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Alaska SWF Backs New SSgA Smart Beta Funds

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Increasingly, sovereign wealth funds and pensions are embracing the usage of factor-based investing or smart beta. State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) has US$ 81 billion in assets under management when it comes to smart beta offerings. SSgA developed new exchange-traded funds (ETF) with input from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC). The APFC has been contemplating smart beta strategies for well over a year, according to SWFI Compass – an opportunity tracking service. In return, the AFPC is investing US$ 1 billion across the three new smart beta ETFs. The three ETFs are broken out by yield, momentum and low volatility.


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The ETFs are designed to track the performance of rules based indexes from FTSE Russell. The three ETFs are SPDR Russell 1000 Momentum Focus ETF, SPDR Russell 1000 Yield Focus ETF and SPDR Russell 1000 Low Volatility Focus ETF.

“The adoption of smart beta strategies has been one of the most powerful trends in investing over the recent years and investors are now rethinking their core exposures to leverage approaches that seek to bridge the gap between active and passive,” said James Ross, executive vice president and global head of SPDR Exchange Traded Funds at State Street Global Advisors in a press release.

GIC Sells Arizona Biltmore to Blackstone

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Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, part of the Blackstone Group, acquired the 740-room Arizona Biltmore hotel, located in Phoenix, for US$ 403.4 million. The deal closed on April 20, 2018.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Mubadala Acquires Stake in Growing Hedge Fund Phoenician Capital

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Mubadala Investment Company, through its unit Mubadala Capital, purchased a minority stake Phoenician Capital, LLC. Although terms and size of the deal were not disclosed, the agreement grants Mubadala Capital rights to invest in a fund managed by the New York-based firm, which generated respective returns of 40.8% and 33.0% in 2016 and 2017, against benchmarks of 12.0% and 21.8% for the S&P 500. The hedge fund runs the Phoenician Offshore Fund Ltd.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Large Asset Managers Continue to Move Operations Out of California

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In the 2010s, Fisher Investments, an investment firm run by Ken Fisher, moved a large number of employees from the Woodside and San Mateo campuses to a town called Camas in Washington, near Portland. Vanguard has a large operational presence in Arizona, while Charles Schwab Corporation has expanded its technology operations and client services in places like Denver, Dallas, Austin and Phoenix. Dimensional Fund Advisors moved its headquarters in 2008 from Santa Monica, California to Austin.

While asset managers reap profits and try to lower employee head count costs, looking to fly-over country seems appealing.

The Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), part of the Allianz family, selected Austin, Texas as its new office to hire more client services and technology talent. The PIMCO Austin office will open later in 2018. PIMCO is headquartered in Newport Beach, California, with an office in New York City.

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