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CPPIB Targets 33% in Emerging Markets by 2025

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) generated a net return after expenses and pension contributions of 11.6% for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, versus its reference portfolio of 9.8%. For the reported fiscal year, CPPIB grew its net assets to a new high of C$ 356.1 billion (US$ 277.2 billion), compared to C$ 316.7 from the year previous.

Mark Machin, President and Chief Executive Officer at CPPIB, attributed the performance to the rising tide in public equity markets across most geographies, whose volatility in recent months was buoyed by significant fourth quarter earnings in the fund’s private holdings. Public and private equities, CPPIB’s first and third largest asset classes by exposure at 38.8% and 20.3%, saw estimated returns of 11.4% and 16.1%, respectively. Machin joined CPPIB in 2012 and was moved to the top in June 2016, following the departure of Mark Wiseman. Machin has a knack for the Asian region, being CPPIB’s first president for Asia and also spent nearly 20 years in Asia, working at Goldman Sachs. CPPIB plans to continue heavily investing in the APAC region, along with India.

Emerging Markets

“By 2025, we will invest up to a third of the Fund in emerging markets, which by that time are anticipated to account for 47% of global GDP,” said Machin in his section of the annual report outlining the pension’s updated strategic plan. CPPIB currently has C$ 56.1 billion invested in emerging markets, C$ 22.4 billion of which is wrapped up in China.

Foreign and emerging markets continued to dominate in CPPIB’s private equity investments with returns of 16.0% and 19.5%, compared to 1.8% for their Canadian counterparts. Asia was a standout market for the pensioner, which raised its exposure to private equity deals in the region by nearly 28% from C$ 13.4 billion to 17.1 billion, closed six direct investments worth C$ 1.6 billion, committed C$ 1.7 billion towards eight funds, and completed three secondary transactions for C$ 400 million.

With 275 global transactions completed over the fiscal year, CPPIB’s geographic exposure places 15.1% of its assets at home in Canada, 37.9% in the neighboring United States, 13.2% in continental Europe, 5.6% in the United Kingdom, 3.1% in Australia, and a whopping 20.4% in Asia.

Public Equities

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Maiden Lane I Ends, Federal Reserve Aims to Shrink Balance Sheet

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The U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been set to decline automatically since 2017, as the central bank has been liquidating funds from its US$ 4 trillion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. As holdings matured, the Fed refrained from reinvesting them. This amounts to US$ 40 billion in monetary tightening monthly. Meanwhile, interest rates have slowly, and continuously, risen. The maturation of these Fed assets could exert upward pressure on long-term yields.

Mortgage rates, applications, and home sales have been falling, likely due to the rising rates. While rates are still historically low, U.S. President Trump has criticized the rate hikes. However, the Fed has no interest in changing course, and rates are set to continue to rise. According to Fed meeting minutes, “The Chairman suggested that the Committee would likely resume a discussion of operating frameworks in the fall.”

The size and content of the Fed balance sheet going forward will be a point of discussion for Chairman Jerome Powell. While there is no end in sight for the Fed’s plans to tighten economic policy, changing conditions may warrant further examination. With the U.S. stock market thriving, there is no indication that tightening has had a material impact on the economy. However, conventional wisdom asserts that the Fed will raise rates “until something breaks.” Market commentators have also suggested that, in the event of an emergency, the Fed will have a harder time stepping in due to the size of its balance sheet. A large part of the Fed’s monetary strategy is based around communications, and Fed-watchers have made a habit of hanging on every word. The Fed announced a shrinking balance sheet well in advance, and made gradual moves in that direction. The process has been smooth thus far. The Fed’s tightening will reach its peak, US$ 50 billion, in October. It is unclear exactly how much stimulus is still needed in the economy to reach the Fed’s 2% inflation target. The Fed’s easing policies have been criticized for the lopsided benefits they provided, more for Wall Street than Main Street. However, the easing will reduce their role in the market.

The End of Maiden Lane I

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QIA Gets a New CEO

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Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Thani exited as CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed as minister of state by Amiri Order No. (4) of 2018.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud is appointed as the new CEO of QIA. He held positions in various organizations such as CEO of Qatar Development Bank and worked at Qatar Museums.

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SWFI First Read, September 19, 2018

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QIA Eyes Investment in Chinese Lender Lufax

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in talks about a possible investment into Shanghai-based Lufax, one of China’s largest online lenders. The seller of the possible stake is China’s Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. Lufax’s official name is Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. Ltd.

Wealth Funds Back Hotpot Giant

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