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Facing $5 Billion in Paper Loss, GIC Converts UBS Notes

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund converted its UBS notes into ordinary shares, getting hit with a paper loss of approximately US$ 5 billion. The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation allocated 11 billion CHF (US$ 10.22 billion) in mandatory convertible notes in UBS AG. The investment was used to support the Swiss financial giant during the global financial crisis.

The GIC is facing significant reputational risk among its peers and the Singapore public.

The GIC believed in the franchise value of UBS. GIC officials are hoping its investments in these global financial institutions play out. The GIC is facing significant reputational risk among its peers and the Singapore public.

A filing through the SEC in April displayed the original conversion price would be 47.7 CHF, two-thirds more than UBS’s last share price of 15.86 CHF. Singapore’s GIC earned nearly 2 billion CHF from a 9% coupon over the last 2 years. This partially compensated the sovereign wealth fund for the deep dive of the share price of UBS.

GIC had earned about 2 billion francs from a 9 percent coupon over the last two years, which partially compensated for the sharp erosion in UBS’ share price.

Asian Sovereign Funds Not Slowing Down on Tech Investing

According to data from SWFI’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, Asian sovereign funds invested US$ 6.05 billion directly into companies and assets in the information technology sector from Jan 2017 to November 22, 2017. In a comparable time frame from Jan 2016 to November 22, 2016, this same group of Asian sovereign funds directly invested US$ 5.02 billion in the sector. These are direct investments, not fund commitments or manager allocations.

Asian sovereign funds such as GIC Private Limited, Temasek Holdings and the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) have demonstrated bullish signals to the technology community over other sectors. GIC and Temasek have also been major investors in the private side of deals, funding a wide range of tech startups, while providing financial firepower in buyout transactions.

Some notable direct tech investments in 2017 by sovereign funds include Meituan-Dianping, SoundCloud, Nets A/S, Visma AS, Turn, Inc. and Vantiv.

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Future Fund Makes a Guardian Out of Former J.P. Morgan ANZ Chair

The Australian government has appointed Robert Priestley – current non-executive chair of J.P Morgan for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and a non-executive director of ASX – to serve on the Future Fund Board of Guardians for a five-year term from November 7, 2017. Priestley replaces former Morgan Stanley Australia chief executive Steven J. Harker.

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Associated British Ports Reboots Property Development Arm to Capitalize on Land Bank

Associated British Ports (ABP) – operator of 21 major ports throughout the United Kingdom – has announced a reboot of its ABP Property division, complete with a new team of specialists in commercial development and logistics led by Huw Turner, in order to identify and develop strategically significant locations in its 2,372 acre land bank.

ABP is owned in large part by a consortium of pensions and sovereign funds, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) at 33.88% ownership, OMERS at 30%, Singapore’s GIC Ventures Pte Ltd at 20.00% ownership, and the Kuwait Investment Authority at 10.00% ownership. Large institutional investors such as sovereign funds, pensions, and endowments have slowly increased allocation towards infrastructure over the past six years as an alternative to equities and bonds, according to asset allocation data from SWFI.

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