Bernie Fraser, the former Reserve Bank Governor who’s now an AustralianSuper and Cbus trustee, is known as a champion of the underdog but you wouldn’t necessarily put him at the top of your emergency contacts list. Unbalanced was trying to track Bernie down last month for an insight to his thoughts on active management, given we’re told he was a driving force behind AussieSuper’s momentous decision to index half of its Australian equities portfolio.
We tried the number we had for his Quenbeyan property several times, but it just kept ringing, without so much as Bernie’s famous tones on an answering machine message. “He’s probably down at the races,” offered an AustralianSuper bod that we consulted about the problem. She was referring to Bernie’s horse training activities, which often sees him fielding hayburners at Quenbeyan Racing Club meets and beyond.
“When we want to contact him we tend to do it by fax.” That’s right, fax. You see, the man who was once the most influential player in Australian financial markets (and still carries some clout, mind you) does not only never answer his home phone, he doesn’t have a pager, a mobile phone or an email address.
Mark Delaney has also encouraged funds managers to contact Bernie via good old-fashioned letter, although ideally it should be hand-written. So anyway, given Unbalanced has forgotten how to use a fax machine, at presstime we were still none the wiser as to Bernie’s motivations for all the indexing. Perhaps he thought Aussie Super’s active managers were too loaded up with telcos.