PortfolioConstruction Forum Symposium

facilitating debate on the markets, strategies and investing


Symposium facilitates debate on the three pillars of portfolio construction – markets, strategies and investing. Established in 2011, it is THE NZ investment markets and strategies conference of the year.  The jam-packed, two day program, featuring 20+ leading investment professionals, is in effect two programs in one. Day one focuses on the key drivers of and outlook for the markets. Day two focuses on developing robust strategies to meet client objectives.  Delegates can choose to attend day one only, or both days.

Symposium will challenge and refresh your investment thinking, and provide expert, high conviction ideas to consider applying to portfolios.

Mark Your Diary! Symposium 2017 (16-17 May, Auckland). Meanwhile, enjoy the Symposium 2016 Resources Kit!

Graham Rich, Publisher

Who is it suited to?        Why is it different?        Program overview        Past programs        Send me more info

Who is it suited to?

Symposium is in effect two programs in one. Delegates can choose to attend day one only, or both days.

Day one (Tuesday) - the key drivers of and outlook for the markets
Relevant to all wealth management professionals who have a responsibility to understand the drivers of and outlook for global investment market, and those with a commercial interest in the outlook for investment markets including:

  • private client advisers (principals, researchers, investment committee members, senior advisers and paraplanners with advisory firms, single family and multi-family offices);

  • fund research analysts, asset consultants and manage-the-manager portfolio managers;

  • institutional investors (trustees, board members and investment professionals of private investment firms, iwi, corporate super funds, endowment funds, etc); and,

  • academics and sophisticated/HNW investors.

Day two (Wednesday) - developing robust strategies to meet client objectives 
Relevant to practitioners who have the discretion to design, build and/or manage investment portfolios, and those who work with such practitioners. Day 2 is limited to 200 delegates.

Why is it different?

Like all PortfolioConstruction Forum programs, Symposium has five key differentiators:

  • focused - singularly focused on the markets, strategies and investing;

  • specialist - for practitioners (see "Who is it suited to?" above) with a cohesive theme and a firm emphasis on substance, not sizzle;

  • independent - independently developed and interactive Critical Issues Forum (plenary) and Due Diligence Forum (elective) sessions;

  • effective - challenges and refreshes your investment thinking, and provides expert, high conviction ideas to consider applying to portfolios; and;

  • efficient - great value for money, a strong focus on implementation, and a very strong CPD focus.

While drawing on the quality program structure and experienced, independent team behind the PortfolioConstruction Forum programs in Australia, Symposium features fresh topics and presentations.

Program overview

Symposium does not begin and end with the one-day program itself. Like all PortfolioConstruction Forum professional development programs, it is an integrated learning program with preparation, participation and review.


To maximise your learning, you will be provided with pre-reading aimed at boosting your knowledge and getting you thinking about the issues to be addressed at Symposium. The pre-reading is assumed prior knowledge for all delegates.


Symposium is in effect two programs in one. Delegates can choose to attend day one only, or both days.

Day 1 - Tuesday - Markets

  • Program - The jam-packed, 9-hour program features a stellar lineup of international and local investment experts offering their best high conviction ideas on the key issues driving the medium-term (3-5 year) outlook for markets - and, of course, the implications for portfolios.

  • CE Hours - Day 1 has a history of being accredited for 8+ Structured Hours.

  • Most suited to - (1) all wealth management professionals who have a responsibility to understand the drivers of and outlook for global investment market; (2) those with a commercial interest in the outlook for investment markets; and, (3) sophisticated/HNW investors. For more detail, see "Who is it suited to" above.

Day 2 - Wednesday - Strategies & Investing

  • Program - Day 2 is another jam-packed, 9-hour program featuring further leading investment thinkers leading research-based, interactive, Socratic workshops focused on contemporary portfolio construction issues. It is a small, high-quality peer group environment where in-depth Socratic debate and active discussion is expected.  Day 2 will help develop, test, and validate your portfolio construction philosophy.

  • CE Hours - Day 2 has a history of being accredited for 8+ Structured Hours.

  • Most suited to - (1) practitioners who have the discretion to design, build and/or manage investment portfolios; and, (2) those who support such practitioners. Also see "Who is it suited to?" above.

As with all PortfolioConstruction Forum programs, Symposium is not just a talk-fest. Delegates are issued with an App through which they can access supporting papers, take notes, record their key takeouts and the implications for portfolios, rate sessions and speakers, and submit their questions and comments in real time.

Resources Kit

After Symposium, delegates' learning continues via an extensive online Resources Kit – an invaluable set of continuing education material including the presentations, videos, podcasts, and papers from the program. You can revisit the program, access support material referred to, and review the key takeouts and portfolio construction implications to determine actions to take to build better quality investor portfolios.

Past programs

Symposium 2016


Facilitating debate on the markets, strategies and investing;
Pay attention to geo-politics when making investment decisions
Ride the cycle but structural weakness will come to matter more
Time to sell short beneficiaries of the US high yield debt bubble
Going negative - rethink investing in a world of low returns
Secular stagnation or inflection point? The post-crisis world in historical perspective
The risk of inflation will rise
Quality is a critical factor in constructing portfolios
In a period of sustained sluggishness, quality companies are key
China’s rapid growth is unsustainable
It’s the end of EU-rope as we know it
Don’t believe what you hear – this is a high return environment
The Great Debate
How to determine your key takeouts from day one - the markets
How to identify retirement resources that matter
Think differently to find sustainable, secure sources of income
Currency is the ultimate alternative
You can reach portfolio goals despite negative interest rates
Right now inflation is the most important macro indicator
Size does matter when investing in India's growth
Today’s risk profiling puts us all at risk
How not to be blindsided by the retirement investment challenge
How to develop a robust retirement spending policy

Resources Kit

Symposium 2015


Facilitating debate on the markets, strategies and investing; The global economy is firing on all cylinders; Desperate central banks are causing Polyanna asset prices; China’s property bubble is set to burst; The patient is out, but the doctor is (all) in; Get used to low interest rates; House prices are a blunder of our governments; Don’t ignore the tech sector for growth investing; Oil price moves are a cyclical risk, adding volatility to markets; Investing in NZ is a big challenge; Portfolio construction implications panel 1 - Markets; NZ is not a rock star economy (will it ever be?); Economic growth is the answer, not the problem; Portfolio construction implications panel 2 - NZ Economy; Asset allocation will dominate portfolio returns in the years ahead; Historic accumulation/decumulation models won’t work in future; Risk and return – not as tight a link as we’ve been taught; Key Takeouts Workshop - The Markets; All is not lost in preserving yield in a low-yield environment; Small Caps are an essential risk diversifier; Engaging NZ companies on governance will improve outcomes; NZ fixed interest – picking the highest yield is not enough; Multi-manager global equity portfolios needn’t be low active share; Harness India's growth by investing before the crowd; Key Takeouts Workshop - Strategies & Investing; Portfolio construction of the future will focus on 3 risk buckets; Stress testing for DIMS; Mastering your Key Takeouts and professional positioning.

Resources Kit

Symposium 2014


Challenging your portfolio construction beliefs; What a wonderful world - around the world in 60 minutes; The Great Unwind; Capitalism: Bruised but still champion; Is regulation good or bad for investment markets?; Implementing the modern portfolio - in theory & in practice; Has behavioural finance made us better (investors)?; How to judge the likelihood that a manager will or has added value; Using risk factors to evaluate investments and build portfolios; Developing your investment philosophy; The Great Debate - A multi-dimensional view of portfolio risk; Where investing meets investors - constructing portfolios using buckets, diversifying human and financial capital, and the Withdrawal Policy Statement; As global markets calm, be ever mindful of the risks; US will surprise on the upside; The risk tolerance paradox; Popping the bonnet on central banks; Investing in global bonds - a smarter way; and, Valuations matter – the effect on portfolio risk and return outcomes.

Resources Kit

Symposium 2013


Building portfolios in a brave new world - Huxley Redux; Climbing the mother of all walls – stay positive; Winning by not losing – defensive equity strategies; Boomers, herding, denial and zeitgeist; ETFs – the top 5 portfolio strategy considerations; Rethinking bond investment in an uncertain world; Perspectives on blending active and index products; An all-encompassing approach to emerging markets; Diversification – when it works, when it doesn’t; A risk parity approach to building portfolios; The outlook for global economic risk; Australasia in the Pacific Century; Capital preservation in a rising interest rate environment; What does an elevated Equity Risk Premium mean for investing?; The way forward for NZ listed property; Meeting the longevity challenge; Understanding retirement sequencing risk; Portfolio construction key takeouts panel.

Resources Kit

Symposium 2012

The world economy at a crossroads; Portfolio construction 2.0; Direct vs managed debt portfolios; Building better active global shares portfolios; If you are taking extra risk, make sure you are being paid for it; To hedge or not to hedge; Global investment markets outlook - investing through the seasons; A risk premium approach to strategic asset allocation; Infrastructure investing through the macroeconomic cycle; Passive versus active equity portfolios; Building portfolios in the real world.

Resources Kit


Send me more info


2016 Symposium - Resources Kit >

2015 Symposium - Resources Kit >

2014 Symposium - Resources Kit >

2013 Symposium - Resources Kit >

2012 Symposium - Resources Kit >