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Willis Towers Watson launches first Australian-domiciled fund

Investments
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November 4, 2019

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is proud to announce the launch of its first Australian-domiciled fund, the Global Equity Focus Fund, or GEFF.

Melbourne, 4 November 2019 – Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is proud to announce the launch of its first Australian-domiciled fund, the Global Equity Focus Fund, or GEFF.

A multi-manager fund, GEFF captures only the best investment ideas from the world’s top global equity managers. Director of Investments Australia, Martin Goss said this approach is all the more important in a low-return environment, where equity investors are looking for a stronger and more sustainable source of excess returns.

“We know macro events are weighing on markets – trade wars, Brexit, recessionary influences, potential quantitative easing – leading to a high level of uncertainty,” Goss said. “What has worked in the past decade – quality growth – may not work as effectively in future. What has lagged behind – value – may or may not return soon. Investors are struggling to make timing decisions.

“To outperform the market sustainably, there is a need to group the best ideas together. That is the aim of GEFF.”

GEFF creates a portfolio based off our long experience of researching and investing in global equity managers. Goss commented: “It is designed to address the shortcomings of typical approaches. One such shortcoming has been not enough capital committed to highest conviction ideas.

“Generally, individual managers won’t offer the strategies employed in GEFF, either in pooled or mandates, because of their high level of volatility, in part as this creates business risk for the managers. The multi-manager model allows us to allocate 100% of positions to the managers’ best ideas.”

Already, GEFF has attracted seed funding of A$150 million. Willis Towers Watson is fielding wide expressions of interest from super funds, insurance companies, charities, endowments, family offices and private wealth clients.

Key characteristics of GEFF

GEFF uses Willis Towers Watson’s size and scale to negotiate significant fee savings. It captures all the benefits of a directly held share portfolio for an Australian investor. Goss said: “Its hallmarks are competitive fees and high active share. It is the antithesis of an expensive ‘index hugger’.”

GEFF also incorporates ESG/Sustainable principles in three key ways. Goss commented: “The underlying manager research includes a review of each manager’s approach to sustainable investing, all mandates exclude tobacco and controversial weapons and there is ongoing engagement with underlying portfolio companies via the Hermes stewardship overlay.”

Perpetual Corporate Trust has been appointed as the independent provider of Responsible Entity services to GEFF.

Around the world

Our Global Equity Focus Funds have been rolled out in other jurisdictions. These funds have been highly successful globally with over US$13 billion and close to 80 clients committed to the approach in just four years.

About Willis Towers Watson Investments

Willis Towers Watson’s Investments business is focused on creating financial value for institutional investors through its expertise in risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, fiduciary management and investment manager selection. It has over 900 colleagues worldwide, assets under advisory of over US$2.6 trillion and over US$130 billion of assets under management.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimise benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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