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Governance and Santiago Principles Take Center Stage in Doha

Doha, Qatar’s capital city ripe with petrol wealth and ambitions of diversification whether it be tourism, housing, entertainment, insurance or retail, is home to a massive sovereign wealth fund called the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Under the previous and current Qatari emirs, gargantuan developments like The Pearl, Katara and infrastructure related to the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, has enhanced Qatar’s image to international businesses.

In November, Doha hosted the IFSWF’s sixth conference. The IFSWF focuses on the Santiago Principles, a set of guidelines drafted by sovereign funds and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to address concerns that sovereign funds are not influenced by politics, but rather have a commercial basis when it comes to investing. SWFI’s President Michael Maduell attended the event. On November 20, members of the IFSWF signed “The Doha Agreement,” to form the IFSWF as an independent entity from the IMF. In addition, the IFSWF has determined that central banks will not become IFSWF members.

Qatar PM Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Speaking at IFSWF Doha Conference - November 20, 2014

Qatar PM Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Speaking at IFSWF Doha Conference – November 20, 2014

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani gave a speech, talking about developments in Qatar. The Qatar Investment Authority’s CEO Ahmad Al-Sayed, who ranked #25 on the Public Investor 100 for 2014, said the QIA’s investment policies will not be altered by the recent decline in global oil prices. In addition, Al-Sayed said the QIA has long-term plans to invest US$ 15 to US$ 20 billion in Asia over the next few years.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Institutional Investors Remain Skeptical as Bitcoin Continues to Rise

Bitcoin has continued to rally over the past month – hitting a record US$ 8,224 in the early hours of November 20 – and institutional investors are beginning to take notice of the cryptocurrency’s increasing popularity. With a market value of more than US$ 130 billion, the digital currency has seen unprecedented growth of over 700% over the past year. But Bitcoin’s rise has also been marked by a number of volatile slumps, leaving institutional investors divided over its durability as a long-term store of value and wondering whether to get in on the action. Despite these headwinds, more than 100 hedge funds have been formed to trade in digital currencies.

Split Consensus on Wall Street

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3 Reasons Why Other Sovereign Funds Will Not Dump Oil Stocks

Norges Bank informed the country’s ministry of finance to recommend the wealth fund to remove oil and gas listed equities from the fund’s benchmark index. The central bank came to the conclusion that Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) would be less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil prices if the wealth fund was not invested in oil and gas listed equities. For some academics there are arguments that wealth funds should diversify away from their sources of wealth. Contradictory studies have demonstrated that wealth funds should support industries that enhance the country’s sources of wealth. For example, earlier on, Norway’s fossil fuel wealth was buoyed by increased capital investment to the oil sector to increase output, a pre-cursor to the wealth fund’s explosive growth.

1. Stock Performance
For some sovereign investors, investments in master limited partnership in oil and gas have been strong driver of returns, or even in smaller fossil fuel listed companies. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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GIC Financially Backs Innovation Precinct Project in Melbourne

Singapore’s GIC Private Limited acquired a majority interest in a joint project located in Melbourne, Australia. The joint project is between Sydney-based Lendlease, Australia-based Urbanest and GIC. In 2014, the project was labeled Carlton Connect Initiative with the goal of being an innovation hub.

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