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BlackRock Reaches $5.42 Trillion AUM

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BlackRock reported net income of US$ 862 million, while reaching US$ 5.42 trillion in assets under management at March 31, 2017. iShares continue to be a key driver of net inflows for BlackRock, US$ 64.5 billion of the US$ 80 billion in net inflows were from this segment. Of those iShares ETFs, there were equity net inflows of US$ 44.6 billion, a sign of the bull-run up after the U.S. Presidential election.

BlackRock competes heavily with Vanguard Group Inc. in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) market, with some analysts and financial pundits calling out a price war on ETFs. In February 2017, decreased expense ratios for 68 ETFs and mutual funds. Low-cost emerging market index funds, coupled with smart beta products, have enabled institutional investors access to strategies at a far lower cost than ever before.

BlackRock did experience around equity and fixed income net outflows of US$ 4.7 billion and US$ 1.3 billion, respectively during the period.

Japan’s GPIF Awards Nissay Asset Management with ESG Disclosure Mandate

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Increasingly asset owners across the Asia-Pacific region are studying the impacts of environmental, social, and governance factors on listed companies. As more Japanese pensions augment asset allocation to listed equities, the importance of corporate non-financial disclosures and practices becomes clear. These disclosures can have a material impression on company stock prices. In addition, Japanʼs Stewardship Code and Corporate Governance Code in 2014 and 2015 were launched, respectively. These codes helped the (environmental, social, and governance) ESG concept gain momentum in Japan.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the largest public pension fund in the world, awarded a research mandate to Nissay Asset Management Corporation. The mandate entails studying ESG disclosures. The study will conduct a comparable analysis on ESG standards and practices, while taking into account input from both investors and companies. With around US$ 110.5 billion in assets under management, Nissay Asset Management is owned by Japanese life insurance giant Nippon Life Insurance Company.

As GPIF boosted its allocation to domestic equities, the asset owner took a deeper look into the impact of ESG on equity investing. GPIF is keen on improving efficiencies in Japan’s capital markets. GPIF is a universal owner of stocks, similar in some aspects to what Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) does.

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Norges Bank Real Estate Management Buys Central Paris Property

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Norges Bank Real Estate Management, the real estate unit of Norges Bank Investment Management (oversees Norway Global Pension Fund Global), has signed an agreement to acquire a 100 percent interest in an office property located on 54-56 rue la Boétie in central Paris.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Schlumberger Gets Closer to Eurasia Drilling Company

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Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and American oilfield services giant Schlumberger (SLB) have planned a deal to invest in Russia’s Eurasia Drilling Company Limited. RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev made the announcement. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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