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Norway’s SWF Has Exposure to Pharma Linked to Opioid Overdose Drug Gouging

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Despite its otherwise strong social stances on equity investments, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) continues to hold financial interests in drug companies that are linked to entities that have raised the price of life saving medical treatments by high percentages in short periods of time.

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Norway’s GPFG has taken a robust stance against companies that are involved in coal, gross corruption and questionable labor practices like Wal-Mart Stores, but have thus far remained silent on the sometimes eyebrow raising tactics of the global pharmaceutical industry. The Norwegian sovereign investor usually takes a stand by excluding these investments from its portfolio, while other Occidental public fund investors try to influence the company’s board of directors. Should the sovereign wealth fund be concerned about investing in companies that engage in the price gouging of life-saving drugs?

Norway’s GPFG must follow what The Council on Ethics prescribes when it comes to investing. The council advises the fund on whether specific investments are inconsistent with the fund’s ethical guidelines. Under Section (3) sub-number (6), the Council on Ethics says that companies can be put under observation, under watch or excluded for “other particularly serious violations of fundamental ethical norms,” according to its website.

U.S. Opioid Epidemic

The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. According to the U.S. CDC, 18,893 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdoses versus 10,574 from heroin in 2014. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Reuters Pension Fund Finalizes Buy-in with Canada Life

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U.K. corporate pensions continue to derisk by selling off risk to insurance entities. The Reuters Pension Fund is based in Sheffield, United Kingdom. The corporate pension fund insured £625 million in liabilities through a buy-in with Canada Life Financial Corporation. This was the largest risk transfer deal conducted by Canada Life.

Law firm Sacker & Partners advised on the risk transfer, while investment consultant Redington advised.

The Reuters Pension Fund has £2.3 billion in assets. Greg Meekings is the chairman of trustees for the Reuters Pension Fund.

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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Hire its First Chief Investment Officer

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The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) hired its first chief investment officer. The US$ 10 billion philanthropic vehicle hired David Lee to be its CIO. The search process was conducted by New York-based recruiting firm David Barrett Partners. Lee spent the last eight years working at Princeton University’s endowment – holding the managing director position as his final station. Lee got his MBA at Yale University.

According to the CZI press release, “In this role, Lee will be responsible for managing an investment portfolio that will grow the organization’s ability to fund its efforts across its three core Initiatives – Science, Education and Justice & Opportunity. CZI is a new kind of philanthropic organization that pairs engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy and advocacy work, in order to help build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.”

Lee will report to an investment committee which is led by Yale University CIO David Swensen. Other investment committee members of CZI include Lei Zhang, Founder and CEO of Hillhouse Capital; Matt Cohler, General Partner of venture capital firm Benchmark; and Carter Simonds, a former Managing Director of Blue Ridge Capital – a hedge fund investor.

Photo Credit: CZI

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Saudi Arabia Sends Second Installment of Aid to Pakistan

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On December 14, 2018, Pakistan received its second installment of the US$ 3 billion in aid promised from Saudi Arabia on October 23, 2018. The US$ 1 billion given on December 14th boosted the foreign reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan, which went from US$ 7.2 billion to US$ 8.2 billion. The first installment was given on November 23, 2018. The last installment is expected to occur in January 2019.

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