Member Profile, Maaike van Tol

Maaike van Tol, CFA
Head of Asset Allocation at ANZ Investments

What are some of your career highlights so far?
I lived in the Netherlands for ten years, and worked for a CDO manager during the GFC. This job didn’t end well (obviously) but it is interesting for me to reflect on how different the experience of the GFC was compared to how it is now described.

After that, I got a job at ING Investment Management, working on asset allocation problems for large Dutch pension plans. This was really the perfect job for me at the time – it used my degree and some of the experience I had gained in previous jobs to design portfolios to achieve higher returns while also managing market and interest rate risk. I also completed by CFA qualification in the Netherlands while heavily pregnant – this was a major achievement and I would not recommend studying Level 3 with morning sickness.

Since returning to New Zealand, I’ve worked at ANZ Investments for nine years, working on strategic and tactical asset allocation for all the diversified funds and model portfolios. This has grown to include managing a team and doing board and client presentations. At the end of April, I’ll join NZ Super Fund in a similar role, and I’m looking forward to working with such as large and diverse team under one roof.

What do you like most about your job/industry?
Asset management in New Zealand is in an exciting phase because KiwiSaver is growing so strongly and that’s leading to bigger teams and a deeper industry, more FUM and more competition to generate better returns.

Asset allocation is a great role – it’s a key investment decision and not a straight forward one because the best approach will differ depending on whether there is a short or long investment horizon, and on other investment preferences. Markets and economies are constantly changing and reacting to shocks like those seen over the last few years: the US-China trade war, the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.


What are your interests outside work?
I have two active boys so we spend a lot of time going to the beach in summer, snow in winter and going to all their sports. I also enjoy reading, cooking, golf and I practice yoga most days.


Can you recommend some good reading and/or viewing?
The more memorable non-fiction books I’ve read include Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (along with his other books), Factfulness by Hans Rosling, How the world really works by Vaclav Smil; for asset allocation, Antii Ilmanen’s books are useful, and look at what other practitioners are doing in academic research and the Financial Analysts Journal. Novels I’ve enjoyed recently include Cloud Cuckoo Land and The Covenant of Water.


Make a prediction for 2029
This is not really out of consensus, but I think that rates will remain higher than the pre-covid period, which will lead to a clean-up of unprofitable companies and strategies that require low rates and leverage to do well. Higher rates should eventually lead to austerity for over-indebted governments. The winners and losers from AI will start to become apparent and I think China will be politically stronger and more technologically advanced than currently expected.

Profile April 2024