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Influence of the Future Fund

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According to the Australian, “Future Fund boss Paul Costello has performed well in his three years at the helm but still seems blissfully unaware of the fund’s impact on the stockmarket. In a luncheon address at the Melbourne Financial Services Symposium, Costello noted some of the recent weakness in Telstra’s stock price was sheeted back to the fact that the fund is now free to sell more its 11 per cent stake in the company.

He added: “I frankly doubt that.”

Granted he wouldn’t be the only reason with uncertainty over federal government regulation and the fact the company has gone ex-growth being more to the point, but one assumes the Future Fund holding would add to the negative pall hanging over the stock. Then there was last year’s disclosure that the fund was considering joining Canadian Pension Plan and Ontario Teachers proposed bid for Transurban.

Costello confided he made the disclosure because there was media comment he might join a rival bid and wanted to set the record straight but added any further comment remained the responsibility of either Transurban or the Canadians. Having broken his silence in a situation which would compel few other companies to speak up, one might think Costello could explain where he sits now especially after Transurban couldn’t find the Fund’s name on its share register given it is behind an HSBC nominee.

That aside the fund is travelling well with financial year-to-date returns of 9 per cent, well ahead of its mandate to achieve CPI plus 4.5 per cent.

Costello also flagged a move into timber investments and said it would release some time soon a guide to just how it voted its Australian shares now it has taken corporate governance issues in house. Separately, amid concern expressed by Lend Lease chair David Crawford that some funds were outsourcing their voting obligations by using advice from Risk Metrics et al, Costello said the funds took advice from various parties on its voting.”

read more: The Australian

Saudi Aramco and PIF See Opportunities in Russia

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is currently exploring opportunities within Russia. PIF is working with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on a number of fronts. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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HNA Group Aims to Shrink and Sell

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Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is on a selling spree due to an order from the government in Beijing to scale back on debt. HNA Group joins Anbang Insurance Group and Dalian Wanda Group in deleveraging from global assets, particularly in hotels and real estate. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Central Bank of Hungary Buys Mounds of Gold

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In October, the Central Bank of Hungary (MNB) boosted its gold reserves by 10 times, from 3.1 tons to 31.5 tons. This was revealed on October 16, 2018. The gold acquired by the central bank in October has a holding value of US$ 1.24 billion.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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