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Could Norway’s Sovereign Fund be a Vanguard for Corporate Governance

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Yngve Slyngstad

Yngve Slyngstad

Endowed with immense oil wealth, Norway’s gigantic sovereign wealth fund is a major owner of public stocks. Being a prominent owner of European equities, the sovereign fund has gradually increased their clout in corporate governance. In the second quarter of 2013, the sovereign fund voted in 6,078 general meetings as well as 239 shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has the potential to greatly influence the corporate governance market in Europe – possibly China as well. China is an investment market in which the GPFG wants to allocate more to.

As asset owners grow, the expectation in participating in active corporate governance increase.

Active ownership has been championed by many massively-sized public investors such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). Public funds continue to rally for changes such as separating chairman and chief executive officer roles. In May, CalPERS tried to corral fellow institutional investors in JPMorgan Chase & Co. to split Jamie Dimon’s dual role. It was unsuccessful. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Google Fined Big Time by EU Regarding Antitrust Violations

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The European Union (EU), through its competition commissioner, levied a €4.34 billion fine against Alphabet Inc., the owner of Google. The fine is over Google having “imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search,” according to the European Commission (EC).

The European Commission is requiring Alphabet to cease from its conduct that it is accused of within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a press release, “Today, mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans. Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

The EC press release added, “In particular, Google: 1. has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store); 2. made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and 3. has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).”

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Mubadala, RCIF and UFC Agree to Form UFC Russia Joint Venture

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Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) is taking its UFC brand into Russia. Endeavor is financially-backed by investors such as Silver Lake Partners, CPPIB, KKR and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited. The global talent agency company inked a deal with the Russia-China Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company (UAE) to form a platform to focus on the development and expansion of UFC’s mixed martial arts (MMA) business in Russia and CIS countries. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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ValueCAP CEO Steps Down at End of July

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ValueCAP’s CEO, Sharifatu Laila Syed Ali, is stepping down at the end of July 2018. She has a 16-year tenure at ValueCAP (Valuecap Sdn. Bhd.), joining the company in 2002. She is being replaced by Rosalina Rahman. Expected to be joining ValueCAP in August, Rahman is currently a Managing Director of Amundi Asset Management’s Malaysia unit. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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