Overview – Tuesday – March 30

9:00am – 9:05am

Welcome

9:05am – 9:25am

Have central banks shot themselves in the foot?

Over the past three decades monetary policy has caused ever higher debt and ever greater instability in the financial system. Have central banks pursued the wrong policies over this period? What role must fiscal policy play in dealing with the current crisis?

Jay Sivapalan

Head of Australian fixed interest, Janus Henderson

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

9:25am – 9:50am

Is the defensiveness of bonds reliant on quantitative easing?

History teaches that the solutions to debt deflation are inflation, confiscation, endemic low growth or war. Will further stimulus from the fiscal side delay the full extent of the deflationary output gap? As part of a balanced portfolio, are long-term Treasury bonds still a valuable holding as the path to 0% remains a probable scenario? And what are the risks of high yield and investment-grade at this time?

Pilar Gomez-Bravo

Director of fixed income - Europe, MFS

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

9:50am – 10:20am

Local versus hard currencies, volatility and the outlook for emerging market debt

Investors are hopeful for a surprise in global growth this year. This session will discuss whether emerging markets will see a tailwind for exchange rates, credit spreads and valuations as higher goods production and the balance of payments improve. But will the likely rebound be cut short by inflationary pressures and higher interest rates? And what does this mean for emerging market credit?

Michael Biggs

Macro strategist and investment manager, GAM

Arif Joshi

Portfolio manager and analyst - emerging markets debt, Lazard Asset Management

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:20am – 10:45am

Active decisions: Where to position along the risk curve in China?

As Chinese bonds’ weight grows in global bond indices, not allocating to China is increasingly an active decision and maybe an expensive one. Today the 10yr CGB yields more than 3%. Another question asset owners grapple with is how far along the credit curve does China have remaining? This session will explore the risks and opportunities and how best to lend money to Chinese companies?

Donald Amstad

Global head of client growth, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

10:45am – 11:05am

The credit crunch happening in China: Defaults and the efficient allocation

Historically, state-owned companies in China are sacrosanct due to explicit government support. However, several unexpected defaults have raised concerns about a broader chain reaction or liquidity issues in the Chinese debt market. The session provides a risk assessment of the market and approaches to benefit from distressed opportunities.

Benjamin Fanger

Managing partner and founder, ShoreVest Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

11:05am – 11:25am

Pandemic dislocations: Uncertainty, constraints and opportunities

The lockdowns and societal restrictions have caused both immediate and structural changes to the US real estate market. Continued uncertainty due to the pandemic and accelerated migration patterns and funding constraints in the middle market has led to market dislocation. This session explores the sectoral changes, disruption to the lending environment across the capital stack and the associated challenges of refinancing debt maturing over the next 24 months.

Michael Comparato

Head of real estate & senior portfolio manager, Benefit Street Partners

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:25am – 11:45am

Assessing the opportunity in Australian private lending post-COVID

Much like the global financial crisis, Covid-19 has prompted an investor retreat amid a shakeout in non-resilient investment structures. Moreover, the impact has led to a bifurcation in performance across industries. This session will explore the structural change that is occurring in the Australian banking sector and its impact on lending markets.

David Hoskins

Head of acquisition finance, CIP Asset Management

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:45am – 12:10pm

The good, bad and ugly of fixed interest: Lessons from 2020 and adapting to change

Recent market stress episodes have driven bond yields to new lows in many markets. With monetary policy now effectively dead, do government bonds still play an important role in defensive portfolios or are there new strategies and assets we can consider? With the recent concerns over increasing inflation, what does this mean for fixed interest as a defensive asset class should market volatility also return?

Vimal Gor

Head of bond, income and defensive strategies, Pendal Group

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:10pm – 12:30pm

Consultants, Your Future, Your Super and the issues of benchmarking

The recent reform of measuring fund performance has created a debate about the ongoing problem of peer awareness over fee budgets and the portfolio areas to be active. This session explores asset owners’ thinking about applying the performance tests and the potential unintended consequences as we enter a possible inflexion point around capital market assumptions. We will also discuss how more niche private credit opportunities fit into a traditional strategic asset allocation.

Kim Bowater

Director of consulting, Frontier

Simon James

Fixed income and credit research, Willis Towers Watson

Chair

David Bell

Executive director, Conexus Institute

12:30pm

Conference Close | Day One

5:00pm – 8:00pm

Networking drinks | Sydney CBD & Melbourne CBD

We are pleased to advise that with easing restrictions across NSW and VIC, we will be hosting in-person networking drinks in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. The functions will be held from 5.30pm and drinks and canapes will be provided.

Details on location to follow

Day 2 – Wednesday – March 31

9:00am – 9:05am

Welcome

9:05am – 9:30am

Absolute return in a hostile global debt market: Understanding the market evolution

The changing dynamics within fixed income markets make it crucial for asset owners to maintain flexibility in their investment approach. With official interest rates appearing to hit their lower bounds, there is greater importance for investors to move away from beta towards a more active and dynamic allocation with the liquid fixed income markets. This session explores this current market environment, focusing on increasing demand to invest sustainability presents investors' challenges and opportunities.

Paul Brain

Head of fixed income, Newton Investment Management

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

9:30am – 9:50am

This time is different: Finding relative value in volatile credit markets

Investors seek volatility as a potential entry point to access quality assets at dislocated prices. The pandemic, lockdowns and emergency stimulus have acted to create a perfect storm of shocks to the system. This session explores the market environment and challenges associated with reconciling structural change from liquidity concerns and the ability to leverage mean reversion in ascertaining fair value in uncertain times.

Jeff Klingelhofer

Co-head of investment, global fixed income & managing director, Thornburg

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

9:50am – 10:20am

The credit cycle, loss provision and the pandemic: Are the challenges unprecedented?

Unlike the financial crisis, this downturn’s unique feature is the wide variation in industry exposure to the virus — constraints on spending, occupational health risks, and geographical variation in the virus outbreak will continue to affect industries differently. Where are these losses most likely to be felt should a slower than expected recovery occur? And should investors be concerned about a potential fallout from the non-bank lending sector flowing into listed markets?

Paul Nicholson

Director for global fixed income, QIC

Gregory Peters

Managing director and head of multi-sector and strategy, PGIM Fixed Income

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:20am – 10:45am

Private credit in a COVID Era: Market dynamics, risk spectrum and transparency

Explore the juxtaposition between the growth of private credit against the actions of the Fed and the amount of liquidity injected into the markets. In this session, we discuss whether there are a secular trend and tailwinds increasing the demand for private credit by both investors and borrowers; and discuss the challenges and opportunities to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns.

Rob Petrini

Co-head of performing credit, Blackstone Credit

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:45am – 11:05am

Finding value digging through the distressed

Over $130 billion in US assets defaulted in 2020, with certain issuers continuing to be impacted by the economic slowdown. Industries such as media, telecom and retail characterised by high leverage and are experiencing meaningful structural or secular changes. Notwithstanding, an increase in interest rates will increase volatility and limit an issuers' ability to refinance or seek additional capital to avoid a broader balance sheet restructuring. What opportunities are likely to come from this environment?

Jonathan Sachs

Managing director, GoldenTree Asset Management

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:05am – 11:25am

The core of real estate and the spectrum debt finance

The pandemic has caused significant disruption to many sectors of the economy, including a seismic change to millions of students’ educations. With defaults mitigated by emergency fiscal measures, the real estate market has delayed some structural risks but cannot wholly avert them without sustained stimulus. This session explores how resilient has been across the opportunity set.

Ravi Stickney

Head of real estate credit, Cheyne Capital

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

11:25am – 11:45am

Overcollateralization: Is structured credit the modern-day alchemy?

Since the GFC the loan market has changed in several ways with the growth of collateralised loan obligations and second lien loans. How did these CLOs perform remarkably while many investors were rating-constrained during the crisis, resulting in forced assets sales or risk high capital charges?

John Bell

Portfolio manager, Loomis Sayles fixed income group

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:45am – 12:05pm

Asset lending - fundamentals and market opportunities

Over the last decade, the majority of private credit capital raised has focused on direct corporate lending. In contrast, asset lending strategies - which focus on income-generating loans backed by tangible assets - tend to be harder to access and less competitive. This session explores the nature and characteristics of the asset lending market, the capabilities required to access it, and current opportunity areas.

Brad Bauer

Partner and deputy chief investment officer, Varde Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:05pm – 12:30pm

Redefining the role of fixed income, investment strategy and the asset owners

Recent interest rate jitters have awoken the bond market again. This session will feature asset owners on fiscal dominance taking over from monetary policy, inflation pressures, valuations in developed bond markets, emerging market bonds, credit spreads, the lack of defensiveness in fixed income and their portfolio allocation today.

George Lin

Senior investment manager, Colonial First State

Tracey McNaughton

Chief investment officer, Escala Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:30pm

Conference Close

Day 1 – Tuesday – March 30

9:00am – 9:05am

Welcome

9:05am – 9:25am

Have central banks shot themselves in the foot?

Over the past three decades monetary policy has caused ever higher debt and ever greater instability in the financial system. Have central banks pursued the wrong policies over this period? What role must fiscal policy play in dealing with the current crisis?

Jay Sivapalan

Head of Australian fixed interest, Janus Henderson

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

9:25am – 9:50am

Is the defensiveness of bonds reliant on quantitative easing?

History teaches that the solutions to debt deflation are inflation, confiscation, endemic low growth or war. Will further stimulus from the fiscal side delay the full extent of the deflationary output gap? As part of a balanced portfolio, are long-term Treasury bonds still a valuable holding as the path to 0% remains a probable scenario? And what are the risks of high yield and investment-grade at this time?

Pilar Gomez-Bravo

Director of fixed income - Europe, MFS

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

9:50am – 10:20am

Local versus hard currencies, volatility and the outlook for emerging market debt

Investors are hopeful for a surprise in global growth this year. This session will discuss whether emerging markets will see a tailwind for exchange rates, credit spreads and valuations as higher goods production and the balance of payments improve. But will the likely rebound be cut short by inflationary pressures and higher interest rates? And what does this mean for emerging market credit?

Michael Biggs

Macro strategist and investment manager, GAM

Arif Joshi

Portfolio manager and analyst - emerging markets debt, Lazard Asset Management

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:20am – 10:45am

Active decisions: Where to position along the risk curve in China?

As Chinese bonds’ weight grows in global bond indices, not allocating to China is increasingly an active decision and maybe an expensive one. Today the 10yr CGB yields more than 3%. Another question asset owners grapple with is how far along the credit curve does China have remaining? This session will explore the risks and opportunities and how best to lend money to Chinese companies?

Donald Amstad

Global head of client growth, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

10:45am – 11:05am

The credit crunch happening in China: Defaults and the efficient allocation

Historically, state-owned companies in China are sacrosanct due to explicit government support. However, several unexpected defaults have raised concerns about a broader chain reaction or liquidity issues in the Chinese debt market. The session provides a risk assessment of the market and approaches to benefit from distressed opportunities.

Benjamin Fanger

Managing partner and founder, ShoreVest Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

11:05am – 11:25am

Pandemic dislocations: Uncertainty, constraints and opportunities

The lockdowns and societal restrictions have caused both immediate and structural changes to the US real estate market. Continued uncertainty due to the pandemic and accelerated migration patterns and funding constraints in the middle market has led to market dislocation. This session explores the sectoral changes, disruption to the lending environment across the capital stack and the associated challenges of refinancing debt maturing over the next 24 months.

Michael Comparato

Head of real estate & senior portfolio manager, Benefit Street Partners

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:25am – 11:45am

Assessing the opportunity in Australian private lending post-COVID

Much like the global financial crisis, Covid-19 has prompted an investor retreat amid a shakeout in non-resilient investment structures. Moreover, the impact has led to a bifurcation in performance across industries. This session will explore the structural change that is occurring in the Australian banking sector and its impact on lending markets.

David Hoskins

Head of acquisition finance, CIP Asset Management

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:45am – 12:10pm

The good, bad and ugly of fixed interest: Lessons from 2020 and adapting to change

Recent market stress episodes have driven bond yields to new lows in many markets. With monetary policy now effectively dead, do government bonds still play an important role in defensive portfolios or are there new strategies and assets we can consider? With the recent concerns over increasing inflation, what does this mean for fixed interest as a defensive asset class should market volatility also return?

Vimal Gor

Head of bond, income and defensive strategies, Pendal Group

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:10pm – 12:30pm

Consultants, Your Future, Your Super and the issues of benchmarking

The recent reform of measuring fund performance has created a debate about the ongoing problem of peer awareness over fee budgets and the portfolio areas to be active. This session explores asset owners’ thinking about applying the performance tests and the potential unintended consequences as we enter a possible inflexion point around capital market assumptions. We will also discuss how more niche private credit opportunities fit into a traditional strategic asset allocation.

Kim Bowater

Director of consulting, Frontier

Simon James

Fixed income and credit research, Willis Towers Watson

Chair

David Bell

Executive director, Conexus Institute

12:30pm

Conference Close | Day One

5:00pm – 8:00pm

Networking drinks | Sydney CBD & Melbourne CBD

We are pleased to advise that with easing restrictions across NSW and VIC, we will be hosting in-person networking drinks in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. The functions will be held from 5.30pm and drinks and canapes will be provided.

Details on location to follow

Day 2 – Wednesday – March 31

9:00am – 9:05am

Welcome

9:05am – 9:30am

Absolute return in a hostile global debt market: Understanding the market evolution

The changing dynamics within fixed income markets make it crucial for asset owners to maintain flexibility in their investment approach. With official interest rates appearing to hit their lower bounds, there is greater importance for investors to move away from beta towards a more active and dynamic allocation with the liquid fixed income markets. This session explores this current market environment, focusing on increasing demand to invest sustainability presents investors' challenges and opportunities.

Paul Brain

Head of fixed income, Newton Investment Management

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

9:30am – 9:50am

This time is different: Finding relative value in volatile credit markets

Investors seek volatility as a potential entry point to access quality assets at dislocated prices. The pandemic, lockdowns and emergency stimulus have acted to create a perfect storm of shocks to the system. This session explores the market environment and challenges associated with reconciling structural change from liquidity concerns and the ability to leverage mean reversion in ascertaining fair value in uncertain times.

Jeff Klingelhofer

Co-head of investment, global fixed income & managing director, Thornburg

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

9:50am – 10:20am

The credit cycle, loss provision and the pandemic: Are the challenges unprecedented?

Unlike the financial crisis, this downturn’s unique feature is the wide variation in industry exposure to the virus — constraints on spending, occupational health risks, and geographical variation in the virus outbreak will continue to affect industries differently. Where are these losses most likely to be felt should a slower than expected recovery occur? And should investors be concerned about a potential fallout from the non-bank lending sector flowing into listed markets?

Paul Nicholson

Director for global fixed income, QIC

Gregory Peters

Managing director and head of multi-sector and strategy, PGIM Fixed Income

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:20am – 10:45am

Private credit in a COVID Era: Market dynamics, risk spectrum and transparency

Explore the juxtaposition between the growth of private credit against the actions of the Fed and the amount of liquidity injected into the markets. In this session, we discuss whether there are a secular trend and tailwinds increasing the demand for private credit by both investors and borrowers; and discuss the challenges and opportunities to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns.

Rob Petrini

Co-head of performing credit, Blackstone Credit

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

10:45am – 11:05am

Finding value digging through the distressed

Over $130 billion in US assets defaulted in 2020, with certain issuers continuing to be impacted by the economic slowdown. Industries such as media, telecom and retail characterised by high leverage and are experiencing meaningful structural or secular changes. Notwithstanding, an increase in interest rates will increase volatility and limit an issuers' ability to refinance or seek additional capital to avoid a broader balance sheet restructuring. What opportunities are likely to come from this environment?

Jonathan Sachs

Managing director, GoldenTree Asset Management

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:05am – 11:25am

The core of real estate and the spectrum debt finance

The pandemic has caused significant disruption to many sectors of the economy, including a seismic change to millions of students’ educations. With defaults mitigated by emergency fiscal measures, the real estate market has delayed some structural risks but cannot wholly avert them without sustained stimulus. This session explores how resilient has been across the opportunity set.

Ravi Stickney

Head of real estate credit, Cheyne Capital

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

11:25am – 11:45am

Overcollateralization: Is structured credit the modern-day alchemy?

Since the GFC the loan market has changed in several ways with the growth of collateralised loan obligations and second lien loans. How did these CLOs perform remarkably while many investors were rating-constrained during the crisis, resulting in forced assets sales or risk high capital charges?

John Bell

Portfolio manager, Loomis Sayles fixed income group

Chair

Laurence Parker-Brown

Content producer, Conexus Financial

11:45am – 12:05pm

Asset lending - fundamentals and market opportunities

Over the last decade, the majority of private credit capital raised has focused on direct corporate lending. In contrast, asset lending strategies - which focus on income-generating loans backed by tangible assets - tend to be harder to access and less competitive. This session explores the nature and characteristics of the asset lending market, the capabilities required to access it, and current opportunity areas.

Brad Bauer

Partner and deputy chief investment officer, Varde Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:05pm – 12:30pm

Redefining the role of fixed income, investment strategy and the asset owners

Recent interest rate jitters have awoken the bond market again. This session will feature asset owners on fiscal dominance taking over from monetary policy, inflation pressures, valuations in developed bond markets, emerging market bonds, credit spreads, the lack of defensiveness in fixed income and their portfolio allocation today.

George Lin

Senior investment manager, Colonial First State

Tracey McNaughton

Chief investment officer, Escala Partners

Chair

Alex Proimos

Conference content producer, Conexus Financial

12:30pm

Conference Close