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Sovereign Wealth Funds Have an Active First Quarter 2015

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CORRECTION – April 29, 2015: GIC invested in the TCW Direct Lending Fund and did not take a stake in the firm TCW.

With recent noteworthy deals of sovereign wealth funds buying up massive real estate assets such as Norway’s SWF deal with Prologis on acquiring KTR Capital for US$ 5.9 billion or the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s role in allocating to Spotify’s latest round, wealth funds continue to exhibit a greater role in direct investments. Some notable first quarter deals in 2015 include the Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) role in buying the remaining portion of the Porta Nuova Development in Milan. The QIA, through Qatar Holding, bet big on the monumental urban rejuvenation development. Another colossal real estate deal in the first quarter 2015 is the China Investment Corporation (CIC) partnering with LaSalle Investment Management in acquiring the Meguro Gajoen complex in Tokyo for approximately 140 billion yen. This deal highlights sovereign wealth funds’ expanding appetite for Tokyo properties. Other sovereign wealth funds, such as Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) have indicated a deep desire for Japanese office properties for its portfolio. Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the manager of Norway’s GPFG, went so far to put up job postings for Asian real estate specialists.

Direct Sovereign Wealth Fund Transactions – Quarterly Comparison

sovereign wealth fund deals
Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, Billions USD

This quarterly 10% increase from 2014 to 2015 demonstrates sovereign wealth funds slightly engaging in larger and more frequent direct transactions.

Sovereign Wealth Funds Direct Deals Up 10% from 1Q 2014

According to SWFI’s proprietary Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction database, excluding fund commitments, sovereign wealth funds so far have invested in US$ 22.85 billion in direct transactions for the first quarter 2015. This is compared to US$ 20.76 billion in the first quarter of 2014. This 10% quarterly increase from 2014 to 2015 demonstrates sovereign wealth funds slightly engaging in larger and more frequent direct transactions.

Sovereign Wealth Funds Hit the Venture Capital Trail

Sovereign wealth funds like Temasek Holdings have made strides becoming the latest investor class to have an impact in the world of venture investing. Even funds like QIA investing in Uber, a taxi technology service, shocked traditional asset managers. In the first quarter of 2015, Temasek lead a Series D round for Palo Alto-based Pluribus Networks. Temasek also invested in startups like Jet.com, an e-commerce company. Trying to tackle all parts of the venture investing spectrum, Temasek purchased SVB Financial Group’s finance business focused on venture debt in India for around US$ 46.4 million.

SWFI First Read, June 22, 2018

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JPMorgan Fund Buys 40% of Oxford Properties’ French Portfolio

A fund advised by JP Morgan Asset Management committed €400 million in Oxford Properties’ French portfolio. Essentially, Oxford Properties sold a 49.9% non-managing interest in 32 Rue Blanche, 92 Avenue de France and Paris Bastille. Oxford Properties made its maiden investment in Paris in 2014 when it acquired 32 Rue Blanche.

Oxford Properties is the real estate unit of OMERS.

Temasek Explores Further Cash Commitments to FirstCry

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DOL Fiduciary Role is Struck Down by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

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The U.S. Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, confirmed a March 15th decision to strike down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule. The fiduciary rule is a series of seven different rules that broadly interpret the term “investment advice fiduciary” and redefine exemptions to provisions concerning fiduciaries that appear in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision by a Dallas federal court that had upheld the DOL fiduciary rule.

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Supreme Court Ruling on Online Shoppers Sales Tax Could Impact SWF Investing

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In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. states could mandate online shoppers to pay sales tax when they make online purchases. This new ruling overturns a ruling from 1992.

Sovereign wealth funds directly invested at least US$ 9 billion in internet-related retail businesses from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018, according to SWFI transaction data. This is not counting fund commitments or funds invested. Sovereign funds have been plowing capital into online mega giants such as Amazon and Expedia, while spending big on e-commerce startups in the United States.

“Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States. These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause,” Justice Anthony Kennedy penned in an opinion joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Neil Gorsuch.

“Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades,” the National Retail Federation said in a statement.

Already a number of U.S. states enacted laws mandating online marketplaces to collect sales taxes on behalf of third-party sellers.

The case is South Dakota v. Wayfair, 17-494.

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