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S&P Dow Jones Indices Launch Smart Beta ESG Index

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Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and factor-based investing are two themes gaining traction among institutional investors. Pension investors like APG incorporate ESG into its investment criteria and process. On March 30th, S&P Dow Jones Indices launched a smart beta ESG index. The DJSI Ethical Europe Low Volatility Index combines two investment themes into a singular index. The DJSI Ethical Europe Low Volatility Index will measure the performance of the 50 least volatile stocks within the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index. The index will exclude alcohol, tobacco, gambling, armaments and firearms and the Adult Entertainment Index.

Sovereign wealth funds like the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) are prohibited from investing in alcohol and gambling stocks, and given the interest in factor-based investing, it could attract both Gulf sovereign funds and Dutch pensions. Furthermore, sovereign funds like the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) believe ESG factors are material in achieving large investment returns – according to reports.

S&P Dow Jones Indices has licensed the index to Commerzbank AG.

DOJ Investing Tesla Over Musk Comments

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a fraud investigation over Tesla as its CEO Elon Musk made public statements on twitter. This is a criminal probe. In addition, earlier, SWFI reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting a civil inquiry into Elon Musk regarding his statements.

This all surrounds Musk tweeting in August that he was thinking of taking Tesla private and had “funding secured” for the transaction. Both government authorities are seeing if Musk misled investors and violated federal securities laws with his public statements.

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Marsh & McLennan Companies to Acquire JLT Group

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Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in risk, strategy and people, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc (JLT), a provider of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. The transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors of each of MMC and JLT. JLT’s largest shareholder, Jardine Matheson Holdings, and JLT directors who collectively represent 40.5% of the issued and outstanding JLT shares in support of the transaction.

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Indigo Ag Raises Series E Round

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Indigo Ag, Inc. raised US$ 250 million in a Series E funding round. The company is focused on creating innovative microbial products that increase crop yields in the face of environmental, disease, and pest stress. The investors in this round include Baillie Gifford, Investment Corporation of Dubai, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, and the company’s founder, Flagship Pioneering. After the Series E, in total, Indigo has raised over US$ 650 million.

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