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Could Russian Government Opt for Some Cryptocurrencies over Treasuries?

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The problem with fiat money is that it is backed by governments and countries, subject to the whims of policymakers versus a tangible item like gold. Russia has sold nearly US$ 100 billion worth of Treasury bills, bought gold, yuan, and other non-U.S. dollar currencies, and saved a significant allocation that may be earmarked for Bitcoin. These moves are intended to help Russia evade U.S. sanctions. Vladislav Ginko, an economist at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, noted that the government is working to “protect its national interests” since fewer U.S. dollars are expected to flow into the country in exchange for oil and gas. Ginko estimates the crypto investment at US$ 10 billion. If enacted, Bitcoin could spike on the purchase. Purchases could begin at any time. The Central Bank of Russia has not yet discussed its intentions. However, six months after making any financial transactions, the bank publishes them. If Russia were to carry out the plan, it would swallow over 15 % of the world’s Bitcoin.

Financial technology companies continue to built out platforms to service institutional clients. For example, San Francisco-based Anchorage, cryptocurrency custody service, raised US$ 17 million in a Series A round that was led by Andreessen Horowitz and joined by Khosla Ventures, Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal), Elad Gil, Mark McCombe of Blackrock (Senior Managing Director, Head of the Americas region), and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant.

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China’s Central Bank Creates Macro-Prudential Management Bureau

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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) created a new department to oversee and attempt to eliminate financial risks to the system. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Like its U.S. Peers, Legg Mason Seeks to Trim Costs

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Legg Mason Inc., a Baltimore-based asset manager, has announced a reduction in workforce as is prepares to streamline operations and save money. Legg Mason’s leadership commented that assets under management fell 5 % year-on-year. Legg Mason currently manages US$ 727.2 billion (as of December 31, 2018), which is down from the previous US$ 767.2 billion. CEO Joseph A. Sullivan noted that a global operating platform will centralize fund administration, IT, and other departments that work with affiliates. Sullivan did not discuss the number of layoffs expected, or specify which areas would be impacted. Legg Mason disclosed they planned to close a quarter of its exchange-traded funds in March 2019. These three ETFs include a U.S. strategy, emerging markets, and a developed markets strategy outside the U.S. However, these funds run around US$ 28 million in assets under management.

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Monetary Authority of Singapore Establishes Corporate Governance Advisory Committee

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On February 12, 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) revealed the creation of a Corporate Governance Advisory Committee (CGAC). CGAC was formed to advocate for good corporate governance practices among listed companies in Singapore. Bobby Chin, Director of Singapore Telecommunications Limited, will be the Chair of CGAC. According to a MAS press release, “CGAC will identify current and potential risks to the quality of corporate governance in Singapore.”

MAS formed the Corporate Governance Council (Council) in February 2017. The Council was dissolved after it pushed out a publication of its final recommendations on August 6, 2018.

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