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Michael Maduell – A Reflection on 2014



2014 marks another fascinating, yet optimistic year in the interconnected world of asset owners. We have witnessed assets under management of sovereign wealth funds break the US$ 7 trillion mark. At the same time, global prices of oil have changed direction, China has surpassed the United States in gross domestic production and Bill Gross left PIMCO. The last list item was a veritable goldmine for asset management reporters!

Economic Issues Facing the United States

The United States demonstrates economic growth, but the prosperity is not shared by all. According to Janet Yellen, Fed Chair, income inequality in the United States is near its highest levels of the past 100 years. According to BLS statistics, young American men ages 16 to 24 had a 70.5% labor participation rate in 1992 compared to a staggering 56.5% in 2012. Furthermore, there is a decline in new businesses, a massive student debt bubble, all while America faces an aging, crumbling infrastructure. Small businesses don’t have the same access to special tax breaks given by government, stuck with higher regulatory burdens and faced with limited lending options.

More Coverage and More Events

2014 was a milestone year for the Institute, or shall I say SWFI. The team at the SWFI has worked remarkably hard to deliver the best value for our clients. We have broadened our coverage on asset owners to include additional public funds: afores, superannuation funds and more overseas pensions. Our SWFI membership program continues to thrive, attracting new and diverse organizations – trumping our 2013 member count. On the event side, we hosted a record number of 4 events, with two bespoke conferences in Turkey and Australia.

Institute Fund Summit Europe 2014, October 27, Smart Beta Panel.  Pictured: (L-R) Michael Maduell, SWFI, Mark Sodergren, Northern Trust, Luciano Siracusano, WisdomTree, Riti Samanta, SSgA, Simon Lansdorp, Robeco.

Institute Fund Summit Europe 2014, October 27, Smart Beta Panel. Pictured: (L-R) Michael Maduell, SWFI, Mark Sodergren, Northern Trust, Luciano Siracusano, WisdomTree, Riti Samanta, SSgA, Simon Lansdorp, Robeco.


We hope to see you at our events in 2015. Our team will be heading down to Miami Beach as we partner with the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) to host an asset owner forum. In Miami, our delegates will hear from successful investment executives who manage billions, policymakers and asset owners who dole out billions. Then we head to Seoul in late April.

We have also conducted a number of initiatives such as bespoke research projects. Our most notable was Smart Beta: A Referential Guide for Institutional Investors, which tracked the adoption of smart beta strategies among large asset owners such as sovereign wealth funds, pensions, central banks and other funds.

Successful Subscription Model

We have rapidly grown our subscriber base and modified the way we offer our services to clients. We have migrated to the corporate/organization license model to better service our clients, increase penetration and ease of access. SWFI staff has increased coverage to well over 100 institutional investors, tracked over 14,000 direct transactions and inked a record number of stories for 2014 – leading to us reaching the highest levels of web traffic ever…

Lastly, using feedback from our clients, we launched SWFI Compass in 2014. This business intelligence tool gives our clients a leading edge in finding RFPs, searches and opportunities in the opaque world of asset owners. Just wait for what we have installed for 2015!

Happy investing,

Michael Maduell

The views in this article are expressed by Michael Maduell.
Michael Maduell is President of the SWFI.

White House Nominates Heath Tarbert for CFTC Chairman



The White House announced Heath P. Tarbert will be nominated to serve as Commissioner and Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Tarbert currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Treasury Department. Before joining the U.S. Treasury, Tarbert was a Partner at law firm Allen & Overy. Tarbert was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for his current Treasury post at 87 (yes) to 8 (no).

Upon Senate confirmation, Tarbert’s CFTC term would start on April 14, 2019 and last for five years. Tarbert is taking over from J. Christopher Giancarlo whose term ends in April 2019. Tarbert will need a U.S. Senate confirmation to take the head CFTC post.

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KIA Could Sell Stake in North Sea Energy Business



The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), through its unit Wren House Investment Management, is nearing a deal to sell a 40% stake in its North Sea energy business to JPMorgan Asset Management. In July 2018, KIA closed on a deal to acquire oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners from ArcLight Capital.

More details to follow –

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Pensioenfonds PGB Hires BMO Global for Equity Protection Strategy



Pensioenfonds PGB is a Dutch multi-sector pension fund. PGB awarded a mandate to implement a protection strategy for its €12 billion equity portfolio to BMO Global Asset Management. PGB is a €26.5 billion fund. PGB has been using BMO Global’s responsible engagement overlay since 2017.

The Chief Investment Officer of PGB is Harold Clijsen.

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