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Cuffelinks Newsletter Edition 241

  •   23 February 2018

Last week, Sydney was Conference Central, and in our never-ending search for great content, we attended three big ones. Unexpected themes emerged that are different every year.

At Morningstar, the strongest message was the merit of contrarian investing. It's the oft-quoted Buffett mantra of being "greedy when others are fearful". So many fund managers now claim they are contrarian, when will it become contrarian to say you're not contrarian?

At the Portfolio Construction Forum's Finology Summit (Finology is the intersection of finance and psychology), the recurring words were 'warmth' and 'trust'. To quote Theodore Roosevelt: "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." According to Herman Brodie of Prospecta (UK), the selection of a financial adviser or asset manager is influenced more by trust and sincerity than skill and intelligence: "... it becomes essential for clients to be convinced of potential managers' intentions rather than their abilities." Interesting view. For some of the best fund managers I know, only their mothers would describe them as 'warm' and 'caring'.

And at the SMSF Association Conference, held over four days no less, among the technical sessions the CGT relief for SMSFs was prominent. I doubt the Government realises when it introduces these rules that they then consume thousands of hours of expensive resources. A leading accounting consultant said the CGT issues "continue to confound and bamboozle" financial advisers. What about their clients!

Michael Kitces is a global authority on financial advice, and he gave two keynotes at the Finology Summit. In Part 1 of an exclusive interview, he explains where robo advice went wrong. Next week in Part 2, how financial advisers should offer their services. 

Many investors in global portfolios underestimate the impact of currency fluctuations, and Joseph Bracken and Robert Chapman show the results. Ashley Owen charts the dependence of our commodity companies on resource prices and China, while Matthew Merritt makes the case for dynamic asset allocation in multi-asset funds.

Two articles on planning for life at later stages: Julie Steed warns many people make mistakes in death benefit nominations, while Don Ezra explains how 'glide path' or 'lifecycle' funds work, especially into retirement.

This week's White Paper from Colonial First State Global Asset Management looks at US infrastructure, where many Australian managers are increasingly deploying your funds. For the latest in SMSF asset allocation and contribution trends, see the SuperConcepts report attached below, while BetaShares updates below on ETFs. 

Graham Hand, Managing Editor


Edition 241 | 23 Feb 2018 | Editorial | Newsletter



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