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CDPQ Fits into Menswear Retailer Frank and Oak in Series C Round

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Montreal-based online fashion retailer Frank and Oak raised US$ 16 million in Series C financing led by local institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). The company’s fourth fundraising effort also saw contributions from returning investors such as Goodwater Capital, a consumer technology-oriented investment firm out of California, and state-backed provincial financier Investissement Quebec.

Origin Story

Frank and Oak first launched in 2012 as a one-stop-shop for men looking to easily up their fashion game through the brand’s personalized recommendation newsletter, but has since expanded its offerings to include womenswear and accessories as well. The company has also harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers look their best with its Style Plan program, which lets members pick and choose items that catch their fancy from a monthly box curated by their stylist and shipped straight to their door.

For Frank and Oak co-founders Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, bringing on new investors like CDPQ was about more than just the capital they can bring to the table. “It was important to us to find not only investors, but also partners that believe in our product and our offer as a business, and that we can count on their expertise to contribute to the growth of our organization,” said the pair in an email to SWFI.

Proceeds from the round will enable Frank and Oak to continue development of its vertically integrated supply chain, bolster implantation of its smart-learning recommendation features, and support growth of its online business in North America and other parts of the world. The company has also brought on new talent to its executive team, including Frédéric Boivin as Vice President of Merchandising and Brad Evans as National Sales Manager. Joanne Nemeroff, former president of Limited Brands Canada and La Senza, to serve on its supervisory board.

Online fashion retailers are getting the attention of large assets owners. Another fashion e-commerce outfit Farfetch touts Singapore’s Temasek Holdings as a backer and is looking at possibly conducting an initial public offering.

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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