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LEAGUE TABLES: Goldman Sachs Takes the Iron Throne for 2016



SWFI_LeagueTables_CY2016_Jan2017_cover-sqThe Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), through its proprietary database, tracks direct transactions by sovereign wealth funds, pensions and other public funds. The database has a bias toward equity, real estate and infrastructure transactions and a much lower emphasis on bond deals. Combining all public investors, for calendar year 2016, transactions amounted to US$ 205.25 billion versus US$ 237.18 billion in 2015. 2015 ended up being a record year for public investor direct investments. When it comes to sovereign wealth funds, the 2016 transaction figure amounted to US$ 96.31 billion versus US$ 120.76 billion in 2015. 2016 follows the trend of a three-year decline in direct sovereign investor transactions from 2013. To be clear, 2013 was an outlier sovereign wealth fund direct transaction year, with a bias toward Norway’s Government Pension Global Fund (GPFG) acquiring many open market positions in listed equities. In addition, sovereign wealth funds expanded direct investments into the United States in 2016 by closing at US$ 30.39 billion versus US$ 24.58 billion in 2015. Drastic drops in direct transactions by sovereign investors incurred in major markets such as China and the United Kingdom.

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The report details trends on direct deals, sectors and countries.

Top Financial Advisors for 2016

For 2016, Goldman Sachs reclaimed the iron throne as the number one financial advisor for public investor direct transactions. Morgan Stanley, which placed #1 in 2015, plummeted to fifth place in 2016. JPMorgan, another financial advisor which placed #1 in 2015, dropped to #3 in 2016. Taking second place in 2016 was Credit Suisse. Other notable mentions for the year are CBRE, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Eastdil Secured and HSBC.

Legal Advisors

For calendar year 2016, the top legal advisor for public fund transactions was Linklaters, displacing the previous top contenders, Clifford Chance and Torys. Torys did not even rank in the top four for 2016. Clifford Chance fell to third in 2016, being tied with Weil Gotshal & Manges and White & Case. Tied for second place are Kirkland & Ellis and Herbert Smith Freehills.

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Source: SWFI – Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database –, January 16, 2017

DENIED: Bank of England Refuses to Release Venezuelan Gold



“Whoever has the gold makes the rules,” the King famously said in 1964’s comic strip, The Wizard of Id. England is proving the old truism to be accurate. Keynes’ “barbarous relic” is showing tremendous staying power in a world awash in cryptocurrencies and virtual wealth.

Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands have all repatriated gold reserves in recent years, and they can now count Venezuela among the countries attempting to do the same. Venezuela’s government made the decision to repatriate 14 tons of gold bars on the heels of U.S. sanctions. The custodian, the Bank of England, has refused to release the gold, worth a total sum of US$ 550 million, to Caracas. The British are citing anti-money laundering regulations. The specific concern is that Nicolas Maduro may personally seize the gold and use it for personal gain. Washington’s new rules for Venezuela target the country’s gold exports, based on reports of Maduro spending the country’s current precious metals illegally. Venezuela’s economy collapsed when oil revenue plunged. Supplies of food, medicine, and consumer staples were affected. Shortages and hyperinflation have resulted.

National Security Advisor to the United States, John Bolton, labeled Venezuela a member of a “troika of tyranny,” along with Cuba and Nicaragua. Bolton railed against the “triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua.” He called it “the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” Cuba has been accused of assisting the Maduro government. “The Cuban military and intelligence agencies must not disproportionately profit from the United States, its people, its travelers, or its businesses,” Bolton declared. For its part, Nicaragua is in hot water due to a violent crisis that sprung up when President Daniel Ortega announced that there would be changes coming to Nicaragua’s social security system. The U.S. is pushing for free elections.

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RDIF and Makara Capital form Technology Company Investment Joint Venture



The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Singapore-based Makara Capital, a specialist in transaction financing and asset management, signed a deal to form a US$ 200 million joint investment platform to finance breakthrough innovative projects in Russia and Asia. Ali Ijaz Ahmad, the CEO of Makara Capital, is a board director of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). Ali Ijaz Ahmad served as an adviser to Morgan Stanley and The Carlyle Group. He also had stints at the World bank and Goldman Sachs. Makara Capital was founded in 2005 as a joint venture with Credit Suisse AG and made independent by its founding partners in 2008.

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SVB Financial Group to Acquire Leerink Holdings



Linking Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area in the world of pharmaceuticals, SVB Financial Group (SVB) announced that it has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Leerink Holdings LLC, the Boston-based parent company of Leerink Partners LLC, an investment bank focused on the healthcare and life science industries. Jeffrey A. Leerink formed Leerink in 1995. Santa Clara, California-based SVB Financial Group is the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank. SVB is big into life sciences and provides services to many healthcare companies and startups.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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