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Coaker Named CIO of San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System

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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.

Atlas Merchant Capital and GIC Scoop Up Stake in Ascensus

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Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited acquired just under a 25% equity stake in Dresher, Pennsylvania-based Ascensus, the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. San Francisco Genstar Capital LLC and New York-based Aquiline Capital Partners LLC were the sellers of the shares in Ascensus and will maintain control over the company.

Atlas Merchant Capital LLC was founded by Bob Diamond and David Schamis. Diamond is the former group chief executive of Barclays plc.

GIC is an investor in Alight Solutions, a provider of human capital solutions.

Advisors

Barclays acted as the lead financial advisor and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Ascensus in connection with this transaction. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to Ascensus.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal counsel to Atlas Merchant Capital and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to GIC.

In 2015, JC Flowers sold Ascensus to Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners.

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The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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This article is sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

How much should a portfolio manager be willing to pay for research? The question is of importance to any manager, but has become particularly pertinent since newly imposed European rules require that the costs of investment research—previously offered by many investment banks as an in-kind consideration in return for brokerage business—be unbundled from trading.

Unfortunately, attempts to determine a fair value for research in the most general circumstances are doomed to fail. Even if we only consider direct recommendations to buy or sell certain securities, the value of such recommendations to a portfolio manager will vary according to the absolute size of positions taken in response. Instead, we provide a framework for estimating relative research values across markets and constituents, under certain stylized (but reasonable) assumptions.

REPORT: The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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Khazanah to Scale Back International Investments, Preps 2019 Dividend

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Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad is prepping to declare more than 1 billion MYR in a dividend payout to the Malaysian government for 2019. Khazanah Nasional is undergoing a significant strategy shift to focus more on domestic assets, while selling off venture tech investments, overseas real estate, fund investments, and other non-strategic assets. The wealth fund also plans to scale back its overseas presence in markets such as San Francisco and London.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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