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.

 

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