2016 Forty Under Forty

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Matthew KemptonHead of Investments,Emergency Services & State Super
(Melbourne, Australia) 34
Matthew Kempton
(Art by Jillian Tamaki)

“I am impressed by how well rounded Matt’s investment views are across all asset classes. Yet he is open-minded to disagreement, making debate with him very rewarding.”

Name the most noticeable generational divide in investment style between sub-40-year-old investors and baby boomers.

I don’t really see a divide to be honest—other than what’s reflected by experience or inexperience.

Your least favorite part of being an asset owner is...?

Managing work-life balance. I have two kids under the age of three, so it’s always close to the forefront of my mind to make sure I spend adequate time with the family.

The manager you don’t currently work with whose brain you’d most like to pick for an hour is...?

John Sevior of Airlie Funds Management. From a distance I’ve always admired his levelheaded approach.

... and where would that meeting take place?

I’ve heard he challenged an AFL (Australian Football League) player to a footrace, and I quite enjoy running. So perhaps during a run in the Macedon Ranges just outside of Melbourne, where I live.

Describe the weirdest interaction you’ve had with an asset manager.

A meeting with a manager late one Friday afternoon, after they’d been to a very long and festive lunch. The manager came into our office, and obviously we were very sober.

What asset class or investment troubles you most right now—and why?

The allocation to real assets—infrastructure and property—remains vexing. Other than for the risk premia, for most historical metrics, these assets look highly expensive. Real assets are a material allocation for us.

Name your favorite food and drink.

My wife’s pad Thai, and a quality lemon, lime, and bitters.

What’s the wildest institutional portfolio you’ve seen?

Not an institution, but I remember one multi-asset fund that had a 25% strategic asset allocation to gold, which it could take up to 50%.

Name a cultural aspect of asset management that gets under your skin.

We love when managers speak directly, which isn’t always the case. And some managers are great at it—but when we get indirect talk, it can get a bit frustrating.

Donald Trump is ________.

Not what I would have expected from a leading presidential candidate.

Name your four-member investment dream team for your own family office.

They’re all from my current team at ESSSuper: Alister Wong (investment manager) as CIO, Dan Hunt (investment manager), William To (analyst), and Sindy Poon (operational analyst).

What’s the biggest investment or career misstep you’ve made?

My time spent as a furniture delivery boy was a lot of fun, but it’s hard to say it contributed to my investment career.

What should be an investment trend, but isn’t (yet)?

Multi-asset funds. And impact investing, provided that the social returns don’t come at the expense of financial returns.