- HESTA main focus is on ethical investing
- HESTA serves over 850,000 members with $33 billion in total assets
- Mark leads a dynamic wealth fund with $85.1 billion in AUM
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back to the Traders Network Show broadcasting worldwide from Greenwich, Connecticut. I’m Matt Bird. We’re here at the 2019 Greenwich Economic Forum. And my next guest is Mark Burgess, former CEO of Sovereign Wealth Future Fund, which has 170 billion under management and the current chairman of investments for Australian based HESTA. Is that correct? Listen, Mark, thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate it. So Mark from your vantage point and be our eyes and ears, in the main room, you’ve been watching the panels. Tell us what your takeaways so far.
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 00:36
You know, it’s a fantastic event. The thing that strikes you about it is how informal the discussion is, but also some of the issues. So we’re not just dealing with financial issues, we’re dealing with issues of where we are as a society, what’s going on inside the system, how we can do things better, really good stuff.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:50
You know, and I got to say for the audience, it’s always likeminded people, the audience. So it’s a very comfortable environment.
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 00:57
Yeah, it’s super comfortable. And I think what’s interesting about it is it’s got a kind of intimacy despite the fact that it’s original crowd, but there’s this sort of debate going on. I think they’ve structured it really well.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 01:07
Coming from a Sovereign Wealth Fund and managing a large pension fund in Australia. Why is attending events like this important to you?
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 01:14
You know, we’ve got a global world going on out there but there’s a lot of friction when we know there’s a, there’s some big challenges, low interest rates, hard to get returns, but we also know that we want to keep a global system that allows us to invest for the right reasons and these kind of events are good for that. Particularly this one.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 01:30
From the panel we saw the governor, we saw the mayor we saw Rubenstein and Steve Case and a whole bunch of others. What are some of your favorite takeaways from the panel specifically?
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 01:49
Yeah. Look what strikes you when you come out here as you’re getting out of New York city into Greenwich, which is a great thing because it gives them a much more relaxed atmosphere. Yeah. It just strikes me as the interaction between politics, investors, philosophy, philanthropy’s talked about a lot. You know, we’re going to getting a lot of kind of feedback both about the macro environment we’re dealing with, but also the system and can we improve it to make it better for all of us as investors but also for society.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:11
You know managing a pension fund. I mean public private partnerships must be pretty important. Tell me a little bit about how you factor that in. Like what’s going on here, this event, this is a large public private partnership initiative. Tell us how that impacts you.
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 02:22
You know, public private is really critical cause we’ve got some issues around the world and infrastructure and some of these key areas. And the only real way to resolve that is to have the public and the private working together. But look, we’re also all contingent on policy. We need a good interaction between the system. I’m obviously from offshore in places like Asia where we’ve got dramatic shortages of things like infrastructure. We need the system to be better at all times because we want to commit long-term capital and it applies here for this event and also here in the U S so so far the events really got a great sense for that kind of interaction.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:58
I don’t want to take up much more of your time. I know we have a breaking for lunch here in a few minutes, so I’ll ask question. Tell us a little about where HESTA is going and some of the strategies you do in there.
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 03:10
You know, I think what’s interesting about pension plans in Australia, but history in particular is the, we’re focused on investing not just for returns, but you know, are we doing it the right way? The HESTA fund just happens to have been a leader in ESG, a leader in environment and leader in governance. I will now begin to see some great traction there. So we’re able to get commercial returns. We’re able to be profitable, are able to do it the right way. And I think that’s been repeated around the world. But at HESTA it’s a particular focus.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:35
Well listen, I think it’s well said. You know what? And I want you to do me a favor. Say Hi to my buddy Greg Medcraft when you get back to if you bump into him. He’s out there doing the best he can on the P three side and he’s been a great advocate for Australia and the global economy.
Mark Burgess – Chairman/Investment Committee Director, HESTA: 03:48
You know, Greg’s a great guy. The one thing we perhaps don’t celebrate enough in Australia is giving back for service. Greg did that in the public sector, really did some great work and you know, that’s really important.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show:
Tell him I said hi. Listen, Mark Burgess, chairman of investments for HESTA. We’re going to be right back after these messages, but before a special thanks to our affiliate partners, ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS, don’t go away. You’re not going to want to miss our next guest.