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Smart leadership, sound followership – a global asset owners study

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By Adam Gillett | June 28, 2018

Adam Gillett looks at the key findings of Willis Towers Watson’s benchmarking study sponsored by Future Fund, comparing practices of 15 high conviction asset owners.

Last year, we completed a benchmarking study sponsored by Future Fund. They are Australia’s sovereign wealth fund and the study compared practices at 15 high-conviction asset owners.

The peer group comprised 15 leading organizations, selected for their strong governance, significant size and thoughtful international perspectives. Of the selected peer group, 11 have pension liabilities to meet and four are sovereign wealth funds. Together, the group represents around $4 trillion of influential capital. The findings of the study are drawn from a combination of interviews, a detailed online survey of the peer group, publicly available information, and opinions recorded at a symposium day held in London.

International best practice is a common principle driving high standards at Future Fund and all the participants in this study. A comparison of practices across funds can help validate the high standards targeted and achieved by these funds as well as revealing for idea sharing, development and challenge.

In this spirit, it is clear to us that these funds are all meeting their goals and accountabilities to stakeholders through stronger internal resources and smarter application. We want to share their stories.

Figure 4. Characteristics needed for positioning asset owners successfully
Extreme clarity and alignment of strategic principles, enablers and policies
Self understanding Meta-understanding Change adaptable Strong cultured
  • Assessing organizational capability by breadth and depth
  • Ability to adjust internal capability
  • Understanding what others are doing and why
  • Using this to understand and exploit comparative advantage
  • Preparedness and ability to change mission, strategy and culture
  • Requires leadership
  • Requires process
  • Culture as a binding force aligning behaviors
  • Culture has edge
  • Culture as incremental leaning
ars pointing to gears in the head two figures taking gears out of a head figure running with three different paths in different directions three figures with cycling ars
Build investment intelligence — capabilities, beliefs and processes

Download here to read more and see the results from the study.

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