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Norway’s SWF Posts 2.7% Return for 2015

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Yngve Slyngstad

Yngve Slyngstad

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) returned 2.7%, or 334 billion NOK, in 2015. Real estate was the best performing asset class at 10%. The wealth fund’s allocation to real estate moved up to 3.1% of assets. Norway’s GPFG also opened offices for real estate in Tokyo and Singapore. Equity investments returned 3.8%, while fixed income investments posted 0.3% in returns. At year-end 2015, the fund had a market value of 7,475 billion NOK.

View Sovereign Wealth Fund Profile of Norway’s GPFG

In a press release statement, Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) commented, “2015 was a volatile year, with negative interest rates, currency turmoil, falling oil prices and weaker growth expectations for emerging markets. We have seen fluctuations in the fund’s return from quarter to quarter, but overall a satisfying result.”

Slyngstad addressed media, commenting that Norway’s sovereign fund has not been a part of the global selloff of listed equities this quarter. Some of the wealth fund’s largest listed equity holdings at year-end December 2015 were Nestle, Apple, Roche Holding, Novartis, Alphabet (formerly Google), Microsoft, BlackRock and HSBC Holdings.

Comments on Brexit

On another note, according to a Reuters interview with Yngve Slyngstad, he mentioned if Britain left the European Union it would not be a significant risk to its investments. Slyngstad said in the interview, “We will continue to be a significant investor in the UK at about the same level as we are today and probably even increasing our investments there going forward no matter what happens.”

DENIED: Bank of England Refuses to Release Venezuelan Gold

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“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

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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

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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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