Escala Partners Investment Forum - June 2014

On a clear day the view from level 89 of the Eureka Tower runs from the Dandenongs, across to Geelong and follows the bay down to Queenscliff and the Heads. Fortunately, Wednesday the 4th of June was a clear day and the view from level 89 provided a stunning backdrop to the Escala Partners Investment Forum.

Following drinks, lunch commenced with a welcome address from Escala Chief Executive Officer, Pep Perry. This was followed by a presentation from Escala Associate, Coire Jones, on the Pandora’s box that is the new Escala web site. Coire explained the information that can be securely accessed through each of the four ‘tiles’, or ‘tabs’ on the main page, which includes Escala research, Escala news, client reports and current portfolio valuations.

Next to present was Douglas Isles of Platinum Asset Management, one of Escala’s preferred international fund managers, who outlined Platinum’s approach to global investing. In essence, Platinum identifies opportunities to acquire or divest assets where market conditions or operating performance provide a pricing opportunity to exploit.

A recent example was Platinum’s move into an Italian banking exposure at a time when the Italian economy was in questionable shape and the perceived credit risk was high. Platinum was confident that the underlying value of the bank was sound and that, in time, the economy would improve and investor confidence return. This has proved to be the case, with the value of the investment doubling in 12 months.

Platinum’s approach is underpinned by a determination not to react to market ‘noise’ and to focus on the longer term. Douglas reflected on historical cycles that support Platinum’s approach and concluded by identifying several areas of opportunity in the medium term, including ongoing confidence in the Chinese economy, the growth of global demand for pharmaceuticals and the rejuvenation of the Japanese corporate sector.

Escala’s Chief Investment Officer, Giselle Roux, then provided an insightful overview of current domestic investment market conditions. Giselle addressed the recent performance of the key domestic sectors and provided a considered analysis of the sectors’ sensitivity to interest rates, domestic demand, commodity pricing and global growth.

Giselle concluded by restating the importance of maintaining a balanced and diversified portfolio across a mix of domestic and foreign equities, and fixed interest with a preference for bonds over term deposits.

Lunch concluded with coffee and conversation, and a restatement by Pep of Escala’s commitment to remaining at the vanguard of wealth management services in Australia. Click here to download the presentation

Click here to download the presentation