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GIC and UNITE Group plc Extend Joint Venture

Sovereign wealth funds can be a patient source of capital for property development firms in metropolitan markets. Student housing in central London continues to attract banks and foreign investors. By creating joint ventures, sovereign investors assist real estate development firms lessen debt impact on their balance sheets, enabling financial flexibility. There are risks to investing in student housing. Demographics, government policy, and fruitful marketing by UK universities impact the potential number of students. Two major risk inputs are the number of students needing housing and current supply in the property market.

The UNITE Group plc and GIC Real Estate, the real estate arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation announced an extension of their existing joint venture called UNITE Capital Cities. Starting in March 2005, UNITE Capital Cities was created to develop new properties and focus on capital intensive projects in the United Kingdom student housing sector. The UNITE Capital Cities portfolio holds a portfolio of 15 properties located in London and Edinburgh valued at over £385 million. UNITE Group has a 30% holding interest in UNITE Capital Cities, with GIC RE holding the remaining 70%.

The UNITE Capital Cities joint venture is being extended from March 2013 to September 2012.

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RCIF Stake Sale in Children’s Retailer Detsky Mir Blocked By Courts

A joint offering of shares of in Detsky Mir by by the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) and Sistema was blocked by a Russian court at the request of state-controlled oil company Rosneft. Sistema’s 50% stake in the company was frozen as part of the injunction, which also froze its holdings in other companies, including MTS-Bank, and Sistema Telecom Assets, according to Russian News Agency TASS. Sistema is currently the target of a number of lawsuits by Rosneft’s owner, oil magnate Igor Sechin.

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SWFI First Read, December 16, 2017

Facebook Concedes that Using FaceBook Could be Bad for Consumers

David Ginsberg is Facebook’s director of research. Moira Burke is a computational social psychologist on the Data Science team at Facebook since early 2012. They published a post on Facebook entailing the impact the social network has on peoples’ moods. According to the December 15, 2017 blog post titled “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?”, they commented that, “University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.”

The post adds, “A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey. Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.”

UBS Asset Management Wins Colonial First State Australian REIT Mandate

Sydney-based Colonial First State awarded an approximate A$ 170 million sub-advisory mandate to UBS Asset Management to oversee an Australian real estate investment trust strategy, essentially 50% of the FirstChoice Property Securities fund. The previous advisor of the mandate, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, was terminated.

State Street Global Advisors Names Betty Ng as MD and COO of Asia ex-Japan

State Street Global Advisors hired Betty Ng as managing director and chief operating officer for Asia ex-Japan. This is a new position. Betty Ng started effective December 11, 2017. She will report to June Wong, the company’s senior managing director and head of Asia ex-Japan.

Before this role, Betty Ng was General Manager of Private Wealth Management at the Agricultural Bank of China in Hong Kong.

Kroger to Exit from Central States Pension Fund

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Umirzak Shukeyev Exits Samruk-Kazyna, Promoted as Deputy Prime Minister

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed Umirzak Shukeyev as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture. Umirzak Shukeyev exited as Chief Executive Officer of Samruk-Kazyna. No interim leader has been named for Samruk-Kazyna.

Samruk-Kazyna is in the midst of floating a number of state-owned companies such as Air Astana and JSC National Atomic Company Kazatomprom.

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