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Sovereign Funds Pursue Insurance Companies

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Warren Buffet likes insurance companies. In general, insurance companies generate money through premiums and sometimes investment returns. Sovereign wealth funds are keen on investing in insurance companies that have resilient balance sheets and monopolistic positions in various insurance markets.

Investing in an Asian insurance company provides the possibilities of high returns, since most parts of Asia, ex-Japan are still building up their insurance industries. Mature insurance markets like in the United States offer less of a high equity investment return.

Back in 2010, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) committed about US$ 1 billion to the AIA Group Ltd’s initial public offering (IPO). Other public investors participated in the IPO. AIA Group is a major Asian life insurer which was part of the American International Group Inc. In 2011, the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore joined in with investors including Goldman Sachs to purchase AXA’s stake in Chinese insurer Taikang Life Insurance.

AIA Group Limited

Fiscal Year 2011 – Total Assets by Geographic Segment Billions USD
Hong Kong 28.03
Thailand 21.52
Singapore 23.216
Malaysia 7.613
China 8.85
Korea 9.827
Other Markets 11.068
Total Assets 110.124

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Japan’s GPIF Awards Nissay Asset Management with ESG Disclosure Mandate

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Increasingly asset owners across the Asia-Pacific region are studying the impacts of environmental, social, and governance factors on listed companies. As more Japanese pensions augment asset allocation to listed equities, the importance of corporate non-financial disclosures and practices becomes clear. These disclosures can have a material impression on company stock prices. In addition, Japanʼs Stewardship Code and Corporate Governance Code in 2014 and 2015 were launched, respectively. These codes helped the (environmental, social, and governance) ESG concept gain momentum in Japan.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the largest public pension fund in the world, awarded a research mandate to Nissay Asset Management Corporation. The mandate entails studying ESG disclosures. The study will conduct a comparable analysis on ESG standards and practices, while taking into account input from both investors and companies. With around US$ 110.5 billion in assets under management, Nissay Asset Management is owned by Japanese life insurance giant Nippon Life Insurance Company.

As GPIF boosted its allocation to domestic equities, the asset owner took a deeper look into the impact of ESG on equity investing. GPIF is keen on improving efficiencies in Japan’s capital markets. GPIF is a universal owner of stocks, similar in some aspects to what Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) does.

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Norges Bank Real Estate Management Buys Central Paris Property

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Norges Bank Real Estate Management, the real estate unit of Norges Bank Investment Management (oversees Norway Global Pension Fund Global), has signed an agreement to acquire a 100 percent interest in an office property located on 54-56 rue la Boétie in central Paris.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Schlumberger Gets Closer to Eurasia Drilling Company

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Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and American oilfield services giant Schlumberger (SLB) have planned a deal to invest in Russia’s Eurasia Drilling Company Limited. RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev made the announcement. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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