Looking back on the year that was, we review which topics resonated most with our readers and podcast listeners.
The year 2022 was another volatile 12 months, seeing the start of the war in Ukraine, still no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, with a widespread outbreak in China after the country let go of its COVID-zero policy, and more severe weather events.
But there was also a gradual normalisation of activities, following multiple rounds of vaccinations and the end of lockdown policies. For the Investment Innovation Institute [i3], 2022 meant a return to face-to-face conferences, kicking off with the postponed [i3] Asset Allocation Forum 2021, which took place on 1 and 2 February 2022, albeit still with masks on.
This normalisation was also noticeable in the year’s most-read articles, which all focused on key investment issues, including investment strategy, in-house management and the impact of mergers on investment portfolios.
As in previous years, the top 5 also consisted solely of asset owner interviews.
Top 5 Most-read Articles of 2022
- GIC’s Total Portfolio Approach
- AustralianSuper to Increase External Mandates
- AustralianSuper to Triple Private Credit Assets
- ART Portfolio Construction Post Merger
- REST CIO on Investment Review
The number one most-read article of 2022 was an interview with Dr Chiam Swee Chiang speaking about GIC’s total portfolio approach to investing. It is not often members of the Singaporean fund’s investment team sit down for a detailed interview, but in this article Dr Chiam discussed GIC’s views on alpha and the limitations of using a strategic asset allocation.
AustralianSuper commanded both second and third spot in the top 5, discussing the approach of Australia’s largest super fund to external mandates and private credit.
The last two articles in the top 5 were interviews with chief investment officers. Ian Patrick, CIO with the Australian Retirement Trust, gave a detailed account of how the merger between SunSuper and QSuper has affected the investment portfolio.
Andrew Lill, CIO of REST, discussed the overhaul of the fund’s investment and governance models, which saw the fund moving to a model with a single investment function. Lill gave insights into the implications of this overhaul for the portfolio and the investment team.
Whereas core investment issues dominated the most-read articles of 2022, a different trend was noticeable in the most-downloaded podcasts of that year. Sustainability and decarbonisation were key topics here, taking three of the top 5 spots, while more fund managers than asset owners made the chart.
Janus Henderson’s Hamish Chamberlayne spoke about the intersection of technology and sustainable investing, while Stewart Investors’ Pablo Berrutti talked about a bottom-up approach to sustainable investing.
Top 5 Podcasts of 2022
- Episode 68: 15 Years of the Future Fund with Sue Brake
- Episode 67: Sustainable Investing and Technology with Hamish Chamberlayne of Janus Henderson
- Episode 69: Stewart Investors’ Pablo Berrutti on Bottom Up Sustainable investing
- Episode 72: Federated Hermes’ Caroline Cantor on Biodiversity
- Episode 71: Digital Assets with Nick Abrahams
Federated Hermes’ Caroline Cantor discussed biodiversity and the relevance to institutional investors, while an interview about digital assets also attracted much attention, but the number one spot was reserved for a celebration of 15 years of the Future Fund. Sue Brake, then CIO of the fund, spoke about the inception of the fund, how the investment strategy was set and the experience over the past 15 years, navigating crises, pandemics and geopolitical upheaval.
So what can we expect for the coming year?
Dusting off our crystal ball, we expect to see more mergers in the superannuation industry. Advantages of scale and regulatory pressure will undoubtedly see more funds joining forces, while it is increasingly difficult for smaller funds to stand out from the crowd.
Inflation will also continue to cause trouble and this could propel many economies into recession, according to institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. This will continue to make the investment environment difficult, especially if fears of impending stagflation turn out to be right.
Article continues below.
We also expect to see more movement on the retirement front, where only a handful of funds have launched new strategies so far. But the example of AustralianSuper elevating the issue to the executive level, with the appointment of Shaun Blackmore as Chief Officer Retirement late last year, shows how important the issue has become for funds.
Decarbonisation will continue to be a key focus as funds start to realise 2050 isn’t as far away as they initially thought, while climate change is increasingly affecting weather patterns around the world and is filtering through in markets as tangible risk.
Undoubtedly, we will also see a raft of further geopolitical instabilities as authoritarian forces and populism continue to challenge established democracies.
Yet, among the known and unknown unknowns that will meet us this year, there will also be a good portion of positive surprises, whether they take the form of medical and technological breakthroughs, political cooperation or market recoveries.
So strap yourself in for another wild ride as 2023 is unlikely to be any calmer than the previous few years.
[i3] Insights is the official educational bulletin of the Investment Innovation Institute [i3]. It covers major trends and innovations in institutional investing, providing independent and thought-provoking content about pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds across the globe.