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FuturePlus CIO is 
crowing  about new  office 
Artie Beetson.  Arguably the greatest  prop in rugby 
league’s post-war  history. The
first  Aboriginal to captain  Australia in any  sport. State of Origin 
hero. Bringer of  The Biff. And
most  importantly for our  purposes here, glue in the marriage of  Michael Block, the chief investment  officer of FuturePlus.  Back to Big Artie in a moment. 

As you can see from these pictures of  Michael’s office at FuturePlus, the man  is cock-a-hoop for the club that most  associate with Beetson, the Eastern  Suburbs Roosters.  If a nook or cranny of his Margaret  Street
digs are not stuffed with one  piece of
Easts memorabilia or another,  they are
stuffed with family photos,  although
many of the family members  are depicted
in Roosters clobber and/or  posing with
Roosters greats. 

Among the prize items
in Michael’s  collection are the original
supporter’s kit  he got as a kid back in
the ‘60s, a 1970s  pokie coin cup from
Easts Leagues  (adorned with the old
red-bird-in-ablue-  shield logo that
Michael prefers),  and autographs from
just about every  Easts immortal you’d
care to name, Jack  Gibson to Brad
Fittler.  There’s even some gear with an  industry connection. Doug Bickerton  (brother of Bruce Bickerton, Lazard Asset  Management’s relationship manager)  is a painter with a penchant for  chickens and eggs, and a couple of his  rooster originals have found their way  on to Block’s walls. 

So why does Michael have all of this  priceless memorabilia at work? His wife,  a big Parramatta Eels fan, can’t stand it  being at home.  “At least we’ve got Artie Beetson,”  Block reminds himself, referring to  big Artie’s stint in the blue-and-yellow  toward the end of his career.  Colleagues at FuturePlus have taken  to calling their CIO’s office ‘The Coop’,  but Block says the way the Roosters are  playing this season, it should probably  be renamed “The Mausoleum”.  Mayor
of Chicago
tries  the Aussies again  A
delegation from Melbourne’s  Centre For Investor Education were  wondering to what they owed the honour  when Richard Daley, the Mayor of  Chicago,
addressed them on their recent  visit
Stateside. 

But investors in Macquarie
Infrastructure  Group would not have been  surprised. 
The boss of America’s
third-largest  city would have been
salivating at the  chance for some face
time with Aussie  fiduciaries, given at
the height of the  credit boom he’d
leased the Chicago  Skyway to Macquarie 
partner Cintra) for a cool US$1.83 
billion.  That meant Macquarie also needed 
to control the Indiana Toll
Road, the  major
source of traffic for the Skyway,  so
with Cintra they signed a 75-year  lease
on that blacktop for a whopping  US$3.8
billion. As if that weren’t  enough, in
bargaining with Indiana  Governor Mitch
Daniels the Big Mac  was mandated to make
US$400 million  of improvements, such as
installing  electronic tolling. 

Fast forward three years, the bottom  has fallen out of the US economy, car  use is way down and Barron’s Magazine  estimates the road is worth US$1.5  billion at best.  No wonder Daniels told the magazine:  “It was the best deal since Manhattan 
was sold for beads.”  He’s socked
half a billion of the  windfall into a
sort of Indiana Future  Fund, and the
rest into one-time capital  works
programs that can’t be hurting  his
popularity, while MIG lists the toll  road
as its worst-performing asset. 

Mayor
Daley had his neighbour  front-of-mind
when he went to see the  Aussie trustees
in early April.  We’re told he may have
casually  mentioned Chicago’s
Midway Airport, 
the attempted privatisation of which 
was at that moment breaking down, 
because a Citi-led consortium couldn’t 
raise funds beyond a US$126 million 
downpayment.  In any event, the
trustees must have  resisted any attempts
to loosen their  pursestrings, because
the privatisation  collapsed before April
was out. 

We wonder how Daley would have  described the deal in a couple of years, if  he’d gotten some Aussie investors over  the line and then stood back as air traffic  continued to tumble?  Best deal since Russia
sold Alaska  to the Yanks for two cents an acre?  AUSCOAL
employee  wins ‘P.A of the Year’  The ‘Great Place To Work’
Awards  got a bit of attention around the
traps  last month, not least because
Russell  Investments came third in Australia,  while HostPlus and AUSCOAL snuck  in to the Top 50.  But let it be known that AUSCOAL  also has Great Workers,  officially, after the Australian Institute  of Office Professionals named Janelle  Welsh, personal assistant to CEO  Bruce Watson, it’s ‘Office Professional of  the Year’ last month. 

The process involved an intensive  interview by an AIOP judging panel,  after which she was shortlisted as one of  three finalists before claiming the award  during a reception at Sydney’s Doltone  House on May 1.  “This award is fantastic recognition  for Janelle and for the hard work and  support she provides to the entire fund,”  Watson said afterwards.  “We are very proud of her ongoing  success, her commitment to AUSCOAL  and her inspirational work/life  balance.” 
He’s not kidding about the last part. 
Apart from working full time, Janelle 
is married with two children – one of 
whom has several disabilities – is currently  undertaking the AIOP Certificate  in Business Program at Charles  Sturt
University, while also
studying her  PS146 in Superannuation.
Hats off,  Janelle. 

Shane
Oliver can’t get  over Brady bonds  We all
remember the 1974 banking  crisis in the UK, but for one
economist  the year has a special place
in history for  a very different reason.
It was the year  that American sitcom The
Brady Bunch  was cancelled.  Dr Shane Oliver, chief economist at  AMP Capital, admits he was – and still  is – rather fond of Marcia Brady (aka  Maureen McCormick) when growing  up.  “In
1974 the show was cancelled,  but I was
still watching it on TV,” he  told the
audience at a post-Budget  breakfast
organised by AIST. 

“I’ve told that story
so many times  that someone bought me
Maureen Mc-  Cormick’s autobiography
recently. I’ve  just finished reading it.”  But while Marcia clearly stole the  show for Oliver, Naomi Steer, director  of ASSET Super sided with Jan, who  always felt she lived in her sister Marcia’s  shadow, before putting her question  to Minister for Superannuation, Nick  Sherry. 
“I’m with Jan, I never liked Marcia, 
it was always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” 
she quipped.  Adopting the middle
ground, like a  true politician, Sherry
responded: “Well,  I liked all the girls.” 
(and Spanish

 

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