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Influence of the Future Fund



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

Mubadala Invests in No Fly Zone Drone Radar Company



Data Collective led a US$ 15 million Series A round into Salt Lake City-based Fortem Technologies, Inc., a company that works on solutions that can detect, identify and classify drones in real time to maintain airspace safety. Other investors in the round include Boeing, Mubadala Investment Company, Manifest Growth, New Ground Ventures and Signia Venture Partners.

Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Mubadala Ventures said in the press release, ” Mubadala is excited to work with Fortem and its outstanding leadership team to help grow its business to new markets.”

Ajami added, “We strongly believe the TrueView radar is essential to maintain a safe airspace for both the aircraft and the critical infrastructure on the ground.”

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Ireland and China to Open New €150 Milllion Joint Tech Fund



The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and CIC Capital Corporation – a sovereign wealth enterprise (SWE) of the China Investment Corporation – announced the formation of a joint €150 million fund targeting high-growth Irish technology firms looking to expand into Chinese markets, as well as a special emphasis on Chinese companies hoping to set up shop in Ireland as a base for their European operations.

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How ESG Considerations Can Drive Voting at the Board Level



The Council of Institutional Investor’s spring conference for 2018 – held this week in Washington D.C. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel – was packed with member-hosted panels, where nearly 400 of the top investment professional, regulators, and corporate governance experts gathered together to share their insights and engage in forward-looking discussions on how to drive a multi-stakeholder approach to responsible investment over the long-term.

Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI) had the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions, including one presented by Maryland-based Institutional Shareholder Services that sought to address one of the most pressing challenges facing institutional investors today: How can environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria help drive voting at the board level? Moderated by Georgina Marshall, Head of Global Research at ISS, panelists provided a diverse array of perspectives on how to harness ESG considerations as an effective decision-making tool.

Player-Coach Model

For Bonnie Saynay, Global Head of Responsible Investments at Invesco, fostering an environment conducive to communication with investment teams using a “player-coach” model is critical. Moreover, Saynay warned investors of thinking too broadly on ESG considerations, and to instead focus in on the criteria that is most important to them as an organization, and to then tailor their stewardship practices to match those priorities: “If everything is important, nothing is important,” she said.

Clare Payne, head of corporate governance for North America at Legal & General Investment Management, highlighted the importance of procuring the latest ranking data from a number of different providers, as well as how to develop one’s own internal system for scoring so as to cut through the clutter and provide a contextualized framework for making investment decisions on your own terms.

Remuneration is the name of the game for Robbie Miles, Vice President and ESG analyst at Allianz Global Investors. Amid the ever broadening scope of influence that responsible investment commands, Miles urged attendees to work with their managers on mandates that link compensation to the long-term performance of the fund, as well as long-term holding periods.

Wrapping up the panel was Stu Dalheim, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Calvert Research Management, advocated for diversity at the board level across a number of different metrics – including ethnicity, gender, and professional backgrounds – in order to reflect the reality of their client base, as well as provide an apparatus for robust debate and adaptation in an ever-changing business environment.

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