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Flash Boys Hero Wins, Wealth Funds Rejoice

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On Friday June 17th, IEX Group Inc., the company founded by Brad Katsuyama, won SEC approval to run a U.S. stock exchange. IEX will be the 13th U.S. national stock exchange certified by the SEC. Before the approval, IEX ran as an alternative trading system. IEX garnered additional fame when it was included in Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”

IEX is unique in terms of exchanges in that it proposed a “speed bump” to reduce trading speed to their exchange by 350 microseconds – effectively limiting the power of high frequency traders to beat out the competition. The mechanics by which the exchange works is actually very basic: a coil of fiber-optic cable which increases the distance the information needs to travel to the exchange.

“We thank sovereign and domestic funds for the broad support they have provided throughout this process, which demonstrates that we are providing real value for the long-term investors that the markets are meant to serve. Getting approval as an exchange gives these investors and the millions of beneficiaries they represent an important new choice that puts their interests front and center,” John Ramsay, Chief Market Policy Officer at IEX commented to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI).

Sovereign wealth funds, which own large portfolios of listed equities, are eager to work with platforms like IEX given their concerns with high-frequency trading (HFI). For example, in a comment letter to the SEC, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the manager of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund stated, “We would expect that the ‘speed bump’ as well as other proposed features of IEX, such as the relative simplicity of available order types, would mitigate the potential for such rent extraction.”

Other SEC comment letters weren’t as glowing for IEX. For example, exchange rival New York Stock Exchange stated, “IEX advertises that it is ‘A Fair, Simple, Transparent Market,’ whereas it proposes rules that would make IEX an unfair, complex and opaque exchange.” For now, it appears that the investors’ words were more compelling to SEC officials.

Background on Brad

Brad Katsuyama interned at RBC Capital Markets in the late 1990s, eventually becoming full-time in 2001. Katsuyama eventually become global head of electronic sales and trading at RBC. He left in 2012 to form IEX Group.

SWFI First Read, May 25, 2018

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MedInvestGroup Pushes Investment into Russian High-Tech Oncology Centers

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Mubadala Investment Company have attracted MedInvestGroup, which manages a network of the PET Technology regional oncology and radiological centers, as a strategic investor in the joint management and development of a network of cancer diagnosis and treatment centers. The deal aims to significantly improve the efficiency of the already functional centers in Podolsk and Balashikha. The corresponding agreement was announced today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Southern Satellite City and RDIF Reach a Financing Agreement

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French Industrial Giants Find Opportunity with RDIF

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A number of French industrial companies continue to invest within Russia, finding opportunities within the mega country. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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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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