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Commission Rejects Oil Stock Divestment for Norway’s SWF

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Pushing back on political pressure, a government-appointed commission rejected a move to have Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to drop oil and gas investments from its trillion dollar investment portfolio. Could it be because oil prices are rising again? The commission believed that a less diverse investment strategy would harm the sovereign fund’s returns. The sovereign investor has billions, some US$ 40 billion in stocks, linked to oil-related investments including holdings in Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Total, and Royal Dutch Shell.

The commission said, “A sale of energy stocks would challenge the current investment strategy of the fund, with broad diversification of the investments and a high threshold for exclusion.”

Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is funded by oil and gas resources, thus some argue the sovereign fund should not invest in fossil fuel-related investments.
Øystein Thøgersen is head of the appointed commission, commenting that the fund’s current investment strategy was “simple, well founded and has served the fund well.”

The Norwegian government will make a final decision in the coming months on the move to possible divest from oil and gas investments for Norway’s GPFG.

SWFI First Read, September 21, 2018

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U.S. Public Becomes More Aware that Gmail Scans Emails

Alphabet is a major stock holding for sovereign wealth funds and large pensions. Search giant Google is under fire for allowing third-party partners and companies, like Return Path Inc and other advertisers, to share data from Gmail accounts. Many experts and tech observers already knew this, but more people in the public are becoming aware of Google’s practices when it comes to privacy. Google disclosed in a letter to U.S. lawmakers this finding. The Wall Street Journal reported that in some instances, app companies were able to read people’s emails in order to improve their algorithms. In 2017, Google said they would stop scanning all of one’s Gmail messages for the goal of personalized ads.

GPIF Infrastructure Exposure Almost Reached 200 Billion Yen in March 2018

Japan Government Pension Investment Fund’s (GPIF) exposure to infrastructure real estate was 196.8 billion JPY at the end of March 2018. At that period, 57% of the exposure was to the UK, 15% was to Australia, 15% to Sweden, 10% to Spain and 3% to Finland. 21% of GPIF’s infrastructure portfolio was linked to airports versus 27% to ports.

AIMCo-backed sPower Closes $498.7 Million Bond Deal

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Iceland Contemplates a Sovereign Wealth Fund

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The Government of Iceland is looking to possibly form a sovereign wealth fund to stabilize the country from unforeseen shocks to the national economy. The Iceland government released a statement saying, “The state’s contributions to the Fund will be equivalent to new revenues from publicly owned power production companies which are expected to accrue in the coming years.”

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CBRE Global Wins First GPIF Global Real Estate Mandate

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Japan Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) awarded its first global real estate mandate by hiring CBRE Global Investment Partners Limited. This is a global core real estate fund-of-funds separate account. Overseeing this mandate as a gatekeeper is Asset Management One Co., Ltd., which is a unit of Mizuho Financial Group. This RFP was launched in April 2017.

CBRE Global Investment Partners is the multi-manager arm of CBRE Global Investors.

In addition, on August 8, 2018, GPIF hired two custodians for short-term investments. These custodians are Trust & Custody Services Bank, Ltd and The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Ltd.

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