Keynote sessions

Keynote one

Diplomacy and global co-operation in an increasingly conflicted world

Wednesday 29 November, 11.00am – 11.50am
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)

Samantha Power, Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former member of President Obama’s Cabinet (USA)

At a time in history when the only thing to expect is the unexpected, Samantha Power will draw on her vast experience to make sense of this complex geopolitical environment we find ourselves in. Sharing her unique stories and perspective gained from roles as varied as journalist, war correspondent, humanitarian, senior advisor to the Obama Administration and most recently US Ambassador to the UN and member of the UN Security Council, she will explore many of the contemporary issues which require leadership skills that are as relevant in our day-to-day lives as they are in global affairs.

How do you negotiate acceptable outcomes between warring parties? What does it take to mobilise global action? How can an individual make a difference in today’s world? What’s the most effective way to lobby for policy change? Where does diplomacy finish and activism start?

Partnered by:


Keynote two

Wednesday 29 November, 1.00pm – 1.50pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)


  • Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times (UK)


At a time of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula with displays of brinkmanship by both the United States and North Korea, the Financial Times’ long-standing chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, is well placed to provide a unique perspective. His 2016 book “Easternisation – War and Peace in the Asian Century” argued that 500 years of Western domination of the geopolitical landscape is coming to an end as the result of the rise of new power dynamics in Asia. The relationship between China and the United States is brought into sharper focus as a result of the Korean crisis. Gideon will explore what changing regional dynamics will mean for the longer-term relationship between China and the United States and the inevitable implications for Australia and for global markets.


Keynote three

Investment lessons – a peer study

Wednesday 29 November, 1.50pm – 3.15pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)


  • David Neal, Chief Executive Officer, Future Fund
  • Chris Hitchen, Chief Executive Officer, Railways Pension Trustee Company (UK)


  • Roger Urwin, Global Head of Investment Content, Willis Towers Watson (UK)

This session brings together global fund leaders to present and explore the results of a peer group study of asset owners recently commissioned by Australia’s Future Fund. The study, conducted by Willis Towers Watson, covers 15 of the largest and best-regarded funds in the world representing around $US 4 trillion in influential capital, and focuses on how these funds are operating and the reasons for differences in practice. The major takeaway has been how these funds have professionalised their practices in recent years. The particular themes emerging include culture, diversity and employee value proposition; effective decision-making; long horizon thinking and investing; the optimal blend of internal and external IP; measurement and benchmarks; board-executive interactions and approach to risk and risk management.

As many Australian funds move toward becoming larger, more complex organisations, the issues explored in this survey are becoming increasingly relevant for boards and senior executives. Fund leaders and CEOs will provide their perspectives on their own arrangements and on the key themes emerging from this study. Of particular focus will be the differences in practice - there is not just one ‘best practice’ model of asset owner structure.

Keynote four

Through the looking glass: understanding consumers

Wednesday 29 November, 3.55pm – 5.25pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)

Part one: Predicably irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions

  • Prof. Dan Ariely, James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University (USA)

We make irrational decisions so regularly that it is actually quite predictable. Although we might think we are in control of how we make market calculations and economic decisions, we are actually driven by perceptual reactions, ingrained habits, and ‘decision illusions’ – much more than we realise. Dan Ariely will talk about how people make decisions that are irrational when measured against classical economics or market norms. He will show us how we can learn to recognise what is happening—and so overcome some of our weaknesses—to improve our financial outcomes, as well as our daily lives.

Part two: Buyology: uncovering the truth about why consumers buy

Over the years Martin Lindstrom has developed an unorthodox way of doing what every company says it wants to do: understand its customer. Convinced that there is a gulf between what we believe influences us and what actually does, Martin will share the fruits of his research through his international best seller “Buyology”, revealing for the first time what actually goes on inside our heads when we see an advertisement, hear a marketing slogan, taste two rival brands of drink, or watch a program sponsored by a major company. The conclusions are both startling and ground breaking, showing the extent to which we deceive ourselves when we think we are making considered decisions, and revealing factors as varied as childhood memories and religious beliefs that come together to influence our decisions and shape our tastes.


  • Russel Howcroft, Gruen Transfer panellist and Chief Creative Officer, PwC

Keynote five

Positioning for the future: relevance, engagement and building confidence

Thursday 30 November, 8.30am – 9.30am
Grand Ballroom (Level 5)

Part one

At the conclusion of his first year as CEO of ASFA, Dr Martin Fahy will share the key conclusions gained from a wide ranging research project exploring the industry, consumer expectations and what this means for the future direction of ASFA.

Part two

  • Anna Bligh AC, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Bankers’ Association and former Premier of Queensland
  • Hon Steve Bracks AC, Chairman, Cbus and former Premier of Victoria
  • Third speaker to be confirmed

On the subject of community engagement and managing expectations, who better to look to than ex-premiers: Anna Bligh, Steve Bracks and one other; who will share their experience communicating during crises and building (and sometimes losing) public confidence? During the time they spent leading their respective states, each developed deep insights into the importance of consultation and communication when setting policy and embarking on new strategic directions. How do you bring the public along with you and what lessons are there for superannuation?

Keynote six

Trust, technology and human relationships

Thursday 30 November, 9.30am – 10.25am
Grand Ballroom (Level 5)



Leading global authority, Rachel Botsman, will explore the new rules for how trust is built, managed, lost and repaired in the digital age. Through dynamic storytelling, she explains why trust in institutions is collapsing, but a profoundly different form of distributed trust is rising up to take its place, one that works across huge networks of people, organisations and intelligent machines. She will explore the consequences of our increasing trust in robots and machines as well as examine how we balance ethics and security with the game-changing potential of technology.

Keynote seven

Friday 1 December, 8.45am – 9.45am
ICC Sydney

Stay tuned for an exciting announcement.