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Is Blockchain Stealing Heart from Asset Managers?

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Even as financial regulators try to get a grasp on digital currencies, financial institutions everywhere have been furiously debating whether to get in on the cryptocraze that has engulfed markets and headlines over the past few months.

While widespread adoption is still a long way out, some of the biggest names in asset management and financial policy – including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Wellington Management, and Fidelity Investments – have indicated recently that they’re getting serious about cryptocurrencies and the game-changing implications of the blockchain technology that undergirds them.

Goldman Responds to Client Requests for Crypto Clearing

Goldman Sachs & Co. may be poised to act as an intermediary on crypto transactions, after receiving requests from clients to facilitate clearing. In a call this past January addressing the company’s disappointing performance for the fourth quarter of 2017, chief financial officer Martin Chavez told shareholders that blockchain’s importance as a driver of innovation would only grow in the coming years.

“So, on the back of our clients asking us, will you offer clearing in these contracts, well, we’re in that business of client facilitation,” he said, adding,” And so we want to respond to those client requests, and we have. And we’re in also the business of being careful with our shareholders’ capital, and so we’re doing that with extreme prudence and caution as we learn.”

In February, payments company Circle, which has backing from Goldman Sachs and Baidu Inc., acquired Poloniex, a U.S. cryptocurrency exchange.

BlackRock’s Chief Strategist Sees “Disruptive Potential” in Blockchain

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BlackRock Contemplates Stake in Eurizon

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Asset management giant BlackRock is contemplating purchasing a 30% ownership stake in Intesa SanPaolo’s asset management unit called Eurizon Capital SGR S.p.A. BlackRock is keen on growing its technology business and increase market adoption of its Aladdin platform.

Intesa has been working with UBS to seek out strategic options for Eurizon. Intesa is keen on maintaining control over Eurizon.

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SWFI First Read, June 22, 2018

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JPMorgan Fund Buys 40% of Oxford Properties’ French Portfolio

A fund advised by JP Morgan Asset Management committed €400 million in Oxford Properties’ French portfolio. Essentially, Oxford Properties sold a 49.9% non-managing interest in 32 Rue Blanche, 92 Avenue de France and Paris Bastille. Oxford Properties made its maiden investment in Paris in 2014 when it acquired 32 Rue Blanche.

Oxford Properties is the real estate unit of OMERS.

Temasek Explores Further Cash Commitments to FirstCry

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DOL Fiduciary Role is Struck Down by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

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The U.S. Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, confirmed a March 15th decision to strike down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule. The fiduciary rule is a series of seven different rules that broadly interpret the term “investment advice fiduciary” and redefine exemptions to provisions concerning fiduciaries that appear in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision by a Dallas federal court that had upheld the DOL fiduciary rule.

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