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Ireland’s NPRF and CIC Team Up for Technology Growth Capital Fund

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IrelandIreland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) and the China Investment Corporation (CIC) announced the creation of the China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund, a US$ 100 million vehicle. The fund will received equal commitments from both the NPRF and the CIC on behalf of WestSummit Capital, a technology growth capital investor. In March 2012, the deal was reached through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), when Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny visited China.

The bilateral investment fund will target technology companies in Ireland that have a strategic interest or substantial presence in China. To the flipside, the fund will target Chinese firms that have a substantial presence or strategic interest in establishing a presence in Ireland to use as an entrance to Europe. Some of these targeted sectors include clean technology, semiconductors, software, internet, financial services and medical.

The China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund will be co-managed by WestSummit Capital and Atlantic Bridge, another technology growth capital investor.

The Silicon Isle

Microsoft, Intel, Facebook and Google all have operations in Ireland helping to foster a technology ecosystem in Ireland. More than 105,000 people in Ireland are employed in the technology sector, contributing to a major portion of gross domestic product. Domestic Irish technology companies are slowly growing facing challenges as name brand tech players have deeper pockets to attract engineers and programmers. On January 19, Silicon Valley heavyweight Hewlett Packard announced a new research and development centre in Galway. This will add up to 150 engineering jobs.

On January 17th, at the press conference, National Pensions Reserve Fund Chairman Paul Carty said: “China is now Ireland’s largest Asian trading partner as a result of strong bilateral trade growth in recent years. The NPRF is very pleased to partner with CIC in the Fund, which will aim to assist Irish companies in accessing the Chinese market and facilitate investment in Ireland by expanding Chinese companies.”

Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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