Industry events

Industry events

Finance Professionals series

Finance Professionals is a series of free seminars hosted by the Macquarie Applied Finance Centre (MAFC) for industry leaders from the financial, professional services and corporate sectors discuss current challenges and opportunities.

These highly popular Finance Professionals talks address areas of topical interest (sometimes controversial) and the latest research. They provide professionals from within the corporate, banking and finance sectors, friends and alumni of the Macquarie University Applied Finance Centre, opportunities for professional development and networking.

Attending Finance Professionals' talks can count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CPD points for institutions such as CPA and CFA. Contact your relevant institution for information.

Upcoming Finance Professional Series

TOPIC - Data in Decision Making: Investments and Funds Management Series - what happens to finance in a big data, machine learning world?

These talks will take place via Zoom Webinar over 3 weeks:

Wednesday 10 June, 12:30pm

  • SMART BETA, MACHINE LEARNING, WHAT'S NEXT? - Laurence Irlicht, Executive Director - Indexed & Quantitative Equities at IFM Investors

Wednesday 17 June, 12:30pm

  • DATA IN SYSTEMATIC SUSTAINABILITY INVESTING - Slava Platkov, Portfolio Manager & Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors

Wednesday 24 June, 12:30pm

  • RESOURCING FOR INCREASING COMPLEXITY OF DATA - Anthony Corr, Head of Research at Redpoint Investment Management


Past seminars

Tuesday 12 November 2019
Level 29 Casselden, 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Matthew Simon

Author of 'Dancing with the Bull'

Dennis Gentilin

Author of 'The Origins of Ethical Failure', Governance, Regulation and Conduct at Deloitte

Fact, Fiction or Both: Applied Finance Book Club

Find out what happens when a former Master of the Universe and a Whistleblower lead a book club. It will be your turn to ask: What is fact and what is fiction?

Dancing with the Bull is a fictional novel based on Matthew Simon’s real-life experiences at an unnamed multinational bank. It tells the story of a power-hungry and incredibly busy protagonist who unexpectedly loses his job. The readers are taken on a philosophical journey where they are faced with the dilemma of what path to take; the path of self-discovery or going back to the corporate games.

The Origins of Ethical Failures is an award-winning non-fiction book written by Dennis Gentilin. Dennis Gentilin was the FX Trader at National Australia Bank (NAB) who blew the whistle on NAB’s 2004 trading scandal. This scandal resulted in the resignation of the chairman and CEO at NAB, with the business facing significant financial and reputational losses. Dennis Gentilin’s book is about creating social purpose for organisations based off an ethical set of values.

Wednesday 7 August 2019
Level 24, 123 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Richard Schutte

Co-founder of Co:Lab4

Finance vs Fintech: Friends or Enemies?

FinTech has been very successful in disrupting the workflow of traditional Finance. With innovative FinTech services on the rise, Finance needs to adapt in order to survive in the future of work.

Collaboration is the key to thriving instead of dying at the hands of FinTech. Come to the session to find out why Finance and FinTech actually need each other.

Richard has over 25 years of experience in leading corporate teams, corporate innovation ecosystems & digital and technology strategies. He is currently the Co-Founder of Co:Lab4, a business specialising in helping clients prosper in Industry 4.0.

Richard has the perspective that in an environment of accelerating economic, social and technological change, Business and Community-based engagement is central to supporting and enabling Australia to thrive and navigate these trends.

Richard has consistently focused on innovation. He previously was the Customer led Innovation Director at NAB where he fostered and promoted collaboration across the Public, NGO and Private Sectors to support Australian Business & Community thrive in an age of accelerating change.

Thursday 27 June 2019
Level 24, 123 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Kate Birchall

Head of Asia Pacific for LCH.

Financial Markets in a Modern World: What's Changed?

Since the emergence of interest rate derivatives in the mid-80s, the market has undergone dramatic change on a regular basis.

Having started as a market which traded by appointment, to one where for many currencies a deeply liquid over-the-counter market emerged, we have since moved through the financial crisis and regulatory responses, and seen the developments in central clearing and pricing for risk.

Kate joined LCH in October 2018.  Prior to this, she was the Head of Portfolio Optimisation and Collateral Management at National Australia Bank, based in Sydney. Previously, Kate worked at a number of international banks in London where she held senior roles in Balance Sheet Management and Structuring. 

Kate has been a member of the ASIC Markets Advisory Panel (2017-2018), an independent group of senior members from the financial services industry that advises ASIC as well as a member of the ISDA SIMM Executive Governance Committee (2016-2018).

Kate holds a BA (Mathematics) from the University of Queensland, Australia and an Executive MBA from the London Business School.

Tuesday 4 June 2019
Level 24, 123 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Emeritus Professor Ron Bird

Emeritus Professor (ANU) and Honorary Professor (Macquarie, Waikato) Director, IMR & IMAP Programs (Portfolio Construction Forum)

Some observation on the Funds Management Industry

Fund managers are in high demand and so highly paid, even though the evidence is very slim that they create value either for their clients or for the economy more generally. Professor Bird will cover issues such as the level of skills of funds managers, who should pursue a career in funds management and consider many of the principal-agent issues which are always presented in the industry.
Following the presentation there will be opportunities for Q&A, and networking.

Ron commenced his academic career at Macquarie University in 1970 before moving to Australian National University (ANU). At ANU he established and led the Commerce department and on leaving in 1988 was awarded the title Emeritus Professor.

Ron then moved to the private sector; first with Towers Perrin where he was in charge of their asset consulting practice and global research unit. In 1992 he moved to Westpac Investment Management before departing in 1995 to establish a new Sydney-based quantitative funds management firm, in a joint venture with Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (Boston).

In 1999 he returned to academia joining the financial discipline group at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), while continuing to work as an academic adviser and global research coordinator at GMO (Boston), and consulting to funds management firms. In 2007 he became Director of the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality and in 2016 transitions to the Investment Management Research Project. In 2012, he took up a Chair in Finance in the Waikato Business School in Hamilton New Zealand.

Since “retiring” in 2018 Ron has been Director of the IMR and IMAP programs of the Portfolio Construction Forum. In this role, he designs and curates courses for the financial services community and teaches in courses that lead to CIMA accreditation.

Ron’s main research interests are the economics of the funds management and superannuation industries, and also various topics in the area of corporate social responsibility.

20 November 2018
Sydney CBD

Associate Professor Elizabeth Sheedy
Macquarie Applied Finance Centre

Michael Williams
Partner, Human Capital Services, Deloitte

Rob Whelan
Executive Director & CEO, Insurance Council of Australia

Dr. Lyla(Le) Zhang
Co-author, Experimental Economist & Lecture in Economics, MGSM

New light on remuneration in a post Royal Commission world

[A hard look at the evidence on the Balanced Scorecard]

The Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has highlighted remuneration practices and their linkage through incentives to misconduct in financial services.

Does the Balanced Scorecard continue to have a role to play? Does it live up to expectations? A team of researchers at Macquarie University, with support from industry partners (Deloitte, Insurance Council of Australia, ANZIIF, and FINSIA), has conducted an initial study on the Balanced Scorecard, gateway remuneration and workplace rankings.

How do these incentive schemes impact on the behaviour of finance professionals, relative to fixed remuneration?

Some of the answers may surprise you.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Sheedy provides a hard look at the evidence. Michael Williams (Partner, Human Capital Services, Deloitte) provides an industry perspective on the research findings. Rob Whelan (Executive Director & CEO, Insurance Council of Australia) acts as the MC of the event.

Download the Paper  -  "Behaviour of Finance Professionals Under the Balanced Scorecard"

Download the presentation PDF, 1911 KB

7 September 2018 
Sydney CBD

Dane Birdseye 
Group Treasurer, Cochlear Ltd.

Paul Travers
Director (Treasury Services), KPMG

Better Practice Finance Risk Management - Governance and Strategy

Australian business confronts a number of financial risk management issues: domestic business's facing import competition, exporters with a volatile AUD and Australian Multinational companies managing multiples exposures in various countries.

Our guest speakers provide insights into how Australian companies are confronting these challenges:

  • Paul Travers, Director (Treasury Services) at KPMG, identify current issues faced by Corporate Treasurers in managing their business's financial risk profile;
  • Dane Birdseye, Group Treasurer at Cochlear, explain how Cochlear developed its foreign exchange risk policy, and key lessons from implementing this policy

17 August 2018 
Sydney CBD

Michael Salvatico 
Executive Director, Client Coverage, MSCI

Morgan Ellis 
Senior Associate, ESG Research, MSCI

ESG (Watch out!): Companies and Investors simply cannot afford not to care

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Research aims to capture the management and exposure of corporates to ESG risks and opportunities. Whether due to policy, technological or climatic changes, companies face an onslaught of challenges that are happening sooner and more dramatically than many could have anticipated. Investors in turn are looking for ways to position their portfolios to best navigate the uncertainty. In particular we will discuss looking beyond sustainability disclosure to determine ESG Rating signals and using ESG signals to help navigate the evolving size and shape of the Emerging Markets investment universe.

Additionally, MSCI has found a statistically significant link between ESG information and the valuation and performance of companies, both through their systematic risk profile (lower costs of capital and higher valuations) and their idiosyncratic risk profile (higher profitability and lower exposures to tail risk). The research suggests that changes in a company's ESG characteristics (ESG momentum) may be a useful financial indicator in its own right. ESG ratings may also be suitable for integration into policy benchmarks due to their robustness and could have a role in the financial analysis of companies to ensure model valuations are in line with stock market valuations.

There are many signs that indicate the adoption of ESG Ratings research has passed a tipping point.

  • RIAA 2017 report indicates 44% of Australia’s assets under management incorporate ESG
  • The adoption of the Principles of Responsible Investing by 131 Australian investors
  • 46 out of the top 50 global investors use MSCI ESG Research.
  • The wide distribution and many use cases of ESG Research across the investment value chain
  • The reframing of benchmarks to ESG alternatives
  • Industry consolidation and standardisation of ESG materiality definitions

Download the presentation PDF, 2121 KB

22 June 2018 
Sydney CBD

Roland Winn  
Senior Lecturer, Macquarie Applied Finance Centre

The Rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds: New Investment Strategies

The rise of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) has created an investor class with some particular attributes not available to the average investor.  Chief amongst these is a truly long horizon and strong liquidity profile. These add to tax and cost advantages.  The impact has been a development of alternative forms of portfolio construction and investment strategy designed to best use these endowments.

Specifically, we will investigate:

  • The move away from Strategic Asset Allocation at some of these SWFs;
  • An alternative approach to developing investment strategy; and
  • Discuss a case example of how a traditional hedge fund strategy might be unbundled.

Download the presentation PDF, 1188 KB

11 & 18 May 2018 
Sydney & Melbourne CBD

Key Speaker:

Elizabeth Sheedy  
Associate Professor, Macquarie Applied Finance Centre


Sam O'Brien 
Director (Governance, Risk & compliance), RSA Archer Technology Consulting (APJ)

Natasha Hall (Panel Host)
Director, Hall Advisory

Ben Eastment 
Senior Consultant, Voice Project

5 years on from SPS220: Risk Management Maturity in Superannuation

Nearly five years after the implementation of prudential standards for risk management, it seems appropriate to investigate risk management maturity in the superannuation sector. The Australian superannuation industry exists to help Australians save for and live comfortably in retirement, complementing the age pension.  This task carries with it substantial and complex risks.  Ensuring that the industry is well equipped to manage these risks is of the utmost importance. The research team used mixed methods (interviews, analysis of documents and employee surveys) to address the following questions:

How can risk management maturity be defined/assessed?
How mature is risk management in large Australian superannuation funds?

Download the full paper here.

26 March & 9 April 2018 
Sydney & Melbourne CBD


Dan Daugaard 
Senior Lecturer, Macquarie Applied Finance Centre


Susheela Peres da Costa
Head of Advisory, Regnan
Deputy Chair of Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA)

Michael Chandler 
Director of Corporate Governance, Morrow Sodali

Alison George
Head of Policy, Regnan

Shareholder Activism in Australia - investor and company perspectives 

There is a surging torrent of shareholder activism facing Australian companies. This global phenomenon could be a powerful disruptive force creating positive change to the Australian corporate governance and management landscape. Alternatively, it could simply be a hugely inefficient waste of company resources and therefore undermine shareholder value.

To help us understand the issues we have two experts examine shareholder activism from the perspectives of investors and companies. They consider whether there is a distinction between engagement and activism in relation to the potential impact on companies. The panel also discuss the rise of real “activists” – i.e. those attempting to bring about corporate change to achieve positive social outcomes and potential increase in shareholder value. We look at how companies and investors can make sense of NGO campaigns which employ public market processes to facilitate their goals. The panel also look at how boards and senior management respond to the challenge of acting in the long term interests of shareholders and other company stakeholders.

"Advisory Resolutions Help Owners" by Susheela Peres da Costa

"ESG Shareholder Activism: Case Study Origin Energy 2017 AGM" by Morrow Sodali

27 February 2018 
Sydney CBD

Slava Platkov 
Portfolio Manager, Equities & Global REITs, Dimensional Fund Advisors 

Smart Beta: Why the popularity and what's under the bonnet? 

In 2017,both domestically and globally, the capital allocated to smart beta strategies accounted for more than half of all capital invested. Over the past 10 years, these strategies have enjoyed an enormous increase in popularity reaching close to USD$1 trillion in total funds under management. Such rapid growth has the regulators genuinely concerned, placing scrutiny on the viability of some of these offerings. All in all, there is no doubt that Smart Beta is now a mainstream investment approach. Slava Platkov, Portfolio Manager (Equities and REITs) at Dimensional Fund Advisors, will provide an introduction to Smart Beta, the type of strategies encompassed as well as some of the potential risks.

Download the presentation PDF, 1616 KB

25 October 2017
Sydney CBD

Tom Smith
Finance Academic

Martina Linnenluecke

Professor of Environmental Finance

Navigating the Upcoming Clean Technology Revolution

In December 2015, representatives from 195 nations gathered in Paris to negotiate terms on what would become a world-first agreement to address the increasing threat of climate change. As science and politics digests the long-term impacts of this agreement, businesses are also grappling to understand the potential implications for their sectors and industry.

Individuals and companies that hold clean tech patents (of which there are thousands!) are now taking this opportunity to commercialise their patents, which will inevitably lead to a technological breakthrough in the clean technology sector.

Download the presentation PDF, 2253 KB

12 and 14 September 2017
Sydney and Melbourne CBD

Tony Carlton
Associate Professor, Macquarie Applied Finance Centre

Exploring opportunities in treasury management

Macquarie University Applied Finance Centre (MAFC) is the first University in the Asian region to have a degree accredited by the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) – a leader in developing professional education standards and professional development for corporate treasurers, their banking partners and advisors.

16 August 2017
Sydney CBD

Dr Leila Fourie
CEO, Australian Payments Network

Is China’s Shenzhen to Fintech what the United States’ Silicon valley is to technology?

China’s Fintech valuation of US$96 billion is more than a hundred and fifty percent that of the US and nine hundred percent greater than the rest of the world combined*. Moreover, China’s already substantial Fintech economy is growing at a much faster rate than any of its peers. Much of China’s Fintech success is attributed to the trio of big names, all of which started as Fintechs; Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, commonly referred to as the Bats. The Bats have achieved unprecedented growth and in so doing, have rewritten the rules and restructured the payments and digital economy. For example, Tencent’s WeChat application has grown from approximately 195m active users in 2014 to 806m in 2016, a growth rate of 43% and equivalent to two and a half times the population of the U.S.**

10 August 2017
Sydney CBD

Elizabeth Sheedy
Associate Professor, MAFC

Are profit-based incentives compatible with risk culture?

This Macquarie University experimental study is the first of its kind – find out what happened when over 300 financial services professionals came to our laboratory earlier this year. At the event you will hear first-hand what this experimental research reveals about the relationship between risk culture, incentives and the behaviour of financial services staff. This study of risk management behaviour focused on compliance with risk policy – the minimum standard currently required of finance professionals.

Download the report

Download the presentation

27 July 2017
Sydney CBD

Steve Weston
CEO, Australian Digital Finance
Chairman, OurMoneyMarket

Look out for the BEAR!!! Is the Banking Executive Accountability Regime a game changer?

In the recent federal budget the government announced that it will legislate a new Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR). A similar scheme in the UK (Senior Managers and Certification Regime) has dramatically changed the banking landscape, creating genuine accountability with regard to conduct risk.

Financial Services Executive Steve Weston has recently returned from the UK where he experienced first-hand the revolution in conduct risk. Steve’s story is a compelling one and he is not afraid to tell it like it is, predicting that we will follow the UK path. Steve will point out the similarities between Australia and the UK five years ago when banking executives were complacent about the future and completely unprepared for radical change. He will explain the impact the executive accountability regime had in the UK and with it, the shift in priorities away from shareholder returns to treating customers fairly.

Download the presentation

14June 2017
Sydney CBD

Anthony Millet

A fintech approach to housing affordability: How can fractional property investing contribute to the solution?

Australians have an unwavering fascination with property. Lately the spotlight has been focused on housing affordability and the inability of many Australians to jump on the property train.

The Australian dream has also evolved - from owning large property, to holding an entire investment portfolio. But rather than focusing on affordability, perhaps we should focus on accessibility.

Since launching in September last year, BRICKX has burst onto the Australian Fintech scene, disrupting property ownership as we know it by offering one potential solution to the housing affordability issue.

Anthony Millet, BRICKX CEO, will talk about his views on the current state of the fintech industry, the innovative property investment product and discuss the company’s route to success winning the Best Fintech Startup at the Startcon Australasian Startup Awards in 2016 and the CANSTAR 2017 Innovation Excellence Award.

23 May 2017
Sydney CBD

Simon Russell
Founder and Director, Behavioural Finance Australia (BFA)

Overcoming the hidden biases in financial forecasting

Financial forecasts and predictions for the future underpin decisionā€making made by governments, corporations and investors. Forecasts can have substantial financial, economic and social consequences. However, many forecasts are systematically biased by decisionā€making traps. In this talk Simon Russell will explore some of the psychology behind common forecasting errors, and strategies to help identify and overcome them.

20 April 2017
Melbourne CBD

Tony Carlton
Associate Professor, MAFC

The Strategic CFO - the potential for corporate finance skills to create value

CFO’s have moved into a new era. In addition to their traditional responsibilities the modern CFO is expected to be a strategic partner to the CEO and senior management. In this presentation Associate Professor Tony Carlton reviews key dimensions of what this ‘strategic’ role means, and identifies key corporate finance skills that will help the CFO fulfil this challenging role. Specific dimensions include: value champion, performance measurement, capital allocation, risk management, financial strategist, and intermediary between markets and business. Tony will explain how to apply modern corporate skills and tools will help the CFO create value in these roles

16 March 2017
Sydney CBD

Aaron Minney
Head of Retirement Income Research, Challenger

Managing consumption velocity

The challenge of how much retirees can spend safely has been debated by academics and practitioners for many years. Yet it remains a challenge that many advisers grapple with their retiree clients. Super funds face the same challenge, and the government’s response to the FSI in regard to retirement products highlights that improvements can be made.With any plan the actual endpoint is important and in this retirement is no different. Aaron will introduce the concept of consumption velocity and show how it can be measured and used to help retirees maximise their spending (best lifestyle) in retirement without blowing up their capital early This presentation is based on a working paper on consumption velocity, which was also used in a workshop with FEAL executives late last year.

14 February 2017
Melbourne CBD

22 February 2017
Sydney CBD

Associate Professor Elizabeth Sheedy

Macquarie Applied Finance Centre

Revisiting the Lehman Sisters Hypothesis: Does Diversity Improve Financial Risk Management

  • The global crisis was a “man-made disaster created in the testosterone-drenched environment of Wall Street” (Sunderland, 2009)
  • “Lehman Brothers would never have happened if there’d been Lehman Sisters there with them!” (Kroes, 2009)

In the financial services industry where risk management should be sine qua non, diversity is an issue for ongoing debate and scrutiny. This study scrutinises the supposed benefits of diversity for risk management on the dimensions of gender and age. The analysis is based on staff survey responses drawn from ten banks headquartered in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Elizabeth Sheedy published the article 'Senior female bankers don't conform to stereotypes and are just as ready to take risks' in The Conversation on 30 January with more than 10,000 reads, which proves the relevance of diversity themes in risk management.

Download the presentation

Forensic Accounting Specialist Course for CA ANZ members

Forensic accountants are highly skilled in analysing and preparing financial information for a court of law. Those in the field require a combination of accounting, auditing, law and investigative skills and knowledge. As part of the requirements to become a recognised specialist in Forensic Accounting, the Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Macquarie University in partnership with the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) offers both an online self-study course or face to face workshop.

The course is developed specifically to meet the needs of CA ANZ members who want to become specialists in forensic accounting, recognised for their advanced skills and knowledge in niche areas of their profession.

The course consists of the following modules:

  • Module 1 – Forensic Accounting and the Legal System
  • Module 2 – Investigation Engagements
  • Module 3 – Loss and Damage and Other Dispute Engagements
  • Module 4 – Forensic Accountants and the Court

For more information, contact Professor Rahat Munir (Head of Department, Accounting and Corporate Governance):

CFO Forum

The Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance hosts the biannual CFO Forum, featuring experts from Australia and abroad to debate the most pressing issues and challenges facing the accounting and finance industry. This premier professional networking event in Australia is targetted at CFOs, CEOs, Board members and senior executives within the corporate sector.

For more details about upcoming Forum's or if you are interested in being involved, contact Professor Rahat Munir (Head of Department):

Content owner: Macquarie Business School Last updated: 02 Jun 2020 4:51pm

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