Keynote sessions

Keynote one

Challenges to the established order: Implications for the global economy

Wednesday 29 November, 11.00am – 12.20pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)

Part one: Changing power dynamics

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

The Financial Times’ long-standing chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, is well placed to provide a unique perspective on both the changing landscape in Europe and the rise and rise of China. 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. Gideon will explore what changing regional dynamics will mean for the longer-term relationship between China and the United States, the inevitable implications for Australia and the impact on global markets.

Part two: Window into the world of Washington

  • Hon Kim Beazley AC, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Ambassador to the United States of America

Recent Australian Ambassador to the US, the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, will provide his insights into the geopolitical forces shaping our world. Recounting stories from his foreign affairs and diplomacy roles since retiring from politics, both his time in Washington and as Winthrop Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Western Australia, he’ll outline what’s happening both in the US and particularly in North Korea, what might happen next and the implications for Australia and our national security.


  • Nicolette Rubinsztein, Chair, 2017 Keynote Advisory Group, member, ASFA Super System Design Council and Non-executive Director, Unisuper, OnePath Insurance, Class Limited and SuperEd

Partnered by:


Keynote two

Adapting to change in an uncertain world

Wednesday 29 November, 1.30pm – 1.55pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)



  • Leeanne Turner, Chief Executive Officer, MTAA Super and member, 2017 Keynote Advisory Group

Given the current geopolitical uncertainty outlined in the opening session, how do we adapt when we’re not quite sure how things will look on the other side? How do we assess risks appropriately and set a vision for our teams? There are few better placed than military trailblazer Matina Jewell, former UN peacekeeper on the battlefield at the border of Lebanon and Israel, to share her unique insights. Her inspiring story provides lessons for us all. How do leaders think outside of the box and make decisions in highly complex situations? What if these decisions are made by those far removed from the action of the battlefield, and the consequences of those decisions will directly impact lives? Matina is living proof that out of change come opportunities, so long as you have the courage to pursue them.


Keynote three

International best practice among asset owners – a peer study

Including a video address by Hon. Al Gore, Former Vice President USA and Co-Founder and Chairman, Generation Investment Management: Long Term Sustainability

Wednesday 29 November, 1.55pm – 3.15pm
Darling Harbour Theatre (Level 2)



  • 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.

Keynote four

Through the looking glass: Understanding consumers

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

Part one: Predictably 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

  • Martin Lindstrom, International Consumer Branding Expert, Best-Selling Author, Brand Futurist (Denmark)

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.


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 address some of the myths surrounding superannuation; the forces of change impacting the sector and the implications they have for super fund members; and pose some hard questions which require tough conversations. What constrains our thinking today? Does the category need to be defined away from superannuation? What is really required to deliver retirement funding?

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

On the subject of community engagement and managing expectations, who better to look to than ex-premiers: Anna Bligh and Steve Bracks; 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 and Chair’s closing remarks

Friday 1 December, 8.45am – 9.45am
Grand Ballroom (Level 5)

An update from the Minister

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, will provide an update on the government’s superannuation reform program, the current challenges and what lies ahead.

Chair’s closing remarks and launch of the 2018 ASFA Conference