AIMA Australia's Chair & General Manager's End of Year Letter 2020 - Alistair Rew, AMP Capital & Michael Gallagher, AIMA

Published: 04 January 2021

Dear Member,

2020…what a year!  Despite the wild ride we all have had, as the year draws to an end we want to share with you some thoughts on the year from your association’s point of view, to acknowledge the ongoing fantastic work done by our volunteers and the ongoing commitment of our sponsors.  We also want share with you some plans for 2021.

While 2020 will always be remembered for the negatives, it has also been a year of positives for the industry and AIMA.  Since going “virtual” in March, AIMA Australia has teamed up with the rest of AIMA APAC and held over 90 virtual events. The large number of topics, speakers and attendees only being possible because of the technology, and we dare say that a decent number of these events will be here to stay even in a post Covid world. All of our flagship forums were held virtually, with attendance being better than 2019, and a big thanks to all those speakers who participated and the sponsors for their continued patronage.  Our virtual 2020 AIMA Australia Annual Forum, spread over 3 days, was a knock-out success, with a record number of attendees from Australia and around the world.  Our 2021 AIMA Australia Annual Forum is scheduled for September 15th 2021 at the Sofitel Wentworth, please mark your calendars.

The work of our Committees has continued and expanded in 2020.  The Education and Regulatory Committees continue to be the engine room of our association, with the large amount of regulator engagement in 2020 being a highlight.  There are some new regs/issues coming up in 2021, namely design and distribution obligations and the My Super/My Future reforms, and we will be hosting member round tables early in the new year to discuss these.  The Alternative Credit Council has also found its feet in 2020 and we look forward to publishing an Australian alternative credit “primer” in 2021.  The Investor Advisory Group once again has delivered a thought leadership paper called “How Much”, which delves into the vexed issue of fees; available on the website or contact us.

Outside of Australia AIMA, we were able to combine our normal regional investor events into one Global Investor Forum, thereby bringing allocators and managers from around the world into a single place. AIMA has many global investor initiatives and we are looking to combine these into a coordinated investor strategy globally in 2021, leveraging the successes we have had locally with the Investor Advisory Group. Whilst the Super trustee’s education forums didn’t take place this year, we expect next year to combine forces with the Australian Investment Council in 2021 and revitalise this on-going initiative.

Our local and global commitment to driving greater diversity and inclusion (D&I) across our industry remains front and centre.  We are very proud with the progress we are making, and the launch of the AIMA and Albourne Partners Limited D&I due diligence questionnaire in August 2020 is a huge step forward in promoting and driving the conversations between investors and managers in regards D&I across all our member firms.  Locally we have established three core pillars to our diversity and inclusion strategy and engagement.  With regard to our first D&I pillar, Gender, and as a direct result of establishing our action-orientated Women’s Working Group, we are close to announcing a very exciting initiative that we have been working on in 2020 with 100 Women in Finance; we will provide more details in Q1 2021.  We are working on a number of other initiatives, and in 2021 we will be hosting regular Women’s Working Group events to deliver greater engagement, and to accelerate meaningful impact on gender D&I and our agreed initiatives.  Our second D&I pillar, Next Gen, focussed on engaging, supporting and promoting the next gen of our industry, recognising that their focus and needs are different to those who already have established careers, will be looking to reignite our Next Gen, in-person events in 2021; we ask all our members to get involved, and, in particular, please encourage newer members of your firms to join our Next Gen events.  Our third D&I pillar, Students, is all about how we engage with students to promote our industry, to attract the very best talent to our industry, and how we best support this talent pool to grow in to the future leaders of our businesses and industry.  We have a number of plans to execute on, and we will provide updates throughout 2021

With all the great work AIMA is doing, we thought it worthwhile re-iterating a quote from a colleague from the US highlighting  a short list of the things “I wish I knew about AIMA membership when I was working at a member firm”. The 4 key things were:

  1. there are AIMA staff willing and able to offer you guidance on a practical matter
  2. to see what other firms are doing to meet challenges specific to your role, there are peer groups you can meet / speak with.
  3. Topics for research and events are driven by members
  4. investment manager membership includes access by unlimited staff headcount globally.

In thanking all the members, sponsors, speakers and committee volunteers, we would also like to single out Nikki Bentley, chair of our regulatory committee and long-term member of our executive committee.  Nikki’s contribution to the Australian Hedge Fund Industry award at Hedge Fund Rocks in September recognises her tremendous commitment and dedication to our industry and broader community; Nikki is a very worthy winner.  Also, congratulations Paul Chadwick, re-elected to AIMA’s Global Council as a representative of the APAC region, and we are delighted to announce that Alistair Rew has been re-elected as Chair AIMA Australia for the next 2 years.

2021 is shaping up to be a huge year for your association.  It’s the 20th anniversary for AIMA in Australia and we thought we would kick it off with a bang with Q1 networking drinks; we’ll provide more details in due course.  Other celebratory and networking events will be announced shortly. 

Finally, and most importantly, a huge thank you to all of you for your ongoing support, commitment, encouragement, feedback and insights – AIMA Australia is run by members for our members and none of this exists without our growing and committed member base.

As always, feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions or suggestions.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Kind regards,

Alistair Rew                                                                           Michael Galllagher

Chair, AIMA Australia                                                          General Manager, AIMA Australia

For more information please contact:

Michael Gallagher – AIMA Australia General Manager

[email protected]