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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. ]

UK PM Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Deal is Defeated in House of Commons

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U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May lost a key vote on her Brexit plans by 230 votes in the House of Commons. The vote was 432 to 202 to reject the deal. Approximately 118 Conservative MPs voted with the opposition parties against May’s deal. A large number of Conservative party members view May’s deal with Europe as a “sell-out” to the ideals of Brexit. She also faced opposition from Conservative members who were always against Brexit.

Politicians from different political parties rejected May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement. Despite the loss, May informed lawmakers that she wanted to demonstrate to U.K. voters that it was her “duty to deliver” on Brexit.

Last, may confirmed she would give time to debate the no-confidence motion pushed by Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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Saudi Arabia Forges Ahead on Forming Entertainment Complex in Riyadh

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Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with plans to create a mega entertainment complex in Riyadh. Specific dollar amounts have not been disclosed. The entertainment center follows investments in “Amaala,” a tourist destination along the Red Sea, and NEOM, the new planned economic zone, which is also a tourist destination. The investment is part of a broader push to diversify the oil-based economy. The planned complex is 100,000 square meters, and will be developed by the Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company, which is a subsidiary of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, or Public Investment Fund. The Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company goes by the acronym SEVEN. The location will host sports, performances, high-end local and international restaurants, and movie cinemas. SEVEN has proven to be an innovative force, opening Saudi Arabia’s first cinema in nearly four decades, after establishing a partnership with AMC to do so. Abdullah bin Nasser Al Dawoud is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at SEVEN. The companies are seeking other outside investors as well.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Blackstone Taps Former General Atlantic Executive for New Growth Equity Platform

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The Blackstone Group is prepping to augment its new growth equity investment platform, as public asset owners clamor for such vehicles. Blackstone hired Jonathan (Jon) Korngold to be senior managing director of the firm’s new growth equity platform. Korngold will join Blackstone in February 2019.

Previously, Korngold was a Managing Director at General Atlantic, a private equity firm that focuses on growth equity investments. He spent 18 years at General Atlantic, sourcing and executing billions of dollars of growth equity investments across the technology services, enterprise software, healthcare, financial services, and consumer sectors.

At General Atlantic, Paul Stamas (based out of New York), and Aaron Goldman (based out of London), will assume Jon Korngold’s duties at General Atlantic. General Atlantic started out as the captive investment team of Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Charles F. Feeney, a co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers Group.

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