Shane Oliver – Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist at AMP Capital
Posted October 16, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Shane joined AMP in 1984 as a research officer, when the company’s core focus was insurance. Since that time he’s watched the industry evolve while moving up the ranks to his current role as head of investment strategy and chief economist. Shane plays a major role in determining AMP Capital's investment strategy and looks after $16 billion in managed funds.
Tell us what you do in your role at AMP Capital
I am responsible for the overall investment performance of diversified funds, AMP Captial's broad investment strategy as well as economic and market analysis and forecasting. Another part of my job includes giving client presentations at both an institutional and wholesale level. I talk to the media as I am AMP Capital’s main spokesperson on investment markets. Most of my job involves economic analysis and forecasting. I study economic trends around the globe and in Australia to ascertain where the best places are to invest. This could include cash and property as well as stocks.
What did you study and what are the steps you took to be where you are today?
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Economics completed with Honours in 1982 from Macquarie University. I actually received an Australian Postgraduate Research Award and continued to study full time after graduating from my Master of Economics in 1983. After I started working at AMP, I studied part-time. In 1985, I transferred to a PhD, which I completed in 1991. I also have a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia (now the Australian Bankers and Finance Association).
The main steps I took beyond relevant study can be summarised as having a love for economics, applying that in a practical way to investing and learning how to communicate all of that in an easy to understand (and hopefully enjoyable) way to ordinary people who are not expert in economics and investing.
There was a bit of determination and perseverance along the way.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to work outdoors/and work with people, but I didn't have a clue really!
What was your first job?
Mowing lawns and doing gardening for older people who needed help. I think they also enjoyed the company but looking back I learned a lot from all of them and really enjoyed it. And of course, it helped me buy Hobie Cats, get through uni and then buy V8s.
When did you first know you wanted to take this career path?
I decided I wanted to study economics and do something around that in Year 11. Didn't know precisely what though as it wasn't exactly clear what economists did (apart from economics teachers at school).
Run us through a typical day at work
It starts with checking what markets have done overnight and why, and then sending out a few tweets around that. Beyond that I have two types of typical days:
1) Head to the office to discuss markets and our fund positioning with colleagues, analyse new data on markets and the economy when it is released, undertake research that I may use to helps drive our investment decisions, communicate to our clients and customers, undertake a few media interviews and maybe do a presentation to our investors. Eat lunch at my desk and run to Pilates.
2) Head to the airport to go and present to our customers and investors around Australia.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
The 1987 sharemarket crash. Seeing shares fall 25% in one day was a bit of a shock. But after a few sharemarket slumps, you get used to it.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
The best parts are applying economics to investing and getting to meet ordinary investors. The worst part is the constant grind of sorting through the ever-increasing information overload (most of which is just noise) surrounding investment markets.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Do what you love.
Name a career highlight
Seeing our investment funds top investment surveys over all time periods. But you don't get that often! Also, helping develop and launch goals based investment funds and in particular one called the Dynamic Markets Fund.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.