FIS Stanford

Rise of the unicorns: venture capital

The increase in privately held start-ups has piqued interest in venture-capital markets. The opportunities are there but investors must realise that technological innovation has changed the game.

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China’s enticing, challenging market

Inefficient markets and an explosion of technological innovation fuelled by Millennial consumers make China a tantalising prospect but accessing strong returns there isn’t as simple as it looks.

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Protecting human capital helps everyone

Investors have plenty to gain from helping to protect human rights in supply chains and managing the human costs during technological disruption and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

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How to follow megatrends to success

The big themes that will fuel growth in coming decades are interconnected and subject to change. An expert panel gave advice on riding societal change to outperformance.

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How the active complements the passive

Investors discuss the various ways that two styles often presented as if they are enemies in fact work hand in hand across portfolios to produce returns.

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CalPERS shake-up may delay PE plans

The surprise ousting of CalPERS board president Priya Mathur heralds a leadership shake-up that could place final approval of an expanded private equity program on hold.

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Taiwan epicentre of geopolitical risk

The China-US trade war is the latest development in a tense relationship that threatens to bubble over into war over Taiwan, “incinerating” portfolios, Stephen Kotkin said.

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Investors feel banks’ lending pinch

Post-GFC regulation has driven up the cost of bank funding. Professor Darrell Duffie explained the impact of the end of ‘sovereign uplift’ and offered ideas to create competition and lower costs.

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Machine learning’s risk/reward challenge

The availability of big data and cheap computer power is making machine learning a profit driver for businesses. A panel of experts discussed related risk-management and governance issues.

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GPIF’s Mizuno heaps change on managers

As CIO of the world’s largest pension fund, Hiro Mizuno has restructured fees and forced a focus on ESG and stewardship. Now the fund is using AI to make sure managers practice what they pitch.

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Alphabet’s Hennessy: AI research is king

The chair of Google’s parent told delegates most investment in Silicon Valley today is for artificial intelligence and discussed some of the problems it can solve – and some it has helped create.

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Time for a carbon tax: George Shultz

Economics professor George Shultz told delegates a revenue-neutral carbon tax would have corporate support and would be effective, during a discussion of US and global climate policy.

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Australia’s ‘phenomenal’ collaboration

IFM Investors is an example of asset owners co-operating for success. The fund, owned by superannuation funds, has leveraged leadership from its larger stakeholders and greater negotiating power.

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Disruptive renewables evolving faster

The pace of innovation in renewables has gone from incremental to rapid in recent years, fuelled by improvements in cost and performance. This has made ideas like solar truly disruptive at last.

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AI investment ‘must be for all’

Artificial intelligence has the potential to treat diabetes and autism. Investors in the technology should focus on bringing such significant boons into the world, scientist Vivienne Ming said.

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Scholes’ strategies for compound returns

Nobel laureate Myron Scholes touted the importance of patiently pursuing compound returns and pointed out some strategies for enhancing them, including gleaning data on risk from option prices.

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Asset owners take charge on fees

New models that better align interests and a commitment to ‘fee principles’ are among the ways investors are getting more value for the expense. Even smaller funds are getting into the act.

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PGGM, CalPERS detail climate policies

Dutch pension giant PGGM explained how viewing climate risk through many lenses helped it address uncertainty, while California’s CalPERS discussed its proactive governance with big emitters.

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Fossil fuel on last legs: Lovins

Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder Amory Lovins warned that competition would tip fossil fuels into decline at a ‘breathtaking’ pace. Investors have a duty to act, he said.