Having been to a few ASFA Conferences over recent years, you do come to expect some impressive and confronting day 1 keynote speeches. This year’s presentations once again did not disappoint. They covered a diverse range of topics and provoked an even more surprising range of emotional reactions.

The first keynote speaker was Sebastian Mallaby, who talked about what he called “the central paradox” between the global political instability and the global economic performance.

“Basically, the economic news has been pretty good but political news has been pretty awful. Normally, unstable politics would lead to unstable economics but the paradox…is that this really hasn’t happened” said Mallaby.

Mallaby also talked about how politics around the world is in the grip of five forces, which he described as:

  • polarisation,
  • fragmentation,
  • frustration,
  • the rise of the strong man and
  • backlash.

The session was a thought-provoking and somewhat terrifying presentation on the global political and economic landscape.

The Honourable Julie Bishop was the second keynote speaker of the day, who provided further insight into the unstable political environment by exploring the trade conflict between the U.S and China and the “cold war on technology”.

Julie Bishop discussed several factors including:

  • High level of indebtedness
  • Low/negative interest rates
  • Industry disruption and the consequences
  • Technology as a disruptor including AI, automation, and robotics
  • That 1 million jobs will be lost due to technology disruption but an estimated 1.5+ million new and different jobs will be created
  • The need for reskilling and retraining people for these new jobs not yet envisaged/created
  • The ethical consequence of some of the applications of new and emerging technology, and raised the question: Just because we can, should we?

I personally hung off every word. It was an insightful and inspiring keynote address.

In the afternoon, Moshe Milevsky talked about the difference between chronological age and biological age including some correlations to a person’s financial wealth position relative to age. Moshe believes that longevity planning for retirement should be based on biological age (not chronological age) and that this could be a way of getting people to take longevity planning seriously.

This presentation has kept me wondering what my own biological age is.

The day came to an end with two highly emotional but inspiring speeches that caused glassy eyes for many delegates.

The moving stories of both Kath Koschel, Founder of Kindness Factory and Michael Crossland showed me the impact kindness, resilience and a positive mindset can really have.

I think all delegates welcomed (and needed) a refreshing drink and some networking time after day one.

Stuart Conboy

Managing Principal