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OMERS to Sell Fund Commitments to AXA Private Equity

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According to the press release, “OMERS Private Equity Inc., the private equity arm of the OMERS Worldwide group of companies, and AXA Private Equity today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement in connection with the sale by OMERS to AXA Private Equity of a portfolio of 11 private equity fund investments, and the related unfunded commitments. The portfolio of entirely buyout funds, in aggregate, represents a total size of approximately US$850 million in original commitments, in predominantly North American and Global funds.

Paul Renaud, Chief Executive Officer, OMERS Private Equity, said: “This transaction is consistent with OMERS strategic shift towards direct investing.”

Following on from AXA Private Equity’s US$1.7 billion acquisition of private equity assets from Citigroup in June 2011, and its US$740 million acquisition of private equity assets from Barclays in June 2011, this latest transaction continues the firm’s secondary funds strategy to offer liquidity to large institutions looking to monetize their private equity investments.

Benoit Verbrugghe, Senior Managing Director and Head of North America for AXA Private Equity said: “This is a large and significant transaction where we have excellent visibility on the assets, especially given that we are an existing investor in many of the funds.”

“Having an international team with global reach gives us excellent perspective on pricing and quality, allowing us to be opportunistic on behalf of our investors and reinforce our strategy of buying excellent quality assets,” continued Mr. Verbrugghe. ‘It enables us to deliver a global solution to the seller in an efficient and discreet manner.'”

Read more: OMERS Press Release

Maiden Lane I Ends, Federal Reserve Aims to Shrink Balance Sheet

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The U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been set to decline automatically since 2017, as the central bank has been liquidating funds from its US$ 4 trillion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. As holdings matured, the Fed refrained from reinvesting them. This amounts to US$ 40 billion in monetary tightening monthly. Meanwhile, interest rates have slowly, and continuously, risen. The maturation of these Fed assets could exert upward pressure on long-term yields.

Mortgage rates, applications, and home sales have been falling, likely due to the rising rates. While rates are still historically low, U.S. President Trump has criticized the rate hikes. However, the Fed has no interest in changing course, and rates are set to continue to rise. According to Fed meeting minutes, “The Chairman suggested that the Committee would likely resume a discussion of operating frameworks in the fall.”

The size and content of the Fed balance sheet going forward will be a point of discussion for Chairman Jerome Powell. While there is no end in sight for the Fed’s plans to tighten economic policy, changing conditions may warrant further examination. With the U.S. stock market thriving, there is no indication that tightening has had a material impact on the economy. However, conventional wisdom asserts that the Fed will raise rates “until something breaks.” Market commentators have also suggested that, in the event of an emergency, the Fed will have a harder time stepping in due to the size of its balance sheet. A large part of the Fed’s monetary strategy is based around communications, and Fed-watchers have made a habit of hanging on every word. The Fed announced a shrinking balance sheet well in advance, and made gradual moves in that direction. The process has been smooth thus far. The Fed’s tightening will reach its peak, US$ 50 billion, in October. It is unclear exactly how much stimulus is still needed in the economy to reach the Fed’s 2% inflation target. The Fed’s easing policies have been criticized for the lopsided benefits they provided, more for Wall Street than Main Street. However, the easing will reduce their role in the market.

The End of Maiden Lane I

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QIA Gets a New CEO

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Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Thani exited as CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed as minister of state by Amiri Order No. (4) of 2018.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud is appointed as the new CEO of QIA. He held positions in various organizations such as CEO of Qatar Development Bank and worked at Qatar Museums.

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SWFI First Read, September 19, 2018

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QIA Eyes Investment in Chinese Lender Lufax

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in talks about a possible investment into Shanghai-based Lufax, one of China’s largest online lenders. The seller of the possible stake is China’s Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. Lufax’s official name is Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. Ltd.

Wealth Funds Back Hotpot Giant

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