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Podcast

The PODfolio

Institutional Investor Podcast Series

Investments
COVID 19 Coronavirus

July 20, 2020

A podcast series on the latest developments across global markets, and hot topics that matter to institutional investors and their portfolios.

Episode 8: The weird and wonderful (part 2 – technology and social impact)

About our guest
Katie Sims, Global Head of Multi-Asset Solutions, Willis Towers Watson

Katie is the Head of our Multi Asset Growth Solutions business, which has c$4bn of assets invested across equities, credit, liquid alternatives and private markets. Our multi-asset solutions aim to maximise risk-adjusted returns for investors whilst having a positive impact.

In this episode

Katie continues to explore innovative investment ideas. In this Part 2, she covers investments linked to the themes of technology (including cyber security and developing a vaccine for Covid-19!) and meeting the needs of vulnerable members of society. She also considers how incorporating these ideas can provide long-term downside protection and deliver more stable outcomes for the whole portfolio.

Episode 8: The weird and wonderful (part 2 – technology and social impact)
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Episode 7: The weird and wonderful (part 1 – climate change)

About our guest
Katie Sims, Global Head of Multi-Asset Solutions, Willis Towers Watson

Katie is the Head of our Multi Asset Growth Solutions business, which has c$4bn of assets invested across equities, credit, liquid alternatives and private markets. Our multi-asset solutions aim to maximise risk-adjusted returns for investors whilst having a positive impact.

In this episode

Katie explores some of the more innovative investment ideas we’ve been putting forward. In this Part 1 of our conversation, she covers investments linked to the theme of long-term climate change: solar power, agriculture and forestry. Within this overarching theme of climate change, different investment structures are available, across the full spectrum of risk and return.

Episode 7: The weird and wonderful (part 1 – climate change)
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Episode 6: Asset owners: how to make good decisions

About our guest
Jess Melville, Head of Strategic Advisory Australia, Willis Towers Watson

Jess leads the Strategic Advisory team in Australia, which advises clients on governance frameworks, beliefs and objectives, organisational design and product strategy. The team has worked with some of the leading asset owners around the world to establish global best practice in a number of areas including governance, Total Portfolio Approach and portfolio construction.

In this episode

Jess talks about good and bad examples of decision making by asset owners. How could a chairperson deal with the loudest and quietest voices in the room? How do the Australian Superfunds operate, and do they get better results? Should the rest of us stick to our comfort zone instead? And how are things different now that meetings are conducted remotely?

Episode 6: Asset owners: how to make good decisions
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Episode 5: The role of culture in asset management

About our guest
Luba Nikulina, Global Head of Research, Willis Towers Watson

Luba leads the global research function that comprises Manager Research, Asset Research and Operational Due Diligence. Her team includes more than a hundred researchers around the world responsible for conducting economic and capital markets research, evaluating asset management firms in a variety of different asset classes, coming up with investment recommendations and creating new investment solutions where there is demand from asset owners but no solutions exist.

In this episode

Luba describes what culture means in the context of asset management, and how this is a key consideration in the manager rating process. Why is the common model of relying on an individual star investor no longer suited to the modern investment environment? Can different cultures be equally good? And how has ESG thinking been elevated by the current situation?

Episode 5: The role of culture in asset management
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Episode 4: Are the asset managers coping?

About our guest
Josh Hall, Global Head of Operational Due Diligence, Willis Towers Watson

Josh is responsible for the operational due diligence program in Investments. The program maintains oversight of over 175 asset managers across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The operational due diligence team conducts due diligence on traditional and alternative investment managers and funds, including hedge funds, private equity, real estate, reinsurance and long only equity and bond funds.

In this episode

Josh judges how well the asset managers are doing with handling a financial crisis whilst working under unusual conditions. What is the worst thing that can happen when operational processes fail, and how close is he to giving an “ODD fail” to an asset manager? The conversation also touches on risks that have wider relevance given the prevalence of home working, including concerns around cyber security.

Episode 4: Are the asset managers coping?
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Contact Us

Episode 3: Is it too late to diversify?

About our guest
Craig Baker, Global Chief Investment Officer, Willis Towers Watson

Craig is ultimately responsible for all aspects of Willis Towers Watson's investment philosophy and process. The various research teams (Manager Research, Asset Research and Thinking Ahead), the portfolio management team within the fiduciary business and the content that makes its way into advisory portfolios are all ultimately his responsibility. This ensures there is a single investment philosophy and approach for all clients, regardless of location or type of engagement with Willis Towers Watson.

In this episode

Craig discusses what asset owners should be thinking about and doing in this environment. Would he ever recommend less diversification? And what is the one thing he would “impose” on investors if he didn’t have to answer to to anybody?

Episode 3: Is it too late to diversify?
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Episode 2: Covid-19 scenarios: where we might go from here and implications for investment markets

About our guest
David Hoile, Global Head of Asset Research, Willis Towers Watson

David is responsible for the firm's economics and capital markets research. This covers the following areas: central economic and market forecasting, asset allocation, business cycle scenarios, analysis of mega and micro-trends, and corporate financial risk management. David is also a member of our Investment Assumptions Committee which guides investment policy for clients worldwide.

In this episode

A continuation of our conversation with David Hoile, on how things may develop from here. David’s team have prepared a number of future scenarios for the battle against Covid-19, and the likely implications for investment markets. The team are also launching a Covid-19 dashboard linking medical indicators with economic indicators, to shed light on which scenario is more likely to come to pass.

Episode 2 David Hoile, Head of Asset Research on Covid-19 investment market scenarios
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Episode 1: 10%, 4 weeks and two-thirds: catch-up on market and economic developments since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak

About our guest
David Hoile, Global Head of Asset Research, Willis Towers Watson

David is responsible for the firm's economics and capital markets research. This covers the following areas: central economic and market forecasting, asset allocation, business cycle scenarios, analysis of mega and micro-trends, and corporate financial risk management. David is also a member of our Investment Assumptions Committee which guides investment policy for clients worldwide.

About this episode

David summarises movements in the investment markets up to the first week of April against a backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak. Find out how far the level of economic activity has fallen, how recent equity falls compare to historic bear markets, and why government bond prices have been so volatile.

Episode 1 David Hoile, Head of Asset Research on Covid-19 capital market movements
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Disclaimer

Willis Towers Watson has produced these podcasts for general information purposes only and they should not be considered a substitute for specific professional advice. In particular, their contents are not intended by Willis Towers Watson to be construed as the provision of investment, legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice or recommendations of any kind, or to form the basis of any decision to do or to refrain from doing anything. As such, these podcasts should not be relied upon for investment or other financial decisions and no such decisions should be taken on the basis of their contents without seeking specific advice.

Any commentary on investment managers or financial instruments in these podcasts are not intended to imply, nor should they be interpreted as conveying, any form of guarantee or assurance by Willis Towers Watson of the future performance of those investment managers or financial instruments.

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