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Iran’s President Allocates US$ 500 Million from NDFI for Rail Leasing

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Iran President Hassan Rouhani has approved the transfer of US$ 500 million from the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI), one of the Islamic Republic’s sovereign wealth funds, for the creation of a rail leasing company that will provide financing to local investors in the country’s rail projects. Preparations for the company’s launch are expected to be completed by the end of Iran’s fiscal year – March 20, 2018 – according to Nourollah Beiranvand, Deputy Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways.

The state-owned railway company has been moving to attract outside investment in the wake of sanctions relief granted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – also known as the Iran nuclear deal – which went into effect in January of 2016. Approximately 30% of its locomotive fleet has been transferred to private investors, with €28 billion worth of projects aimed at revamping Iran’s railway system expected to be completed within the next five years.

Stronger Russian Ties

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GIC Sells Arizona Biltmore to Blackstone

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Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, part of the Blackstone Group, acquired the 740-room Arizona Biltmore hotel, located in Phoenix, for US$ 403.4 million. The deal closed on April 20, 2018.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Mubadala Acquires Stake in Growing Hedge Fund Phoenician Capital

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Mubadala Investment Company, through its unit Mubadala Capital, purchased a minority stake Phoenician Capital, LLC. Although terms and size of the deal were not disclosed, the agreement grants Mubadala Capital rights to invest in a fund managed by the New York-based firm, which generated respective returns of 40.8% and 33.0% in 2016 and 2017, against benchmarks of 12.0% and 21.8% for the S&P 500. The hedge fund runs the Phoenician Offshore Fund Ltd.

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Large Asset Managers Continue to Move Operations Out of California

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In the 2010s, Fisher Investments, an investment firm run by Ken Fisher, moved a large number of employees from the Woodside and San Mateo campuses to a town called Camas in Washington, near Portland. Vanguard has a large operational presence in Arizona, while Charles Schwab Corporation has expanded its technology operations and client services in places like Denver, Dallas, Austin and Phoenix. Dimensional Fund Advisors moved its headquarters in 2008 from Santa Monica, California to Austin.

While asset managers reap profits and try to lower employee head count costs, looking to fly-over country seems appealing.

The Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), part of the Allianz family, selected Austin, Texas as its new office to hire more client services and technology talent. The PIMCO Austin office will open later in 2018. PIMCO is headquartered in Newport Beach, California, with an office in New York City.

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