PICTURED (from left): Doug Carmichael, CACC President, H.E. Natasha Smith, Australian High Commissioner to Canada, Minh Dao, KPMG Partner, Mairead Lavery, EDC President and Goldy Hyder, Business Council of Canada President.
Are Super Funds the Investment of the Future? On February 11, 2020 the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) hosted a boardroom briefing, Rise of the Institutional Investor, a Canadian Australian Comparative.
The event covered themes surrounding regulation & bureaucracy, environmental & social governance, and the flow of capital.
CACC President, Doug Carmichael whom recently retired last year as CEO of Commbank Group Super facilitated the discussion with visiting guests Goldy Hyder, CEO of Business Council of Canada (BCC) and Mairead Lavery President of Export Development Canada (EDC). Opening remarks were made by Australian High Commissioner for Canada, Her Excellency Natasha Smith and the open discussion focussed on the trends changing the way in which asset owners are engaging with the corporate community both in Australia and in Canada. Attendees included senior leaders from the Australian Superannuation Funds, Canadian Financial Services organisations, and industry stakeholders.
The challenges Canadian investors are facing at home and the challenges Australian investors face when doing business in Canada were acknowledged, and a new scope surrounding the competitive landscape in Australia were discussed.
Currently, co-investments between Canadian and Australian funds are rooted in infrastructure projects. However, there is room to grow for both countries to invest in mature development projects where better governance can be used to build stronger partnerships.
Stakeholders Swati Dave, Managing Director of Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) and Mairead Lavery, President of Export Development Canada (EDC) were also present in the discussion, to highlight how the two credit agencies work to support and develop trade between Canada, Australia and other global countries. Both parties aim to maintain competitive advantage in the global marketplace, but overall, Canadian funds are often larger than the Australian superfunds and have a longer history of making direct investments into global assets.
In order for Canadians and Australians to value investing in each other’s countries through super funds and pensions funds, the attendees concluded that engaging with governments and stakeholders on infrastructure investments is necessary to produce long term capital gains.
Lastly, the discussion also highlighted the global concerns of climate change. There was a clear consensus that if asset owners are becoming more active in engaging with environmental, social and governance issues, we need to rethink environmental treaties and protections. Currently, EDC has a strong focus on clean energy and the circular economy.
Canada and Australia can collectively create a better future by working together at all levels- political, diplomatic, and business. This mutual alignment will help make our countries the location of choice for resource companies that demonstrate how to achieve responsible economic and environmental performance. Going forward, the attendees agreed that it is helpful and informative to continue having discussions like this more often to bring forth new ideas to help shape investments for the future.
The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) is a non-profit, volunteer based organisation that aims to bring businesses together to facilitate a strong environment for economic trade and investment between Canada and Australia.
Written by Sonia Khosla
CACC Member Engagement Committee