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Norwegian Ethics Council Chair Mestad Cautions on Insincere ESG Compliance

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esgCurrently, Ola Mestad is the chair of the Council on Ethics for Norway’s Government Pension Global (GPFG) and a professor of law at the University of Oslo. It has been reported that Ola Mestad is not as enthusiastic about the efficacy of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in recent days, specifically its responsible investment criteria.

The ethics council has a list of companies to be excluded from the sovereign wealth fund’s investment universe. Some of the companies on the exclusion list include Fortune 500 companies like Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores and Boeing Co. In addition, a number of excluded companies have substantial public funds as investors such as Rio Tinto Plc and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

He said he “gets the feeling” that companies aren’t actually following through on their guidelines.

In a speech to attendees of the Ethical Investment Research and Investment Service’s (EIRIS) 30th anniversary conference in London yesterday, Mr Mestad was quoted as saying that the success of their responsible investing program makes it “superficial” in a way.

According to Mestad when Norway’s oil fund began their responsible investing criteria, they weren’t taken very seriously. Recently that has changed with public companies responding immediately to the giant institutional investor whenever it raises issues concerning the ethics of their operations.clouds

In April of this year, Norway’s sovereign fund began divesting itself from oil companies with operations in Equatorial Guinea. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

SWFI First Read, September 19, 2018

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QIA Eyes Investment in Chinese Lender Lufax

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in talks about a possible investment into Shanghai-based Lufax, one of China’s largest online lenders. The seller of the possible stake is China’s Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. Lufax’s official name is Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. Ltd.

Wealth Funds Back Hotpot Giant

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Japanese Government Capital Provides Initial Life for Texas Bullet Train

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Dallas-based Texas Central Partners, LLC is the developer of a proposed high-speed rail system, dubbed the Texas Bullet Train, between Dallas and Houston. Project costs are estimated between US$ 12 billion to US$ 15 billion. The developer secured US$ 300 million in project loans from Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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DOJ Investing Tesla Over Musk Comments

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a fraud investigation over Tesla as its CEO Elon Musk made public statements on twitter. This is a criminal probe. In addition, earlier, SWFI reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting a civil inquiry into Elon Musk regarding his statements.

This all surrounds Musk tweeting in August that he was thinking of taking Tesla private and had “funding secured” for the transaction. Both government authorities are seeing if Musk misled investors and violated federal securities laws with his public statements.

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