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Sovereign Funds Weary of European Infrastructure Risk

Owning European infrastructure can be a profitable venture for institutional investors like pensions and sovereign funds. However regulatory risk can hamper returns, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of sovereign wealth funds, pensions, and infrastructure funds. On January 10th, London’s Heathrow Airport, regulated by UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, was mandated to cap prices it can levy from airlines from April 2014. The British aviation regulator said prices must be 1.5% below the retail prices index – a far greater price cap than originally proposed. Heathrow officials contend the regulator’s assumptions and forecasts are aggressive. Airlines like Virgin Atlantic Airways praised the ruling, mentioning that there was a need to lessen the steep rise in customer prices in Heathrow.

Investors in Heathrow, through investment holding vehicles, include Spanish giant Ferrovial S.A., GIC Special Investments (a subsidiary of GIC Private Limited), Qatar Holding LLC and the China Investment Corporation perceive the levy caps as draconian.

Across to Norway

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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.

Plans

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