Building a wealth business with investment insight
David Wright, CEO & joint founder of Zenith Investment Partners
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About the podcast
Hear David Wright, CEO & joint founder of Zenith Investment Partners, as he recounts his 30-year career journey in research and investment analysis, the evolution he has seen in the finance industry and the impetus for starting Zenith over 20 years ago.
David shares what he’s learnt from building his own business and why he enjoys the educational aspects of his role the most. He discusses the trend towards outsourcing investments and managed accounts, and expands on some of the challenges with ESG and its interaction with other investments as well as revealing two major areas of focus with carbon offsets and gender diversity.
David Wright (DW): Thanks Matt, thanks for the invitation. Looking forward to it.
MH: It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that this is a conversation that we probably should have had a long time ago.
DW: Well, we have had a lot to do with each other over the years, and I guess mainly in a professional sense you don't get to have these sort of conversations in that forum, do you?
MH: No, not at all, but really looking forward to it. I think there's a huge amount that we're going to cover today. But before we start it's always good to just go back in time, for those of you that maybe don't know you as well as I do. How did it all start?
DW: Yeah, it's a good question. I finished my degree in the very early '90s, which a number of listeners would know, perhaps not everyone, that was the last sort of recession we had in Australia. So very difficult for graduates to get a role at that time, so yeah, struggled to get positions. I actually kept the letters that I wrote, my application letters for a lot of jobs for many years after that. And going back on those I thought, jeez, I had no chance in hell of getting those roles. So a lot of those roles I wish I'd kept it, but I eventually threw it out. But yeah, look, I started off actually with AA My Car Insurance, and honestly I hated that job. I'd done an economics and commercial law degree at uni, and so started to look for other areas to study.
DW: And I came across at that time the Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment, which was at now FINSIA. That really got me interested in the industry, and it was really that, that I lucked upon an opportunity with a business that was owned by Mercantile Mutual, which is kind of now ING, that was an advice and research firm called Advisor Investment Services. So I was lucky enough to get a kind of junior analyst position in research there, and for my sins I've been in and around research businesses and investment analysis ever since. So you know, 30-odd years.
MH: That was I guess the original licensee or dealer group based down in Tassie, from memory.
DW: That's a great memory, yes it was. So grew out of a Tassie business, it was a Australia-wide network at the time. And it was very kind of formative in terms of my position as an analyst, which I've always remembered and I think we get into understanding what advisors need. So working in a dealer group at that time in research, you were having to answer advisor questions on various funds. And so still today what I say to a lot of our investment analysts in the business is, if you've done a manager review or gone along to a manager information session and an advisor rings you, asks you a question about that manager and you can't answer that question, then you haven't done your job as an analyst. So I got caught out on that pretty early, and swore to myself that I wouldn't let that happen again.MH: So you mentioned you've been in and around research since then, probably a bit of an understatement. Obviously now running one of the largest research houses in the country, if not the largest. How did that actually happen? You started in a small, external research firm, so outside of a licence. I think was it called AssetWare?
DW: It was, yeah. So I worked, as I said, initially at Advisor Investment Services. I then went to Lonsdale, which as many, many of you would know, is now two groups, Lonsec and Lonsdale. But at that time the research was embedded in the dealer group of Lonsdale.
MH: And owned by Zurich at that stage?
DW: Not at that stage, but shortly thereafter it was, yes. And you know, that was my first opportunity, really, to have, or buy equity in a business and in a business that I worked. So I worked for a guy called Otto Buttula at that stage, and Otto and a number of associates of him set up the AssetWare business, as you say, and I was the fourth shareholder in that business. So that was a great time to be honest. We were all very passionate about what we did, but the early days of that business was a group of guys of similar age that worked hard. But we had a bit of fun on the side as well, so yeah, that was a great time for that period of my life.
MH: And the sophistication of the industry back then must have been completely different to what we experience now.
DW: Very different Matt, yeah, as you well know. I mean, I think going back then and through the sort of '80s into the early '90s, it was essentially almost life insurance agents becoming financial advisors. And so many of those came out of the big insurance businesses at the time, being AMP, National Mutual, as I said, Mercantile Mutual, Colonial Mutual, Prudential. A lot of these businesses don't exist, at least by name anymore. So as you say, it shows how long I've been in the industry.
MH: When you think about some of the names that you've just thrown around, it is pretty remarkable that many of them don't exist anymore. Are there any sort of stories or things that you can think about from that time that were sort of telling of where we've ended up?
DW: Yeah. I mean, I think I could tell a lot of stories actually about reviewing fund managers over the journey, and you meet some really interesting characters. Some who are excellent investors, but really pretty eccentric types of people. So I think probably one that springs to mind was again, many of the listeners would remember Greg Perry as being the sort of guru investor at Colonial First State, who did a terrific job. And I remember in those days we used to go in, and depending on the manager actually spend up to two to three days reviewing every asset class of that manager. We don't do that anymore, it's more by asset class by asset class. So we were in at Colonial First State, and had done the review of their small cap strategy, which was managed by Barry...
DW: Oh sorry, Barry Henderson came after Greg, and we asked Barry, "Do you manage the fund to a particular tracking error, or is that an outcome of your process?" And he sort of said, "Did you ask Greg that?" And we said, "Well yeah, we did." And he started laughing, and he said, "Look, Greg wouldn't know what a tracking error is." Well, that probably shows the purity of his investment style. But you know, it'd be I think again... Although managers don't necessarily manage themselves to tracking errors, they certainly know what they are these days.
MH: Absolutely. And having worked through that environment, how did Zenith... What was the impetus for Zenith, why did you start it?
DW: It's interesting you should say that, because a lot of people sort of say, "Has the business changed?" This year will be our 20th year, Matt.
DW: So I was reminded of that by our marketing manager the other day saying, "Oh, what do you want to do for the 20th celebration?" So it's nice that other people remembered in the business, because I'd actually forgotten myself.
MH: Looking forward to the invite.
DW: You'll get it. I think at that time, sort of David Smythe and myself set up the business, there was a move to model portfolios at the time. And there was a move to more constrained approved product lists, and a lot of that sort of came out of... If you think about the timing, 20 years ago was just post the tech/media/telecom boom, and that blew up a lot of portfolios. It actually blew up a lot of advisors' businesses, because to expose to those metrics which shot the lights out for a period of time, but then came crashing down really hard. So I think a lot of groups, and certainly insurers required better governance, better compliance. And so we'd sort of seen that trend and started the business on the basis of that, which as I say, 20 years later remains really at the core still of what we do.
MH: And at the time clearly you had a blank canvas as far as what it was that you wanted to build. How did you land on the business model at the time?
DW: Yeah, again, a question I get asked a lot. And I'll be honest, the business model largely fell out of what we didn't want to do anymore. And what I mean by that is we'd been research analysts for probably a decade at that stage, and we'd come from I guess organisations that tried to review and rate the whole market and all products. I think when you try and do that, well one, not all products are good. And two, you just spread yourself too thinly. So, there was a big issue I think in the industry at that stage that advisors really didn't value research, and they didn't research because it was pretty shallow, because we were spread too thin. So, part of our kind of philosophy was, "Well, we really only want to focus on those managers and funds that ultimately are good, and that advisors will use, and investors will invest in."
DW: And so again, that remains core of what we do. But of course, that universe has grown a lot over time both through the evolution of new platforms, and people using new platforms, and different investment menus, and the continued growth in the number of both boutique and global managers that have come into the Australian market.
MH: And when you look at the universe of funds that you research these days, sometimes it's the things that you say no to that can be as beneficial as those that you say yes to. How much pressure over time have you had to look at direct equities is an example, overseas funds, really expand the type of research that you're doing, and how and why have you resisted it?
DW: Yeah, so you do of course. You get a lot of pressure from managers themselves to look at products that not always do we think they're good or worthy of being researched. As I said before, really just trying to focus on best products, the best managers, rate them accordingly and have them in client portfolios. Direct equities, we kind of felt... Of course there's a demand for direct equities by advisors. I think a lot about being successful in business is knowing, well, the odd sort of Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry quote, of knowing a man needs to know their limitations. So we didn't have an expertise in that space, a lot of the brokers are very good at research, I'd argue maybe not that great at portfolio construction. So yeah, it's just not a space we felt we had a competitive edge or advantage in. So if that's the case, don't do it.
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MH: And what's the culture that you've tried to build within the business?
DW: I'd actually be interested in your comments on this. As you said, we haven't had these sort of conversations necessarily, even though we've dealt with each other a lot over the years. But coming from very small and humble beginnings, you really do build I think a collegiate, team-based culture that's pretty flat. And of course, as time goes on, and the business has grown, and we've got sort of 100-odd people now, that's quite different. But we've been very focused on the people that we hire. Look, I'll be honest, along the journey when we were not at the start but probably midway through that sort of 20-year timeframe, we had a couple of hires that kind of upset the balance. And so we really started to be a lot more diligent on the people that we hired.
DW: I think it's pretty standard these days, but started with kind of psychometric testing as an additional tool and meeting more people in the business, which is still things that we do today from a recruitment perspective. So that's really important for culture. You don't want groupthink, but you do want people that are going to work as a team and work together. Not everybody, especially in a business of 100-odd people is going to, well, even know each other well, and certainly not everybody's going to love each other. But you do need to work together, so that's something we've really been very, very focused on. And fortunately, touch wood, we've had low levels of turnover, good staff engagement. And I think part of that is just trying to be transparent and honest with people, and bring people along for the journey. So shared vision, and communicate that kind of regularly.
MH: It is hard building a business, and you've clearly built a very successful and very big one. What were some of the other learnings that you think are worth sharing?
DW: A lot of people say and I'm sure they say to you too Matt, "Gee, I kind of admire your entrepreneurial spirit." And I kind of look at myself and think, "No, I don't feel as if I have that entrepreneurial spirit, it's not..." At the end of the day, and maybe it comes from being an analyst, I'm ultimately pretty conservative. So I think one of the things is I've been blessed with a good memory. That's been important from the perspective of learning what to do from observing other people and other businesses, but equally learning what not to do. And I think some people miss that, like I've had other colleagues and so forth say, "I hated that manager, I hated that CEO, I didn't learn anything." And I kind of push back on that and sort of say, "Well no, we learn a lot about what not to do, and that's still really valuable learning."
DW: And so I guess I've kind of remembered those things, yeah. I think for me, probably a personal motto has just been persistence. If I look at the things that have worked out best for me both business-wise and even in personal life, it's kind of persisting at things. It's pretty trendy these days, isn't it, to talk about having agile business structure, and pivoting based on customer feedback. And don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot in that. But you need a core vision of what you're trying to achieve, and I think too many people kind of waver from that if it doesn't work straight away.
MH: Mm-hmm. An observation possibly from afar is that you have always been very hands-on, and certainly you've come from being on the tools to now managing those on the tools. What have you found hardest about letting go or delegating responsibility?
DW: Yeah, that's a double-edged sword, isn't it? And I know you're the same, because I know in various pictures you'll still often go along and speak to groups. And I think your reason for doing that is the same, I think, as why I do it. Both myself and Ben Davis, who are the remaining two partners, or I guess founders in the business, still have client responsibilities. And that is hard when you've got all the other responsibilities, I'm not going to deny that. But I think if you don't you lose touch too quickly, and it's a great feedback loop to your broader strategy, and direction of what you're doing in the business. So as you say, to answer the second part of your question, I'm not going to lie, it has been hard at times to delegate, you always...
DW: Not always, but sometimes think you can do the job best. You kind of learn over time, well one, surround yourself with good people, and give them the latitude to do the job that you've employed them to do. Otherwise you're not going to retain those people either, and often certainly I have found a lot of those people do the job a hell of a lot better than I ever did.
MH: Absolutely, it's always a good idea to surround yourself with people with NBAs.
DW: Exactly, yeah. That's it.
MH: David, you touched on the fact before, which I think probably slightly too modestly, that you don't have an entrepreneurial approach to business. If I think about some of the things that you've sort of pioneered within the industry I'd probably just disagree with that fairly strongly. But alternate assets as an example, you were onto alternative assets as an asset class, an investment vehicle well before the broader market. Do you want to just talk about how you sort of look at the world, how you come up with some of these investment thematics, because that's then moved onto things like managed accounts and I think probably more broadly ESG?
DW: It has, Matt. I guess again, this is born out of being close to the end investor. Which I think again, if I've got a criticism of some parts of the industry, we can get too removed from the end investor. So while our client is the financial advisor, ultimately they're servicing, or we're all there to service the end investor. So I think it's pretty instructive to understand what they're looking for. We know that people don't want to lose money, we know that people want to generate a reasonable return, we know that people want to sleep at night. So in terms of introduction of alternatives, as you said... And I'm not going to say that we got all of those right either. We researched and recommended hedge funder funds, which if you remember at the time promised equity-like returns with bond-like volatility, and ended up with sort of bond-like returns with cash-like volatility.
MH: The reverse.
DW: Yeah, exactly. But I do think we're pretty open-minded, and like to sort of pride ourselves on identifying things fairly early that can bring something to the portfolio. And when I say bring something, it's either capital protection or enhanced returns through different market cycles. So, a lot of the kind of younger analysts in our business, and as you mentioned before, I think to be honest if I was looking for a job in the industry these days, I'd struggle again. Because just, the level of academic qualifications that people come in with these days is outstanding. And you've got a lot of smart people that are in a hurry to progress their career, but as an analyst and as an investment professional the one thing you can't unfortunately rush is experience and seeing a lot of different market conditions.
DW: And as a fund analyst reviewing managers in very different market conditions, and in particular in times of stress. So periods like we've got kind of at the moment, or even prior to that, reviewing value managers in the decade-long bull market for growth. They're the sort of things that you really do learn the most, from a research perspective.
MH: So much of what you do, particularly now that you've moved into sort of the managed account space, model management, portfolio construction is around education. Is that a part of the job that you enjoy?
DW: It is. I actually just a couple of weeks ago, actually Matt, I enjoy actually presenting to advisors' clients. As you said, you've got to communicate that and what you do in a way that the layperson can understand. And again, I think that's really instructive in terms of how you write research reports, how you write portfolio reports and portfolio updates and so forth. But it's more than that, as you said. Like introducing new alternatives and so forth, you've got to, with the greatest of respect, educate the advisor as to what the strategy is, what it's going to bring to the portfolio, what they can expect from it, and in what types of market conditions will it do really well, in what types of market conditions will it struggle?
DW: So I find the educational aspect, as you said, is a lot about managing people's expectations. And so then if something does happen you sort of say, "Well remember, this is the type of market which we sort of said that'll struggle in, but it's generated fantastic returns also." So yeah, the education aspect is something I very much enjoy.
MH: One of the big trends that we've seen over the last five or six years since the really cumulated through managed accounts is this trend to outsourcing the investment piece, and for financial advisors and their businesses to really focus on the strategic and client management side. Interested to get your observations on that, but also how advisors, or how you're finding the industry's interacting with their researchers. Are they still wanting to be involved, are they riding shotgun so to speak, or are they really saying, "Look David, you and your team specialise in investments. I'm going to leave it to you entirely."
DW: Again, you would see this Matt, in being a large provider of managed accounts, it's a bit of both to be honest. I do think the first mover kind of into managed accounts tended to be those that want to be more involved. As you know, our business, and we've got a bit over four billion in funds under management or advice, however you want to talk about it from a managed account perspective that... And a large proportion of that is customised, so having dealt with either existing clients or new clients that kind of had models and moving into a managed account construct has been quite revolutionary for their businesses, and so they do want some involvement. Again, as you know, ultimately as the model manager and our... We need to report to you as RE and platform governance.
DW: So, we're ultimately on the hook for the decisions. But yeah, certainly those customised clients and advisors like to have some involvement. I do think that's getting harder and harder, for the reasons like we mentioned before there's just so much product, there's quite sophisticated product. So to be able to grow an advice business service, your clients do all the other things, as you said. Cash flow, state planning, insurance, all that sort of thing, as well as be across all of the individual investments in the market is... Well, it's impossible, so that's why people hire us. What's subsequently happened, as you know, is that I think now that we're what, half a dozen years down the track with the managed account structure, advisors have...
DW: Well, to go back to your point on education, they understand them, there's comfort. And I think it's the same with the new product or asset class as well, it requires in my observation at least a number of players to be there a number of years to give the whole sector some legitimacy, and we're well and truly past that now. So what we are finding, you are as well, is a lot more support for managed accounts that are available on platforms. Either the advice group is not big enough to have customised, or they don't want customised, they want that arm's length. So, that's certainly happening.
MH: One of the interesting observations is that when advisors probably come to you, their reasons for wanting to use managed accounts, or thinking they might need a managed account are actually very different to the benefits that an advisor that's been using one for a number of years will typically cite. Again, just interested in your thoughts on that.
DW: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that I perhaps didn't mention but now being part of the broader FE fundinfo group, they have a very similar kind of managed account, or model portfolio construct in the UK. And as you said before, the experience in the UK is that the majority of advisors now outsource their portfolio construction, management, monitoring, forwarding, for all the reasons we talked about before. I think for the most part, like I said, we often find that those advice practises that are most attracted to managed accounts are those that have been running models before. And usually you'll have either a person kind of responsible for that, but also half-doing financial planning. It just becomes too much.
DW: So I think one of the things that perhaps they learn when they do have managed accounts as opposed to models is that certainly over a medium and longer-term period clients in the same or... Yeah, or in the same models have a much more consistent experience. Whereas having to execute changes as and when clients come in for reviews and so forth, even if it's a kind of model portfolio, they're going to have very, very different experiences, even over medium and sort of longer-term periods. So I think that's a real eye-opener for a lot of advisors, and it's certainly a lot more defendable from a compliance perspective.
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MH: And have you seen a big increase in demand post the volatility that we've experienced over the last couple of years?
DW: Yes, we have. And again, I think that's... As you say, the period that we're going through at the moment where people need to be, to use the word kind of agile again in being able to adjust portfolios. Even if it's just, and I shouldn't say just because it's a very important and powerful way of investing, even if it's three balancing portfolios. Like the ability to do that in a managed account construct is like, light years ahead of again, doing it on a paper-based model, portfolio-basis, or worse still individual customised portfolios for individual clients. I think with the exception of very high net worth practises with small numbers of clients, that really isn't a realistic business model in my view.
MH: Any advice for people, or advice firms considering a look in at managed accounts?
DW: They need to be committed. Like, they need to be committed to the onboarding process. I know that your due diligence and that of the other major platforms is heavy, and it should be. You want to be, as do we, want to be partnering with serious advice businesses if they're going down that customised route. So there's a lot in it, as I said there's the portfolio construction, there's the PDS, there's investment policy statements. They need to be aware of how trading and execution is going to work. There's a lot more in that than most advisors understand as well, so don't even contemplate it unless you're willing to spend the time on the onboarding and due diligence process. And I mean ultimately, that you're going to use the managed account.
So I think as our business and sales team, we've got much better at understanding those businesses and practises that... And saying, "Look, we want to have managed accounts, and assessing those that will adopt them and move the money quickly."
MH: Mm-hmm, excellent. Now with everything going on in the market at the moment and the industry, what are some of the other things that you're thinking about and trying to solve?
DW: Well, you mentioned before the whole sort of ESG, responsible investment. Yeah, let's face it, it's more than a theme, it's here to stay. It is interesting, that'll be tested a little bit right at the moment for a couple of reasons. It's, I think, kind of easy in a way when returns are really strong for investors to say, "I want my investments to be doing good things." When you're trying to protect capital and generate returns in a really tough market, does that sort of dilute or test people's commitment to ESG? And I think at the margin that's probably right. The other thing of course that we've had at the moment is that ESG, or responsible investment portfolios have generally under-performed, as opposed to sort of...
Again, I shouldn't use mainstream, but I guess maybe traditional portfolios is a... Because they've been underweight energy, they've been underweight alternatives, and they've been two of the either sectors or subsectors or asset classes that have actually done really well. So there's been quite a big material difference in the returns of traditional and ESG portfolios. I had a client talk to us a while ago about setting up some additional portfolios, ESG. I said to him, "So, what do you... By all means, we can do that. What do you want to call them? Is it ABC ESG, or ABC Responsible Investment Portfolios?" And he actually said, "No, neither." And I think this is a challenge that the whole industry is facing. And I said, "Well, why is that?"
And he said, "Well, I don't want to give the perception that what I've been doing over here is black, now we've got the nice, shiny, polished white in terms of the ESG." So, clearly ESG practises will merge and are merging into mainstream. Will it always be the case that dedicated ESG funds and portfolios will evolve to a higher level? I'm not sure. But yeah, that's the kind of challenge I think facing the whole industry at the moment. So yeah, a couple of challenges. But as I say, clearly it's here to stay, and the focus on in particular... Well, the two things we see being focused on at the moment is the climate change aspect, and carbon offsets, and credits and so forth, and actually gender, gender diversity. So, they're the two big ones that seem to occupy more people's concern right at the moment.
MH: I think that's a really interesting point on the ESG and the reasons for under-performance. Thinking that through, does that mean that when advisors and researchers and portfolio constructors are putting these portfolios together, that the timeframes actually need to be much longer? That a balanced portfolio, or balanced ESG portfolio is not zero to five years recommended, it's actually zero to 10 because of the nature of the transition of many of these asset classes?
DW: Yeah, exactly. Transition's a great description there, because as you say there's a lot of support for alternative sources of energy, clean energy and so forth. And you know, you could argue that's been accelerated by what's happened unfortunately with the Russia/Ukraine crisis, and what that's meant for energy prices and disruption and so forth. So, I do think that's potentially accelerated. And there will be swings and roundabouts, like... And let's hope there is a speedy resolution to the Russian/Ukraine crisis. And I think as a number of the managers have said to us, "Look..." And even value managers, and not... Who are traditionally quite heavily invested in energy, a number of them are not because if there is a resolution to the crisis the bubble comes out of that probably pretty quickly.
So there will be swings and roundabouts in terms of... But I think you're right, in that some of the transition to some of the ESG and RI best practise is not an overnight thing, it's going to take time. So, certainly patience and long-term kind of investment horizons definitely required.
MH: One of the other challenges that we're struggling with a bit as a business, and therefore I think probably the industry, I think everyone's aware of greenwashing and mislabeling, and that's well-understood. The data sources though that sit below a lot of this screening, and sort of ESG categorization seems to be very immature, and there's countless of examples of that including one that we looked at recently where we looked at one of the research firm's net wealth research report and we'd been downgraded quite heavily on governance in this particular instance. The reason for that was that we operated in financial services, and therefore there was a high risk of reputational damage. Now, we tried to engage with that particular provider, got nowhere.
It was a computer says no-style scenario. How can the industry actually evolve, or ensure that the ESG data is actually where it needs to be, and it's reflective of what's really going on in portfolios?
DW: Well again, I think that's a good observation, because there's still... There's a lot of subjectivity that goes into ESG data and criteria. So, some things are measurable, carbon and carbon offsets is measurable. Yes, it's still evolving quickly, and it's really probably the domain of the larger businesses and companies that are able to do that, or have consultants or providers that are able to do that. But that'll certainly... Will be able to be calculated. Some of the other stuff is pretty subjective, so as you said there's whole asset classes like... Let's face it, like government bonds is a massive asset class which really is one of the laggards in terms of having ESG data and classifications and characteristics to it.
And yet equities is the other... It was probably the most evolved, but the different providers assess the same company quite differently. So, a lot of those measures are pretty subjective, or relatively subjective, and/or the different providers have different weights and different criteria. So, you get very different outcomes even on the same business, from an ESG perspective. So, will that become more standardised? I think it will, but there'll always be areas as far as we can sort of see of subjectivity that'll lead to differences in measurements, and categorizations of businesses and companies, and ultimately funds and portfolios.
MH: Does that lead to a situation where advisors should be seeking almost consensus?
DW: Great question. Look, it's a really difficult challenge, so this isn't really answering your question. But like in any kind of pulled vehicle, whether it be a managed fund or even some of the industry super funds that are doing quite a lot ESG side of things, individuals have different values. You could be a fund, or a super fund that ticks eight out of 10 of those values from an individual investor perspective. But the other two, they're vehemently against, so it's a difficult one to solve for. So yeah, I mean, I think we've... As you know, we've built dedicated ESG portfolios from a number of our clients, and for the most part that's satisfying that client cohort that's interested in investing that way. But that's going to need to evolve, because the education and understanding by the end investor of the ESG criteria's got to develop pretty quickly as well.
MH: All right, we could probably spend another hour going down this rabbit hole. Another easy question for you David, retirement income. What are you doing in that space?
DW: We're honestly tinkering around the edges, to be honest Matt. And I think for the most part, that's symptomatic of the whole industry. And again, I don't want to assign blame but we do need greater clarity from the government, from Treasury, and real clarity around retirement incomes policy. And I think once you get that you start to get some product innovation from managers, you get some portfolio innovation. I do think as an industry we started to make some inroads on that, as I say, maybe six, seven years ago. And then guess what else happened? Managed accounts arrived. And so that kind of took over, and that's been a great evolution to the extent that for a couple of clients, I won't say a wide number yet, they have established their managed account portfolios.
And as you know, at times have then gone, "Okay, we've got this kind of battered down and nutted. We need some dedicated options for our retirement or draw-down clients." And so, that certainly has started to establish. But it's been a bit more evolutionary than revolutionary at the moment, and I think we need the real clarity. We've got the Retirement Incomes Covenant now, which helps, but I think we need more.
MH: David, unfortunately we've run out of time. We've covered, as always, a lot of topics in a short period of time. You've been really generous with your answers, thanks so much for coming in and great to catch up, as always.
DW: Thanks Matt, been a great chat. I need to interview you to get a lot of those answers from you.