Bretton Woods makes a comeback Bretton Woods, a sleepy town in New Hampshire, US, played host just after D-Day during the second World War to about 730 people from 44 allied nations. They were talking about, of all things, a new form of monetary policy. They decided to maintain stable exchange rates linked to and backed by gold, starting in 1945 after a sufficient number of countries ratified the agreement. It was abandoned in 1971 due to increasing strain in the US, which, weirdly, led to the US dollar becoming the world’s reserve currency. Now, NAB Asset Servicing has resurrected the name – a symbol of making a difference for the good of the financial system, at least – for an award for industry participants who have also made a difference. Don Russell, the chair of State Super of NSW and investment strategist for BNY Mellon, has collected the inaugural Bretton Woods Award, at a NAB foreign exchange conference in Melbourne late August. Patrick Liddy, NAB Asset Servicing director of marketing and strategy, said when presenting the award that Russell’s former role as adviser to the then-Treasurer, and later Prime Minister, Paul Keating, made a difference in the reform of Australia’s financial system, which started with the flotation of the Australian dollar in 1983 under the Hawke Government. Russell joined Keating in 1985 and helped push a decade of significant reforms to the financial system. Liddy said: “We tend to reward people for the obvious, but we often miss what’s really important, what’s not all that obvious, which are sometimes the big macro decisions which get made. Bretton Woods marked the first time in modern history that the world got together to do something about their economies.” Russell, for his part, said he was “deeply flattered” by the award and urged the audience to continue the good fight to increase the adequacy of the superannuation system: “It behoves us all to tell the story that 9 per cent is not enough,” he said.
Kapstream plays some Fundraiser’s Poker Poker is a game which seems to come naturally to most funds managers. The skills it demands – good mathematics, psychology, an appreciation of risk and reward – are usually used to get on the right side of a trade in a cutthroat market, but recently they were directed toward a great cause when bond boutique Kapstream held its second annual Texas Hold’em Charity Night in Sydney. With the help of many of its investment bank suppliers, Kapstream was able to raise A$26,000 for Bear Cottage, a non-profit organisation dedicated to caring for young children with lifelimiting illnesses. In the past two years, Kapstream has raised over A$40,000 for Bear Cottage. The evening was attended by over 120 people, and as can be seen from the photo was keenly competed to the end. The winner was the bloke that Kapstream founder Kumar Palghat can be seen hovering above, in the lairy leopard print hat that no doubt did its bit to distract fellow players. It’s testament to the spirit of the evening that the winner was even a fixed income competitor to Kapstream – Duncan Robertson, the managing director of Babson Capital Management.
Millionaire’s Factory meets Skid Row We hear that Macquarie Bank donated a bunch of its corporate umbrellas last month to The Wayside Chapel, legendary source of succour for the rough sleepers and walking wounded of Sydney’s Kings Cross. Works on three levels. First, as a good deed for a great cause (www.thewaysidechapel. com.au to learn more); second, as a beautifully incongruous sight when Wayside’s clients actually use their gifts; and third, as a not-halfbad billboard for the high net worth individuals who make up the other half of the Kings Cross population.