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Best Practice Forum - ESG

Best Practice Forum on ESG - Video on Demand Series

This online forum seeks to define ESG investing and what it means to each client, clarify some of the misconceptions of investing in funds that are screened based on ESG principles and also identify how wealth management professionals can put ESG considerations into practice in their businesses.

The format of the Best Practice Forum on ESG will comprise a mixture of speaker presentations, panel discussions and case studies to help explore the evolving world of ESG considerations.

The 2020 ESG Forum is going to be delivered as a Video on Demand (VOD) series for the first time in 2020. Footage will be available from 4 June 2020 and will be accessible to registrants for six months.

Visit the register page and submit your interest to receive access to the video series once it becomes available.


* Pending FPA approval
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Further agenda items to be added shortly

Public Policy, Populist Politics & COVID-19 - Will infrastructure be the centrepiece by which governments stimulate their economies?
  • The effect of Government Stimulus on infrastructure assets
  • Towards 'Net-Zero by 2050' and the implications on infrastructure
  • Public Policy and populist politics - ESG themes in 'Green New Deals'
  • Capital flows and market implications

Presented by: Nick Langley, co-founder and senior portfolio manager, RARE Infrastructure

  Find out more about the presenter

As a Co-Founder?and Senior Portfolio Manager, Nick is a member of RARE's Management and Investment Leadership Team and is responsible for the management of RARE's Australian operations. As a member of the Investment Leadership Team, Nick is responsible for the governance and management of the investment team and the investment process. As a Senior Portfolio Manager, Nick is a member of the investment committees responsible for the investment performance across RARE's Value, Income and Emerging Market strategies.?

Prior to founding RARE in 2006, Nick spent 11 years in the infrastructure sector including four years as a Principal of AMP Capital's Infrastructure Funds Management team, where he was also the CFO of DUET, an ASX-listed investment trust with AUD 5 billion in electricity and gas assets. Nick also spent two years with UBS in New York and, prior to that, worked with ABN AMRO in Sydney to provide advice across various infrastructure sectors such as communications, multi-utilities and transport. Nick holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland.

How ESG investing can lead to an improvement in the financial outcomes of your portfolio through its impact on risk-adjusted returns.
  • What is ESG and ESG investing?
  • How does ESG impact investment returns and business models?
  • Research and studies on ESG investing
  • ESG investment themes and stock stories

Presented by: Damian Cotter, portfolio manager & Emilie O'Neill, ESG and equities and ESG analyst, Perennial Value Management

  Find out more about the presenters

Damian is Portfolio Manager of the Perennial Sustainable Future Trust. Damian joined Perennial in 2002 and he has accumulated considerable experience during this time as a senior analyst in small, mid and larger capitalisation stocks. He also has experience as a dealer and as portfolio manager of the Perennial Value Microcap Opportunities Fund. Prior to joining Perennial, Damian worked as a lawyer in Sydney and Hong Kong with Freehills, Gilbert+Tobin and Baker & McKenzie. During this time he worked primarily in the corporate law area, often on matters involving governance issues and mergers and acquisitions.


Emilie is an ESG & equities analyst working primarily in the small caps team. Her main focus is Perennial's sustainable investment funds and ESG stewardship. Prior to joining Perennial, she was a research analyst at Morgan Stanley for the banks and asset managers sector. She also has prior experience in fintech, technology and a business start-up. Emilie holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Science from the University of New South Wales majoring in finance and psychology. She is also a FSA Credential Holder with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and has her level 1 CFA.

Best Practice - How to navigate threats to business and security in a time of uncertainty?
  • Getting serious about Green Crime
  • Making sense of Materiality
  • Using ESG to assess risks and opportunities in distressed sectors

Jamie Coombs, performance director - Asia, Refinitiv

  Find out more about the presenter

Jamie is Head of Market Development for Refinitiv's Investing and Advisory business across ASEAN and Pacific, specialising in Predictive Analytics, Economics and Sustainable Finance with an emphasis on Macro and Political data in the investment process.

Prior to this, he worked in Product Development (New York) within financial markets focusing on Workflow automation, Research Production and Macro forecasting within various Thomson Reuters business streams.

Integrating sustainability in your core equity portfolios

Advisers don't need to wait for APRA's updated SPG 530 guidance on ESG investments - there are compelling reasons to integrate sustainability considerations in all your equity allocations immediately. In this session we will explore:

  • The current RI landscape - ethical versus ESG versus impact investing
  • How investors can integrate ESG in their investment thinking - the link between ESG outcomes and investment outcomes
  • The state of ESG data and future trends - what will ESG integration look like in the future and how can managers and advisors stay ahead of the game?

Gideon Smith, Chief Investment Officer, AXA IM Rosenberg Equities

  Find out more about the presenter

Gideon is CIO of Rosenberg Equities, chair of the Investment Committee and a member of the Global Leadership team for Rosenberg Equities. He previously served as European Chief Investment Officer from 2007 and became Global Head of Portfolio Management in 2018. He is responsible for the implementation of all of Rosenberg's investment strategies as well as advanced research and innovation.

He previously held a number of positions, including Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Director of Client Services and Head of Strategy Engineering for Europe. Prior to joining Rosenberg Equities, Gideon trained as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen working in their Financial Markets Division in London, before working as a senior software developer at Avid Technology. Gideon obtained his BSc from Manchester University, an MBA from the London Business School, and is a CFA charter holder.

Panel Session: The state of play
  • More than 50% of all managed assets in Australia use at least one defined environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy. What does that mean for standards in the future?
  • As yet, there isn't a single 'best practice' approach to considering ESG factors. If ESG integration of one sort or another becomes the default, what is the leading edge in ESG?
  • How will the work of collaborative bodies, such as the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative, shape the investment landscape in Australia going forward?

Rachel Alembakis, managing editor, The Sustainability Report


  • Matt Christensen, global head of impact strategy and responsible investment, AXA Investment Managers
  • Mary Delahunty, head of impact, HESTA
  • Karen McLeod, Ethical Investment Advisers
  • Simon O'Connor, CEO, Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA)
  Find out more about the presenters

Rachel Alembakis is the founder and managing editor of FS Sustaianbility. She has nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and ESG and sustainability specialist, having written for publications in Australia and around the world.

She holds undergraduate degrees from Boston Univeristy and an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Matt joined AXA IM in 2011 and as Global Head of Impact Strategy and Responsible Investment is responsible for directing, implementing and overseeing the development of an impact investment programme and the integration of ESG criteria across asset classes and multi-asset solutions. Matt has been a leading voice in the field of responsible investment and was a member of the European commission's coordination committee to explore the future of sustainability policy and legislation in the EU, a position he held until joining AXA IM.

Prior to AXA IM, Matt was a Founding Director at Eurosif, the leading European responsible investment think tank, where he worked for nine years. Before that, he was a Business Development Director at Motley Fool. Prior to that, Matt was a Strategy Consultant at both Braxton Associates and Deloitte Consulting. Matt has held Board positions with impact funds in the alternatives arena, including a listed private equity fund on the London Stock Exchange, and as Vice President of one of the largest microfinance funds. Matt holds an MBA and an MA in international political economy from the University of Pennsylvania - Wharton.

Mary is the Head of Impact for HESTA and has been with the fund since early 2013. She has held senior roles in financial services organisations for over 15 years and is passionate about progressing responsible investment practices. HESTA is one of Australia's largest superannuation funds with $53bn under management and over 850,000 members.

Mary is a 2015 Churchill Fellow awarded for the completion of international research on equity for women in pension systems.

Mary is the Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Gender Equality in the State of Victoria. The Council's role is to advise the Minister for Women on the Safe and Strong equality strategy.

Mary is also a councillor and former Mayor of the City of Glen Eira. Mary is also a Board Member of The Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority and an advisory panel member for the State Government, she is a past Chair of Reclink Australia, a National Not For Profit organisation offering sports and recreation opportunities to break the cycle for disadvantaged Australians.

Karen McLeod is a Certified Financial Planner(TM) (CFP). She specialises in ethical investment. Karen is actively involved in all issues related to responsible investment. In 2010, she was appointed a board member for the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). She also sits on the Certification Committee of RIAA. In 2014, she chaired the Ethical Adviser's Cooperative, which promotes ethical investment options to Australian investors and advisers. Then in 2019 she was named in the Financial Standard's Power50 - Most Influential Advisers in Australia.

Simon is the CEO of RIAA - an organisation with 300 investment organisation members who jointly manage over $9 trillion in assets globally - where he works to elevate sustainability issues as core investment risks and opportunities, and shift capital to support a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous world.

Simon has operated at the intersection of economics, finance and sustainability for nearly 20 years and has international experience as an economic adviser, investment analyst and sustainability consultant across finance, corporate and not for profit sectors.

Simon is active across the region and internationally in responsible investment and sustainable finance. He sits as the Co-Chair of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative as well as involved in a number of other forums.

Highlights will be posted here after the event

CPD Information

The Best Practice Forum on ESG (ESG Forum) is accredited by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) for CPD hours aligned to FASEA learning areas and ASIC Knowledge Requirements.

The 2020 ESG Forum has not yet been accredited by the FPA and the learning hours have not been confirmed. In 2019 other Best Practice Forums were accredited by the FPA for 6 learning hours.

The Video On Demand series will be accessible to all existing FS Aspire CPD subscribers. For those you who aren't subscribers, once the series in live, registrants will be issued a free and private login to access the video content via FS Aspire CPD.

To be awarded CPD hours, you must watch any (or all) video and answer the related questions. You must pass the short quiz (five questions) in order to be awarded the CPD hours.

Once you have completed CPD content, you can access and download your CPD reports, in the FS Aspire CPD platform, as proof of completion.

Details surrounding the specific FASEA learning areas and ASIC Knowledge Requirements that will be covered over the course of the event will be listed here at least one week prior to the start of the event.

If you are after additional professional development content check out Financial Standard's CPD program FS Aspire CPD.

Gold Partner - RARE Infrastructure

RARE Infrastructure is a specialist investment manager of global listed infrastructure securities. Established in 2006, RARE's focus is dedicated exclusively to identifying and investing in the best infrastructure assets in the listed equity market with the aim to deliver strong absolute returns over an investment cycle.

RARE's investment and risk management approach is reflected in its name - Risk-Adjusted Returns to Equity (RARE), with the risk/return relationship being a prime focus.

As a signatory to the UNPRI, RARE believes that ESG factors are an important aspect of company performance. Since its founding, RARE has integrated the consideration of ESG issues within their investment process.

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AXA Investment Managers
SIlver Partner - Perennial
Silver Partner - Refinitiv
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