According to our proprietary Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, in 2013, sovereign wealth funds completed 1,883 direct transactions with a total value of US$ 66.05 billion, an increase US$ 1.38 billion from 2012. The number of direct transactions grew by 53.8% from 2012 and tripled the number of transactions compared to 2011. Emboldened sovereign funds amplified direct investments in a number of countries including Germany, Australia and China.
Direct Sovereign Wealth Fund Transactions by Year – Billions USD
Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database
This reflects that larger sovereign wealth funds are investing directly into assets such as bonds, stocks, real estate and even infrastructure. In general, sovereign funds have had the augmented capabilities to attract talent to improve internal operations and deal sourcing. Another interpretation is that sovereign funds are investing frequently, but in lower deal amounts. One explanation is that through 2007-2009, sovereign funds bailed out financial institutions, domestic governments and bet big on large industrial companies.
Popular Sectors for Direct Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment
The real estate sector dominated 2013, with over US$ 17.5 billion recorded in direct sovereign wealth fund transactions. This was followed by the financial sector at around US$ 11 billion and the materials sector at approximately US$ 9.2 billion.
Top 5 Sectors for 2013 – Direct Sovereign Fund Transactions
|Utilities and Infrastructure||8%|
Institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which works primarily on behalf of pension funds and insurance plans, is opening a new fund dedicated to Québec businesses that specialize in AI, or artificial intelligence. Available funds are slated at US$ 250 million for the enterprise. The commercialization of AI seems to be a natural fit for CDPQ, “Since Montréal is emerging as a global beacon of excellence in artificial intelligence, we need to enhance our offering and ramp up the financial and development support we provide AI businesses through the various stages of their growth,” according to Executive Vice President of Quebec and Global Strategy, Charles Émond. Émond aspires to see AI spread throughout “all sectors of our economy.” The AI fund will be run by CDPQ’s Venture Capital and Technology team. They will look for companies that are already doing well in the sector.
Another program is targeting early stage organizations. Mila Quebec AI Institute, a research and development organization founded by three universities, is building a new complex to help facilitate CDPQ’s goals. The new complex will house early-stage AI companies. CDPQ is especially interested in companies that can accelerate their growth and enter markets quickly, providing speedy returns. There is a social component, whereby companies will be required to contribute to Mila. Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ, noted, “With this partnership, la Caisse is pursuing its commitment to helping Québec businesses in this new economy thrive and expand.”
Keywords: Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Glasgow-based Aggreko plc, a listed company that provides power, heating and cooling, signed a deal to cooperate on the development of microgrids. The parties plan to invest in the construction of facilities that will provide uninterrupted power supply and temperature control to industrial enterprises and utilities in the Russian regions. Aggreko operates one of its 6 global hubs in Tyumen, Western Siberia, through an entity called Aggreko Evraziya, OOO. In 2017, Aggreko plc acquired Younicos, a company specialized in the development of modular batteries and Microgrids control solutions.
The worst fears of the Federal Reserve may be coming true. The barbarous relic is once again offering some resistance to Fed policy as it maintains its uptrend from mid-November, and is being snapped up from central banks worldwide. Former Fed chairman Paul Volcker shared the central bank view that “Gold was the enemy.” If so, the enemy is gaining ground. China’s gold reserves quietly grew from December 2018 to February 2019. The People’s Bank of China disclosed in February 2019 that it increased its gold reserves by 10 tonnes that month, following purchases of 11.8 tonnes in January 2019, and 9.95 tonnes in December 2018. Goldman Sachs has listed central bank purchasing as the reason for the uptrend. Goldman Sachs expects to see gold at US$ 1,400 over the next six months, which would lift it well above its long-held resistance at US$ 1,350. China’s gold holdings are now US$ 79.5 billion. China, which is emphasizing diversification from the U.S. dollar, has been a fan of precious metals for years, and it has been encouraging its citizens to purchase gold and silver for a decade, when previous controls on precious metals were done away with. Now anyone in China can trade gold internationally with the swipe of a card.
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