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SWFI First Read, December 16, 2017

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Facebook Concedes that Using FaceBook Could be Bad for Consumers

David Ginsberg is Facebook’s director of research. Moira Burke is a computational social psychologist on the Data Science team at Facebook since early 2012. They published a post on Facebook entailing the impact the social network has on peoples’ moods. According to the December 15, 2017 blog post titled “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?”, they commented that, “University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.”

The post adds, “A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey. Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.”

UBS Asset Management Wins Colonial First State Australian REIT Mandate

Sydney-based Colonial First State awarded an approximate A$ 170 million sub-advisory mandate to UBS Asset Management to oversee an Australian real estate investment trust strategy, essentially 50% of the FirstChoice Property Securities fund. The previous advisor of the mandate, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, was terminated.

State Street Global Advisors Names Betty Ng as MD and COO of Asia ex-Japan

State Street Global Advisors hired Betty Ng as managing director and chief operating officer for Asia ex-Japan. This is a new position. Betty Ng started effective December 11, 2017. She will report to June Wong, the company’s senior managing director and head of Asia ex-Japan.

Before this role, Betty Ng was General Manager of Private Wealth Management at the Agricultural Bank of China in Hong Kong.

Kroger to Exit from Central States Pension Fund

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Chuck Grassley Leaves Judiciary for Senate Finance Chair

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, age 85, is leaving the Senate Judiciary Committee as chair. He will become Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee next year. The Iowa Republican has served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee since January 2015. Chuck Grassley served as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee in 2001 and from 2003 to 2007.

Grassley is replacing Senator Orrin Hatch (from Utah) who is retiring from the Senate. Replacing Orrin Hatch in Utah as Senator, is former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Barack Obama.

“Looking ahead, at the Finance Committee, I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” said Senator Grassley in a statement. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

The Committee on Finance is one of the original committees established in the Senate and was first created on December 11, 1815. The committee deals with a whole matter of issues including taxation, revenue, customs, trade agreements, Social Security and more. It is considered to be one of the most powerful committees in Congress. In addition, the Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over both Medicare and Medicaid.

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Liberty Mutual Inks $1 Billion Risk Sharing Agreement with OPIC

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Liberty Mutual Insurance inked a special deal with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S government’s development finance institution, to help facilitate investment in challenging markets. The deal entails forming a US$ 1 billion risk-sharing agreement to facilitate private sector investment in developing markets. OPIC recently received a new mandate from Washington D.C., armed with more capital and flexibility.

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Keppel Infrastructure to Acquire Ixom from Blackstone

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Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management Pte Ltd, in its capacity as trustee-manager of Keppel Infrastructure Trust, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into a share sale agreement with certain funds managed by Blackstone and certain management sellers for the proposed acquisition of a 100% interest in Ixom HoldCo Pty Ltd (Ixom). The enterprise value for Ixom is A$ 1,100 million. The equity value for Ixom is A$ 777 million.

Ixom is an industrial infrastructure business in Australia and New Zealand. The company supplies and distributes water treatment chemicals. The Ixom Group is the sole manufacturer of liquefied chlorine in Australia, as well as a major provider of manufactured caustic soda.

The proposed transaction will be initially funded via debt.

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