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Coaker Named CIO of San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System

William Coaker was recently named chief investment officer of the US$ 18 billion San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS). He is leaving his role as senior managing director in public equities at the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer.

The executive search lasted just over two years, and he will be replacing Bob Shaw on January 30, who was SFERS’ interim CIO. Mr. Shaw will be returning to his post as managing director for public markets. Mr. Coaker is returning to SFERS, he was a senior investment officer there from 2005 to 2008.

“I am very honored and humbled to return to SFERS as their Chief Investment Officer,” said Mr. Coaker in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Board and staff to further build an outstanding investment division and to best serve the employees, retirees, and beneficiaries who are relying on the investment decisions we make.”

He declined to comment further via email.

Mr. Coaker joins the SFERS at a time when absolute returns may play a secondary role to environmental impact for some groups.

In the SFERS Board October minutes, Commissioner Meiberger mentioned, “He stated that there is no dispute on the reality of global warming, but engagement and alternative energy technology are part of any long-term solution. Energy stocks provide inflation protection to the portfolio, which needs to be addressed as part of any divestment analysis before he could support divestment. He also inquired regarding staff capacity and the budget for outside consultants if required.”

350.org, a self-proclaimed grassroots movement set to end climate change, and some SFERS retirees prompted the board in October to consider divesting from fossil fuel investments. Fossil fuel companies represent 3.1% of the total plan assets as of August 30, 2013.

Asian Sovereign Funds Not Slowing Down on Tech Investing

According to data from SWFI’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, Asian sovereign funds invested US$ 6.05 billion directly into companies and assets in the information technology sector from Jan 2017 to November 22, 2017. In a comparable time frame from Jan 2016 to November 22, 2016, this same group of Asian sovereign funds directly invested US$ 5.02 billion in the sector. These are direct investments, not fund commitments or manager allocations.

Asian sovereign funds such as GIC Private Limited, Temasek Holdings and the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) have demonstrated bullish signals to the technology community over other sectors. GIC and Temasek have also been major investors in the private side of deals, funding a wide range of tech startups, while providing financial firepower in buyout transactions.

Some notable direct tech investments in 2017 by sovereign funds include Meituan-Dianping, SoundCloud, Nets A/S, Visma AS, Turn, Inc. and Vantiv.

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Future Fund Makes a Guardian Out of Former J.P. Morgan ANZ Chair

The Australian government has appointed Robert Priestley – current non-executive chair of J.P Morgan for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and a non-executive director of ASX – to serve on the Future Fund Board of Guardians for a five-year term from November 7, 2017. Priestley replaces former Morgan Stanley Australia chief executive Steven J. Harker.

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Associated British Ports Reboots Property Development Arm to Capitalize on Land Bank

Associated British Ports (ABP) – operator of 21 major ports throughout the United Kingdom – has announced a reboot of its ABP Property division, complete with a new team of specialists in commercial development and logistics led by Huw Turner, in order to identify and develop strategically significant locations in its 2,372 acre land bank.

ABP is owned in large part by a consortium of pensions and sovereign funds, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) at 33.88% ownership, OMERS at 30%, Singapore’s GIC Ventures Pte Ltd at 20.00% ownership, and the Kuwait Investment Authority at 10.00% ownership. Large institutional investors such as sovereign funds, pensions, and endowments have slowly increased allocation towards infrastructure over the past six years as an alternative to equities and bonds, according to asset allocation data from SWFI.

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