Day 1 wrap 

Private markets set to continue growth

The Australian Investment Council Conference has heard how the PE and VC industry is set to continue delivering outsized returns for major investors such as the Future Fund despite challenging economic conditions. The Future Fund Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Private Markets, Wendy Norris, said private equity was a major contributor behind the $162.6 billion fund's impressive long-term returns. The government fund delivered annualised returns of 10.4% over the decade ended June 30, 2019, far outpacing its benchmark target of 6.5% a year. "Our private markets investments, in particular private equity, contributed strongly to those results," she said at the conference's opening address.

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    Day 2 wrap

Expanding into China: opportunities and challenges

While the US-China trade stoush continues to fuel global economic headwinds, China remains a great opportunity for Australia – at least for those who can navigate it. SB China Venture Capital Managing Partner & CFO, Kathy Chen, said overall investment activity had reduced over the last year but some specific sectors were doing well. For example, Australia's Brand Collective is now selling its Volley shoes in Chinese retail stores while Icon Group will begin treating cancer patients in China next month. Icon Group's Group CEO & Executive Director, Mark Middleton, said it had taken 3½ years to set up the right partnerships and navigate more stringent hierarchical business structures. "Like any partnership or any relationship, it takes time, it takes trust, and it takes being aligned." Brand Collective CEO, Martin Matthews, said the China-US trade stand-off had caused issues as US companies are quickly shifting manufacturing to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

The bulk of Volley shoes are manufactured in China, but those factories are now closing down. "So, it creates a significant operational challenge there for us to resource the volumes." The US has so far imposed tariffs on more than US$360 billion of Chinese goods, prompting China to retaliate with tariffs on more than US$110 billion of US products. However, Matthews said China’s future as the biggest global economy means it will remain an attractive investment opportunity for Australians. "The reality is that every single Chinese province has an economy larger than Australia's economy."

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Investing for Growth Awards

The Australian Investment Council presented awards to a number of outstanding firms and industry leaders across the private capital sector at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tonight as part of its annual conference. “These awards recognise the significant role that Australia’s $30 billion private capital industry plays in creating jobs and new businesses and building a more innovative economy for our country’s future growth”, said Australian Investment Council Chief Executive, Yasser El-Ansary. More than 450 of the private capital industry’s leaders attended the conference, now in its 26th consecutive year, which is the biggest gathering of private capital investors in the country.

See the full list of award winners

Feature articles


How entrepreneurial governance gives PE the edge

Private capital will continue to deliver outsized returns thanks to its unique governance approach, while meeting growing demand for more sustainable and renewable investments, according to the co-founder of one of the industry's largest managers.

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How to invest in China and succeed

China remains a prime investment opportunity for Australian companies despite the ongoing US-China trade stoush adding another layer of complexity to an already challenging market.

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Economic challenges ahead

The Reserve Bank and government need to do more to stimulate Australia's sluggish economy after recent interest rate and tax cuts have had little positive impact, according to two leading economists.

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Super funds call on industry to get creative

Superannuation funds expect to increase their support for private capital but want the PE and VC industry to present them with more creative investment opportunities, according to some of Australia's largest funds.

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Session videos



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Thank you to our conference partners

Thank you to our annual partners