It was a privilege to attend the inaugural Griffith Alternative Investments Conference hosted by the Griffith Centre for Personal Finance and Superannuation (GCPFS) within Griffith Business School on the Gold Coast. This event saw a high quality field of both Australian and International speakers present academic research on a range of issues within the field of Alternative Investments.
“Alternative Investments are becoming increasingly important in the current environment of low expected returns. Investors are searching for yield in the “new normal” of very low interest rates and lower returns from risky assets. Going forward, investors need to fully understand the risks in alternative investments as they seek higher returns.” 1.
What are the options for investors in the current low growth, low inflation, low interest rate environment? Are alternative assets the answer?
According to the Willis Towers Watson’s latest Global Alternatives Survey, ‘total assets managed by the top 100 alternative investment managers globally reached 3.6 trillion. Data from the broader survey (all 602 entries) shows that the total global alternatives AUM is now $6.2 trillion’ 2
Alternative investments can and do play an ever increasing role in institutional investors’ portfolios. However, with this growth it has become increasingly difficult to define and perfectly package, leaving many investors blind to the true level of risk they are undertaking. As an industry there is a need to cultivate knowledge, continue to grow and efficiently align our investment objectives with that of the end investors’.
Academics can make the greatest difference in showing us how to best logically achieve our investment objectives. They have a unique unbiased position to analyse changing market conditions and set long-term investment solutions to avoid serious market failures. Thinking outside of the box will be what sets apart the success stories in the years to come, as long as adequate risk management considerations are included.
The Conference saw a number of highly regarded guest speakers give presentations including subjects such as “Is there a Role for Alternatives in Defined Contribution Plans?” by Professor Michael Drew from Griffith University, Brisbane, “Harvesting Commodity Risk Premia” by Professor Joëlle Miffre from EDHEC Business School, France. There were some very topical Panel sessions with opportunity for questions and discussion by the wider audience including “The Future of Alternative Investing” chaired by Professor Robert Bianchi from Griffith University, Brisbane.
Stephen Knott from GI Asset Management Ltd presented an industry review on opportunities in the Insurance Linked Securities market at the conference dinner. He analysed the surge of investment into catastrophe bonds considering the effect on return and the risks involved, versus the benefits and risks associated with investing in secondary life insurance market.
Our thanks go to the team at Griffith University Business School and in particular Professor Robert Bianchi for inaugurating this high quality event and we look forward to supporting it again in the future.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for qualifying investors only and was correct at the time of preparation. It has been prepared to provide general information only and should not be considered as a “securities recommendation” or an “invitation to invest” in any jurisdiction. Potential investors should consider the relevance of this information to their particular circumstances. Before proceeding investors must obtain the prospectus and take their own legal and taxation advice. If you acquire or hold one of our products we will receive fees and other benefits as disclosed in the prospectus and relevant offering documents.
 Dr Robert Bianchi, Griffith University, ‘Griffith Alternative Investment Conference Program 2016’, 3rd November 2016.
 Willis Towers Watson, (2016) ‘Global Alternatives Survey 2016’, [online] Available at: https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en-AU/insights/2016/07/Global-Alternatives-Survey-2016 [Accessed:14/11/2016].