Emilie O'Neill (Perennial)

Emilie is the Co-Head of ESG & Equities Analyst at Perennial Value Management where she leads their ESG-focused fund Perennial Better Future.

Before joining Perennial in 2019, O'Neill spent several years with Morgan Stanley as an equity research analyst covering banks and diversified financials. She also spent time with Acorns Australia (now Raiz Invest). She started her career with an internship with IBM's systems and technology group.

On your daily habits

I love to exercise and try to do that in the mornings to start my day in a positive way, even though that means testing the limits of the snooze function in order to get up at 5:30am. 

When I am in the office, I go to a meditation class once a week. There is a great little place called Centred Meditation above Rockpool on Hunter St in Sydney.

On protecting personal time

Anyone who has ever met me will probably tell you that I am constantly “on”. I keep myself incredibly busy with work, social events or study. 

What’s really helped me balance work though is having a supportive boss who calls me out when I’m on emails on leave or when I am saying “yes” too much to other colleagues, and I think that has been a life saver. There is always time to do the most important things - so I try to focus on the most critical things first.

On advice to a younger self

One piece of advice that has stuck with me is  “do what you love or are passionate about”. For some time, I have been met with pushback from businesses, colleagues and sometimes clients on the benefits of sustainable investment and corporate ESG improvement. 

There’s a misconception that ESG does not equal returns -- but if you look at the outperformance of the eInvest Better Future Fund I help manage you’ll see that’s not true! I have been told, “you’ll be the first one fired in a crisis” or “clients won't pay for that”, and you really need passion to get through comments like that!

You can’t fight for something unless you actually care about it!

On your investment portfolio

Because I am a bit restricted in what I can trade in my personal portfolio, I actually put the majority of my funds in the eInvest Better Future Fund (ASX: IMPQ) - talk about all my eggs in one basket!

In saying that, I have a love for fintechs and micro investing platforms like Raiz & Spaceships in equities, Brick-X that allows you to buy a “bricks” in a property, crowd raising platforms for private investments like Birchal, and -- like the rest of world -- I’ve certainly spent a fair amount of time going down the crypto rabbit hole during lockdown.

On content your consume

I am a big podcaster listener! Particularly anything finance related. There is some fantastic content that I listen to during a walk or run or while doing a mundane task. Some of my favourites are Equity Mates, Private Equity Funcast, FT News Briefing and of course - The Alpha Females Invest which is a podcast that I host with my ex-colleague Cluny.

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Elicia McDonald (Airtree)