out of the option. Once available only to private equity investors, seed funding initiatives and hedge funds, JP Morgan are hoping to open up the opportunity to capitalise on early growth to more traditional investors.

The process is more involved than trading a publicly listed stock, harking back to old school trading processes. The team must buy a portion of the company to then pass on to their client, facilitating contact with the target company, exchanging contracts and negotiating prices.

The rapid growth and huge profit opportunities of start-ups has been making news for years. Where companies decades ago had to go public fairly early in their growth to source large amounts of funding, many are choosing to stay private longer to avoid the bureaucracy that comes with listing. As these firms gain more attention, traditional wealth management clients are seeking to capitalise on the opportunity.

While the team will likely focus on US companies in its early days, Australia no doubt offers a potential market for similar teams. Unicorns like Canva, recently valued at $8.7 billion, has seen record growth, which has largely been restricted to founders, early employees and angel investors. Allowing larger funds, particularly super funds in Australia, to access these profits could have lasting effects on the sector.

September 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

Everything is pretty serious at the moment – the global pandemic, lock downs and businesses under pressure. So, in these strange and often stressful times what better way to relax and recharge than to take a day out to connect with nature and visit one the best animal sanctuaries in Asia.

Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird sanctuary with a collection of over 4000 common and endangered birds from around the world. Opened in 1971, the park has been serving the local Singaporean and international tourist public with interactive and educational enclosures and aviaries of a vast array of bird species. Jurong Bird Park has been an attraction at the forefront of Singapore’s international tourism growth which now includes numerous other wildlife sanctuaries and, of course, the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

Singapore’s small land mass has been quickly swallowed up by industry and commerce, as the city state has become an important global financial services hub. Habitat destruction has come with this urban development, but thankfully this is now at the forefront of the Singapore government’s mind. The greening of urban building design, building of park and community recreation space, as well as habitat rehabilitation and venues such as Jurong, are all part of the move to limit the impact of human development and improve the lives of both human and animal inhabitants of the Lion City.

In the next stage of its history, Jurong Bird Park is to be relocated to Mandai where it will join a number of other natural attractions to form what’s been called a ‘Mega 5-in-1 Safari’. The new nature parks will make it easier for attendees to interact with many different types of animals and birds and explore different types of natural habitats from South East Asia and further abroad. Although many have viewed the move from Jurong with a heavy heart after so many years in the same location, the new Mandai project will provide Singapore with a first class zoological tourism, research and conservation hub. Mandai should prove both highly attractive to visitors and important to the continued survival of many regional and international species of animals.

August 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

Anyone applying for jobs at the moment knows that Zoom and phone interviews have taken over traditional face-to-face meetings. Many of us feel less comfortable over video, or are just unsure of the protocol that comes with these calls. Below are our top tips for succeeding in your video interview.
1. Dress for the occasion

While you’re likely only going to be seen from the shoulders up, it’s best to dress professionally from head to toe, including shoes. It helps get you into a more professional and formal mindset, and will likely also make the call feel a bit more like a traditional interview.

2. Curate your environment

Not all of us have a dedicated office in our homes, however any steps you can take to make your space look and feel professional will be beneficial. Never conduct an interview in bed, and avoid sitting on the couch if you can. Make sure you have good lighting, and there isn’t any clutter or mess in the frame. Ideally, be in a space that you can close off from other noises or anyone else in the house, and if not, ask them to be as quiet as possible during your interview.

3. Prepare your technology

At least an hour before your interview, make sure you have any software required for the call downloaded, and test that it works on your device. Make sure whatever device you’re using is fully charged and set to do not disturb, so no notifications distract you during the interview.

4. Be expressive

One of the most common complaints about video interviews we hear from candidates and clients is that you lose the ability to read body language and tone. If you’re a naturally expressive person, don’t downplay that in the call. If you speak with your hands a lot, there’s nothing wrong with having a bit more of your body in frame, and gesturing if it makes you feel more natural. Try and behave just as you would in a face to face interview, to ensure your whole personality comes through.

July 2020

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2020

Superannuation has been the driving force behind much of Australia’s economic growth over the past decades having fuelled investment throughout the economy and building our robust financial services sector.

With the financial impact of Coronavirus spreading through the economy, Superannuation should play its role once again as a rebuilder. The Federal Government has already utilised super to stimulate the economy through the Early Release policy. Although the policy has drawn some criticism and is certainly not the ideal use of future retirement funds, small business owners and those most affected by the Coronavirus economic fallout will have benefited.

Former Future Fund CEO and current IFM Investors CEO David Neal has recently urged the government to reassess the process for significant infrastructure projects to allow for smaller contracts that could support Australian business’ tender for projects. Mr. Neal argued that dividing large nation building projects into smaller contracts could stimulate the economy by allowing Australian construction and services business’ access to projects that they would usually be squeezed out of during the tender process from larger international firms.

“We’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for the opportunity to contribute superannuants’ money. There are billions here that are ready to be deployed to support nation-building projects,” Mr. Neal said.

Damien Graham, Chief Investment Officer of First State Super noted recently that “As long-term investors, super funds offer a source of patient capital that may provide an alternative to support offered by governments and big financial institutions such as banks”.

All of this coincides with the growing push for Australia’s economic gradual decoupling from China. Superannuation funds provide the quality long term capital platform to fund such a move particularly in infrastructure and what would need to be a rebirth of the Australian manufacturing sector. Everyone will be able to benefit from the jobs growth and economic stimulus such investment would provide, as well as providing strong returns for fund members retirement into the future.

Our clients include

* Prior invoiced clients across the region.