What trends will bleed into 2017 with regard to sovereign wealth funds, pensions and other asset owners?
U.S. Equity Markets Look Attractive to Some Mega Asset Owners
Was the Trump victory rally just representing a reversion to the mean in U.S. equity markets? Renewed confidence in the U.S. economy and greater certainty has galvanized institutional investors such as the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) and California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to rethink tactical allocation in public equities. With positive manufacturing data, healthier earnings growth prospects and possible changes in U.S. regulatory policy, U.S. equities could ride out into the 2017 sunset. Some institutional investors, like Australia’s Future Fund, are deploying more smart beta strategies, honing in on select factors, to catch the equity wave, rather than spending money on active managers. Smart beta strategies are subject to a wide dispersion of returns due to the growing number of factors to be selected. However, as U.S. pensions pile into low-volatility strategies, others are opting out, growing weary of its popularity.
Sovereign funds like GIC Private Limited are on the front line, partnering with non-banking financial institutions to lend money in a variety of markets such as the U.S., U.K. and even rapidly-developing economies such as India.
Asian Asset Owners Seeking Reliable Income
Asian institutional investor giants such as Japan Post Group are seeking reliable income overseas, in both traditional and non-traditional yield-oriented investments. Japan Post is looking to possibly allocate capital to real estate managers, targeting U.S. real estate, while other institutional investors like Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), less further along in moving capital, hired CBRE Advisors to study the American property market. Some Asian investors are investing in mezzanine debt. As confirmed by SWFI Compass, an RFP and opportunity tracking service, South Korea’s Military Mutual Aid Association has conducted a study to see the advantages of investing in offshore non-performing loans and private credit funds. Other Korean public funds have invested in mezzanine debt in offices in Silicon Valley that have marquee tenants such as Alphabet (formerly Google).
Harvesting the Illiquidity Premium in Private Credit
Lock up too much in private credit, and the institutional investor may encounter liquidity issues, while committing too little, the asset owner may not receive the return given its intended allocation. Sovereign funds like GIC Private Limited are on the front line, partnering with non-banking financial institutions to lend money in a variety of markets such as the U.S., U.K. and even rapidly-developing economies such as India. With prolonged deleveraging in the banking system, wealth funds, pensions and private equity funds continue to generate risk-adjusted returns in exchange for being patience. U.S. pensions like the Orange County Employees’ Retirement System (OCERS) opted for allocating capital toward private credit managers even though the pension is contemplating lowering its credit allocation from 14% to 13%. OCERS is also considering eliminating its absolute return program, which consists of hedge funds and global tactical asset allocation (GTAA) strategies. OCERS’ pension peer, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, recently allocated US$ 40 million toward Arbor Debt Opportunities Fund I, a captive subordinated debt fund managed by Chicago-based Arbor Investments.
Hindustan Infralog Private Limited, the US$ 3 billion joint venture formed in January 2018 between DP World and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to invest in ports, logistics and warehousing, agreed to acquire 90% of Continental Warehousing Corporation (Nhava Seva) Limited for US$ 400 million. 10% is being retained by the company’s founders – the Reddy family. Adi Keshav Reddy is the founder of Continental Warehousing. This is the first investment of the Hindustan Infralog platform.
The sellers include Warburg Pincus India Pvt Ltd, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Aureos Capital, a joint venture between the CDC and Norfund that was acquired by Abraaj Capital.
Barclays, Citi and Detusche Bank advised on the transaction.
Continental Warehousing was formed in 1997 and is one of India’s biggest container warehousing firms – operating container freight stations and private freight terminals across India. In April 2011, Warburg Pincus invested in Continental Warehousing, committing US$ 100 million. In December 2015, IFC invested US$ 25 million in equity and lent US$ 35 million in debt to Continental Warehousing.
In India, DP World has been operating container port terminals since 1997.
Surbana Jurong and China Vanke Tie up Deal for Industrial Town Projects
Surbana Jurong, a real estate development company focused on urban projects, inked a deal with China Vanke to partner on new industrial towns in China’s midwest regions. Surbana Jurong is majority-owned by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. The first joint project is Vanke’s Jianzhou Dream Town in Chengdu. Surbana will provide the design for this project.
PIF Eyes Hollywood Talent
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is looking at investing around a 7% stake in Endeavor, LLC, a talent agency holding entity of WME for a reported US$ 400 million. Ari Emanuel is the CEO of Endeavor. PIF’s financial advisor for this deal is Michael Klein & Co. Endeavor is being advised by Ares Holdings.
Alex Wilmot-Sitwell of BAML Resigns
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Data Collective led a US$ 15 million Series A round into Salt Lake City-based Fortem Technologies, Inc., a company that works on solutions that can detect, identify and classify drones in real time to maintain airspace safety. Other investors in the round include Boeing, Mubadala Investment Company, Manifest Growth, New Ground Ventures and Signia Venture Partners.
Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Mubadala Ventures said in the press release, ” Mubadala is excited to work with Fortem and its outstanding leadership team to help grow its business to new markets.”
Ajami added, “We strongly believe the TrueView radar is essential to maintain a safe airspace for both the aircraft and the critical infrastructure on the ground.”
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