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Friday SWFI News Roundup, December 30, 2016

BIG DEAL: RBI Approves Fairfax Financial’s Bid to Buy Domestic Indian Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. ‘s bid to acquire a 51% ownership stake in Thrissur, Kerala-based Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd. This is a milestone deal because this is the first time the RBI allowed an overseas investor to acquire a majority stake in a domestic bank. Catholic Syrian Bank was founded in November 1920. At the end of March 2016, Catholic Syrian Bank had 156.5 billion INR in assets.

Hans Tietmeyer Dies at Age of 85

Hans Tietmeyer was the head of Germany’s Bundesbank from October 1993 to 1999, known as the “high priest of the D-Mark”. He was the last president of the central bank presiding under the Deutsche Mark before the move to the euro currency. Tietmeyer had joined Bundesbank in 1990. Tietmeyer passed at the age of 85 on December 27, 2016.

Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Invests in New Shares of Green & Smart Holdings

On December 20, 2016, Green & Smart Holdings plc, a renewable energy company generating power from biogas captured through the treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) in Malaysia, has raised about 6 million MYR (£1.14 million) through the issue of new ordinary shares, totaling 10,761,367 shares, to Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Sdn Bhd. Malaysian Technology Development Corporation is a sovereign wealth enterprise (SWE) of Khazanah Nasional and is in charge of promoting the adoption of technologies by local companies via commercialization of research & development or acquisition of foreign technologies. The new shares were issued at an effective price per share equivalent to approximately 10.62 pence. Following admission, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation will hold 19,476,367 shares in Green & Smart Holdings, amounting to 6.78% of the enlarged issued share capital of Green & Smart Holdings.

Qatar Airways Bags 10% Stake in LATAM Airlines Group

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NZ Super Resumes Government Contributions

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super) has resumed receiving contributions from the New Zealand government in the face of rising obligations as an increasing proportion of the country’s population approaches retirement. According to a statement released by the fund’s managing Board of Guardians, the government plans on investing US$ 5.3 billion into NZ Super between now and June of 2022, with the first payment scheduled for December 15, 2017.

Policymakers believe the resumption of government contributions, which were halted in July of 2009, is expected to ease the burden on the country’s current taxpayers and future generations. Withdrawals from NZ Super are expected to peak in 2078, at which point the fund will be covering 12.8% of New Zealand’s pension obligations. The new wave of contributions will initially be invested in passive, low cost equity and bond investments, according to Catherine Savage, Chair of the Guardians.

Recent Performance & Leadership Change

NZ Super has enjoyed one of its best annual performances since its founding in 2001, with a reported return of 20.7% before tax for a 12-month trailing period ended June 30, 2017, up 5 billion NZD (US$ 3.6 billion) compared to 2016. NZ Super generated 21.85% annual return in its global equities, developed market portfolio, according to its 2017 annual report.

NZ Super faces a changing of leadership in the coming year with the exit of chief executive Adrian Orr, who will leave the Fund officially in March of 2018 to serve a five-year term as Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Mr. Orr has earned a spot numerous times in the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute’s Public Investor 100 annual ranking over the years, most recently in 2017 at #3.

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iZettle Raises US$ 47 Million in Series E, Prepares for 2018 Listing

Card transaction platform iZettle AB has raised another US$ 47 million in Series E funding, this time with new backing from Sweden’s AP4 and early-stage venture capital firm Dawn Capital. Previous investors in the Stockholm-based payments business include American Express, MasterCard, Intel, and Spain’s Santander Group. With US$ 235 million in equity to date, iZettle is quickly approaching an estimated valuation of US$ 1 billion.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Concerns Raised at Potential BlackRock Takeover of CalPERS’ Private Equity

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has been analyzing options on what to do with its massive US$ 26 billion private equity program. The pension system has embraced the mantra of reducing cost, reducing complexity and reducing risk, the hallmark of its program called “INVO 2020”. CalPERS also wants less, but more strategic relationships with external money managers. At one point, CalPERS was contemplating increasing its direct investment staff to model Canadian pension funds such as Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), OMERS and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension plan. The pendulum has begun to swing the other way as reported earlier by SWFI research staff.

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