The winner of the 2011 VFMC Investment Stewardship Award for Investment Managers is Goldman Sachs Asset Management & Partners Australia.

The judges felt that Goldman Sachs Asset Management & Partners Australia met all of the selection criteria, combining consistent top quartile performance with a rigorous discounted cash-flow valuation and portfolio construction process risk-adjusted for ESG considerations. ACFS Director Prof Deborah Ralston remarked that “in a market where there is now an array of specialist advisors advising on all aspects of risk, including ESG, our winner does much of this research itself. This firm has demonstrated a high degree of engagement with both investors and companies in which they invest, and have been excellent stewards of their clients money while taking into account the long term.”

The winner of the 2011 VFMC Investment Stewardship Award for Superannuation Funds is Care Super.

ACFS Director Prof Deborah Ralston commented that “CareSuper have long demonstrated good stewardship”. An early signatory of the PRI they are ranked in the top quartile Asset Owners by the United Nations’Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). “They have consistently ranked in the top quartile of its peer group of funds over 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. And Care is renowned for its service quality”. She also noted recent product innovation with an ASX 200 investment option and by offering enhanced income protection insurance to members

Ralston added, “Pleasingly, we had a record number of entries this year and each of our finalists in both categories of the Investment Stewardship Award is a current signatory to the UNPRI. It is clear that among the best investment managers and super funds, the UNPRI is now a base standard. Furthermore, sustainable investing is not a passive process. Most of our finalists were also able to demonstrate a track record of direct and indirect engagement with companies and assets in which they invest”.

Finally, a number of our finalists were able to demonstrate that their performance of the past 3 years has been enhanced by decisions that flowed directly from implementation of the PR.

The winner of the Victorian Innovation in Funds Management Award is La Trobe Financial Services with their Pooled Australian Mortgages Fund. The Award was presented by the Honourable Kim Wells MP, Treasurer of Victoria.

In acknowledging the winner Prof Ralston noted “they could not be more Victorian in their pedigree, having been established in the Latrobe Valley in the 1950s. LaTrobe is 100% owned by the son of its founder and the fund submitted for the Award has been in operation for two decades.”

“It is different to many other mortgage funds in that it did not freeze redemptions in 2008/09, and this has assisted it to outperform all peers over 1, 3 and 5 years. Despite the recent issues in mortgage investments during the GFC, no investor with La Trobe has lost funds.”

“The core of its innovation is that since 2004, it has had in place a 12 month term for initial investment which has kept out hot money inflow and outflow. This attention to basics is admirable.

“La Trobe is a true boutique in the sense that it operates in a niche of good quality, but non-standard, high margin, not easily securitized loans. In the competitive global world of investing, innovation is a key to productivity growth and to sustainable business.”

Judges decided to offer a special commendation to Wingate Asset Management which is owned by its managers in partnership with Australian Unity and Wingate Group.

Wingate is still small but the judges were impressed by the risk-controlled option-based implementation strategy employed by the management. “This strategy is one of the most innovative seen in recent years and appears to be validated to date by solid performance.”

“The productive investment of our domestic superannuation and savings will be critical to the ability Australians to continue to grow our wealth and to protect our standard of living in retirement. And if we are also able to export that expertise by managing other people’s money from here, then all the better.”

“It is desirable that such well paid skilled work is done close to the source of that saving and that is one reason that the Victorian government kindly sponsors the Innovation in Funds Management Award.


Background

The MFSS Investment Stewardship Award is sponsored by Victorian Funds Management Corporation with one each provided for separate Investment Manager and Superannuation Funds categories. Applicants for the 2011 VFMC Investment Stewardship Award were assessed on their investment performance, governance, risk management, investment philosophy, service quality, and product innovation, and critically the degree to which they actively embedded consideration environmental, social and governance factors into their investment processes.

Applications for the Innovation in Funds Management Award sponsored by the Victorian Government were invited from Fund Managers that: Were established in Victoria; Are predominantly owned and managed by the management team; Can demonstrate a three year investment track record.

Applications for both awards were screened under strictest confidentiality, by Judging Panels of experienced finance professionals both chaired by highly respected industry veteran John Gall. 2011 MFSS sponsors were NOT eligible to apply.

The Melbourne Financial Services Symposium (MFSS) is hosted by ACFS on behalf of the Victorian financial services community. The Symposium together with the Gala Dinner is considered the premier annual event for the Funds Management industry in Melbourne and was held on Tuesday 1 March at Park Hyatt Melbourne. Dinner speaker was Else Bos, Deputy-chairman Executive Committee, Chief Institutional Business at PGGM, Netherlands.

For more details on the MFSS: www.melbournefinancialservicessymposium.com.au/


Media contact details:
Professor Deborah Ralston
Director, Australian Centre for Financial Studies
(03) 9666 1050
info@australiancentre.com.au