Tuesday 13 May 2014 by Guest Contributor At FIIG

Meet the team - Jake Koundakjian

Jake tells us why he moved to Australia, what he loves about being a FIIG bond dealer, and his top bond pick

Director at FIIG Securities 

Jake grew up in Ottawa, Canada, where he rose from a teenage bank teller to a portfolio manager overseeing more than $600 million in assets for the Bank of Nova Scotia. With over fifteen years in asset management he moved to Australia three years ago with his Australian wife Jane and their two young daughters.
 
Photo of Jake

Why did you move to Australia?

My wife is from Brisbane and we came back to Australia every time we had a child to visit my wife’s family. It was pretty clear that this was where we wanted to raise our children. There’s a lot of cultural and economic similarities between Canada and Australia but the lifestyle here is a lot better, especially in Brisbane. I think it’s a lot healthier. Having my kids being able to play outside all year round instead of being stuck indoors in winter was a big attraction.

What do you miss most about Canada?

Mostly my family and friends. I also miss the Harvey’s flame-grilled Big Harv Burger and Labatt Blue beer. I get my family to bring a few cans across when they visit.

What are your pastimes/hobbies?

The main one is chasing after my two young daughters. I also enjoy fishing and really enjoyed taking them fishing on the Tweed River a couple of months ago. I also play for the Masters Gaelic football team which is for over 35s. Nothing serious, just a bunch of guys getting together.

What attracted you to FIIG?

When I met with (FIIG founder) Jim Stening we got to the nuts and bolts of how this giant asset class was underdeveloped here. I just felt personally that it was unfair for individual investors to miss out. In Canada you can buy bonds from your bank branch. They are low risk assets with safe, stable cash flows. So in North America and pretty much every country around the world it’s different to what’s going on in Australia. It’s like Australia has been left out. I had seven job interviews scheduled when I arrived in Brisbane and the first one was with FIIG. After that first meeting I knew that I wanted to work with FIIG.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Having traded bonds my whole career what attracted me personally was that you don’t have to worry. With stocks you are constantly strapped to your phone or screen watching assets move. It is really quite stressful.

On the bond side you don’t have to worry the whole time. While I’m certainly in touch with everything going on in the markets, I don’t have to be on high alert all the time. I can relax and sleep at night.

Highlight of your time with FIIG?

One proud moment was when we issued the Silver Chef bond. I did a lot of homework and I was quite comfortable. I ended up taking about 20% of the deal outright for clients who’ve done extremely well. They took a leap of faith as it was a pioneering bond issued by FIIG and they got well rewarded for it. I’m glad that a lot of people trusted me with their funds and it panned out quite nicely for them. They entered expecting an 8.5% return, but if they sold now they would be crystalizing a 21% return, which annualises at 12.75%.

Top bond pick?

Sydney Airport inflation-linkers both the 2020s and 2030s. From a risk reward trade-off I honestly believe that every super fund in Australia should have some inflation-linked assets. It just makes so much sense from an overall portfolio perspective as you’re getting a great return with inflation protection. I’d lean towards the 30s right now but both maturities should be cleared for landing in all portfolios!

Jake is in the Brisbane office and can be contacted on 07 3231 6629

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