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Dodd-Frank Ups Probability in Increased Swap Margin Requirements for SWFs

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The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is now a U.S. federal statute and signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama.  Now that the law is in place, U.S. agencies such as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Reserve Board are drafting proposals under newly minted regulatory powers, especially in the area of swap margin requirements and classifying swap participants.  Counterparty risk cannot be understated and it furthered the slogan “too big to fail”.  The agencies are proposing to include sovereign funds as “financial end users” or “financial entities”.  If this proposal passes, this will increase their margin requirements, essentially mandating sovereign wealth funds to pledge their assets to back American financial institutions.   This brings further issues to light, since some sovereign funds may need legislative or committee action to enlarge the amount of pledged assets to meet margin calls.  There is also political risk that foreign governments might counteract by providing similar legislation against the U.S. government.

Under the proposal, they state:

“The Commission notes that these types of sovereign counterparties do not fit easily into the proposed rule’s categories of financial and nonfinancial entities. In comparing the characteristics of sovereign counterparties with those of financial and nonfinancial entities, the Commission preliminarily believes that the financial condition of a sovereign will tend to be closely linked with the financial condition of its domestic banking system, through common effects of the business cycle on both government finances and bank losses, as well as through the safety net that many sovereigns provide to banks.

Such a tight link with the health of its domestic banking system, and by extension with the broader global financial system, makes a sovereign counterparty similar to a financial entity both in the nature of the systemic risk and the risk to the safety and soundness of the covered swap entity. As a result, the Commission preliminarily believes that sovereign counterparties should be treated as financial entities for purposes of the proposed rule’s margin requirements.”

Source: U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission

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Andrew Claerhout Leaves OTPP

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Andrew J. Claerhout exited the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). He was Senior Managing Director of Infrastructure and Natural Resources. His responsibilities included overseeing a swath of infrastructure acquisitions and asset management globally, along with investments in oil and gas, agriculture (avocados for example), timberlands and other resource sectors. Clearehout joined OTPP back in 2005.

Taking his spot in the interim is Dale Burgess, Managing Director, Latin America, at OTPP.

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PwC Sells US Public Sector Practice to Veritas Capital

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) inked a deal to sell its U.S. public sector business unit to Veritas Capital Fund Management, L.L.C., a private equity firm. Post-deal, the business unit will be renamed and run as a separate company. PwC’s public sector business services U.S. federal government clients such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and the State Department. The business unit also services local and state U.S. governments.

For the moment, Veritas Capital seeks to keep the current management in place.

Advisors

PwC was advised by Morgan Stanley. Davis Polk & Wardwell advised PwC. Veritas Capital was advised by law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.

Veritas Capital’s Activities

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HNA Sells 1.2% Stake in Hedged Investment in Deutsche Bank

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Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. sold off roughly a 1.2% stake in Deutsche Bank AG for around €300 million (US$ 374 million), reducing ownership down to 8.8%. HNA Group held the bank shareholding through Vienna-based asset manager C-Quadrat Investments AG, in which, HNA is a majority owner in. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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