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BlackRock Positioning for Potential American Infrastructure Boom

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BlackRock Inc. has struggled in growing its alternatives business quickly, losing out to niche and well-funded infrastructure managers in expanding assets under management. According to regulatory filings, BlackRock experienced an outflow of US$ 364 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 from its alternatives business. As of December 31, 2016, alternatives for BlackRock comprised 2.27% of its total assets under management, some US$ 116.938 billion in assets. To compensate for a deficiency in fast organic growth, BlackRock is going out to acquire potential alternative platforms. Besides other commingled funds and separate accounts in infrastructure, the world’s largest asset manager oversees a number of renewable power funds and has a 10-year Latin American infrastructure vehicle. As of 2016, BlackRock has invested in over 70 wind and solar projects. And in 2016, BlackRock hired Patrick Christopher Eilers who headed up Madison Dearborn’s energy, power and chemicals investment practice to be the firm’s managing director in the infrastructure investment group. Eilers was also a former American football safety in the National Football League for the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears.

BlackRock has agreed to purchase two energy infrastructure funds and the 37-person team that runs them from First Reserve Corporation, a private equity firm. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Hire its First Chief Investment Officer

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The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) hired its first chief investment officer. The US$ 10 billion philanthropic vehicle hired David Lee to be its CIO. The search process was conducted by New York-based recruiting firm David Barrett Partners. Lee spent the last eight years working at Princeton University’s endowment – holding the managing director position as his final station. Lee got his MBA at Yale University.

According to the CZI press release, “In this role, Lee will be responsible for managing an investment portfolio that will grow the organization’s ability to fund its efforts across its three core Initiatives – Science, Education and Justice & Opportunity. CZI is a new kind of philanthropic organization that pairs engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy and advocacy work, in order to help build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.”

Lee will report to an investment committee which is led by Yale University CIO David Swensen. Other investment committee members of CZI include Lei Zhang, Founder and CEO of Hillhouse Capital; Matt Cohler, General Partner of venture capital firm Benchmark; and Carter Simonds, a former Managing Director of Blue Ridge Capital – a hedge fund investor.

Photo Credit: CZI

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Saudi Arabia Sends Second Installment of Aid to Pakistan

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On December 14, 2018, Pakistan received its second installment of the US$ 3 billion in aid promised from Saudi Arabia on October 23, 2018. The US$ 1 billion given on December 14th boosted the foreign reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan, which went from US$ 7.2 billion to US$ 8.2 billion. The first installment was given on November 23, 2018. The last installment is expected to occur in January 2019.

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White House Nominates Heath Tarbert for CFTC Chairman

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The White House announced Heath P. Tarbert will be nominated to serve as Commissioner and Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Tarbert currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Treasury Department. Before joining the U.S. Treasury, Tarbert was a Partner at law firm Allen & Overy. Tarbert was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for his current Treasury post at 87 (yes) to 8 (no).

Upon Senate confirmation, Tarbert’s CFTC term would start on April 14, 2019 and last for five years. Tarbert is taking over from J. Christopher Giancarlo whose term ends in April 2019. Tarbert will need a U.S. Senate confirmation to take the head CFTC post.

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