AIMA Australia’s Chairman's End of Year Letter 2018 – Dr Alistair Rew, AMP Capital

Published: 18 December 2018

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Dear Member,

 

As this is my first Chairman’s Letter I would like to firstly acknowledge the great work done by my predecessor, Paul Chadwick, over the last six years.  Paul has overseen many positive enhancements at AIMA Australia and his are big shoes to fill.  Luckily enough, Paul’s expertise is not lost to us. His valuable input will remain close at hand, both as a continuing member of the local Executive Committee, as well as representation on the global stage after recently being elected to the AIMA Global Council.

 

2018 has been another tough year for the alternative funds management industry in general.  Increased geopolitical unrest continues globally; from Trump, through Europe, to the Middle East, it has all heralded a potential new era of heightened volatility and uncertainty that we haven’t seen since the end of the GFC.  While returns are muted and under pressure, this market environment is exactly when we need to be delivering strong results for our clients and showing the importance and relevance across the full spectrum of alternative investment strategies.

 

Closer to home, we’ve experienced an incredible year with significant interest in AIMA Australia evidenced by our highest levels of membership ever, and the engagement we’ve received from more than 1,500 attendees who joined one of the 32 events held in 2018. That’s a busy year no matter how you cut the numbers! Our interaction with the regulators has kept pace with this growth and I expect that this will become more valuable to members next year when the findings of the Royal Commission are published.

 

Initiatives we introduced last year, such as the Superannuation Trustees Education Forum, continued in Sydney in 2018.  This is an important interface between the industry and superannuation investors to raise awareness of the role and value that our industry can offer members of these large asset allocators, and one that AIMA will continue to foster into the future.  The quality content and format of this forum owes much to our Investor Advisory Group (IAG) who continue to provide insightful and relevant input to the work we do in Australia.  Speaking of which, the “virtual roundtable” paper Vision 2025 released by the IAG was very well received here and abroad.  My thanks to the IAG for their time and commitment to producing world-class insights, guidance and for their excellent input into the key events that are held each year. 

 

We have also continued our successful collaboration with CAIA and reprised the now annual CAIA Scholarship to our membership base again at our forum this year. The growing Education agenda reflects the increased linkages we have developed with universities in general.  This culminated this year in AIMA’s involvement with the university student run hedge fund, Australian Students Asset Management (ASAM).  The Women in Finance Mentoring Program for university students has also been strongly embraced by AIMA and its members and one that I am personally committed to going forward. I encourage anyone that’s interested in either of these student initiatives to contact our General Manager, Michael Gallagher for details on how to become a mentor or corporate donor.

 

Meanwhile, AIMA outside Australia has been equally proactive and with more than 1,900 corporate members representing USD 2 trillion in assets under management, is clearly the global representative body for the industry.  This year AIMA launched the Alternative Credit Council in the Asia Pacific region following on from the global launch 18 months ago, reflecting the ongoing rise and importance of alternative and private credit strategies.

 

AIMA APAC has once again demonstrated that it is a force to be reckoned with, posting record membership and attendance at the numerous events across APAC, including the Singapore & APAC Forums. In 2019, the APAC Forum is to be held on 7 March in Hong Kong, and it would be fantastic to see you there for what will be a great opportunity for intellectual exchange and networking.

 

Speaking of forums, the 2018 AIMA Australia Annual forum was again a significant and successful event with Shane Finemore of Manikay Partners and Nobel Gulati of Two Sigma participating as keynote speakers in front of a record audience.  What a day this has become; bigger and better every year – your ideas and feedback are always appreciated so we can continue to improve.  Please save Wednesday 11 September 2019 at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney in your diaries for next year’s forum during Hedge Fund “Super Week”. We received great feedback on our decision to align this year’s event with Hedge Funds Rock, so I would encourage all to attend both events.

 

We don’t intend to rest on our laurels next year, with planning well underway for a fantastic education program, expanded and enhanced communications with members along with consolidating all the investor and university programs.  In addition, we will set out our commitment and focus on diversity, along with key plans to significantly enhance diversity across our industry.  We will be looking to establish a voluntary code of conduct, or principles, to set out standards that managers can sign up to across our local industry and will be working with members on this.  We will also be looking to add a number of new events, including one focused on new and emerging managers, for both members and non-members, looking into a number of specific topics and guidance for new and emerging managers to the industry.  Our successful roundtable events will continue and we are open to adding new topics and events driven by member interests.  As always your active feedback and involvement in all of this will be very much appreciated.

 

In drawing my first Chairman’s Letter to a close, I want to call out a number of people.  I would again like to thank both our General Manager and all the Executive Committee members, the members of the Education & Regulatory subcommittees and in particular the chairs of these subcommittees, Nikki Bentley and Craig Stanford, for all their ongoing, excellent work throughout the year.  On behalf of AIMA we thank you for your generous time.  I’d also like to thank all the sponsors and service providers who kindly donated time, resources and facilities during the year; such generosity is very much appreciated and underpins the success of AIMA Australia and many events that we do hold each year.  Finally, a huge thank you to all our members for their 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. 

 

If you are interested in participating in any of the initiatives that we are working on, please feel free to contact Michael Gallagher (mgallagher@aima.org) or myself.

 

Happy holidays and I wish you all a very prosperous New Year.

 

Kind regards,

 

Dr Alistair Rew

AIMA Australia - Chair