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SWFI First Read, December 18, 2016

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New Zealand Superannuation Fund to Commit up to NZ$ 260 Million to SMEs in NZ Companies

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund) plans to invest up to NZ$260 million in small and medium-sized New Zealand companies over the next 5 to 10 years. The NZ Super Fund is investing up to NZ$90 million in Direct Capital’s V Fund, up to NZ$120 million into Pioneer Capital’s III Fund, and up to NZ$50 million into Movac’s IV Fund. The three mandates target different parts of the private equity market in New Zealand, with Direct Capital operating at the larger end of the growth spectrum, Pioneer targeting mid-market companies seeking international growth, and Movac focused on earlier stage, high growth technology companies. Each fund is expected to invest in between 8 and 15 individual companies.

Ukraine’s PrivatBank Becomes Nationalized

On December 18, 2016, the largest bank in the Ukraine is being nationalized. The Ukrainian government stated they are now the 100% owner of PrivatBank. PrivatBank has its headquarters in Dnipropetrovsk, in central Ukraine. Founded in 1992, the bank was a pioneer in the country being the first to introduce plastic cards and ATMs. Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Ukrainian billionaire, had a combined 49.9816% ownership stake in the bank. He owned the shares through entities such as British Virgin Islands-based Fransiano Investments Limited and Limassol, Cyprus-based Triantal Investments Limited. Gennadiy Bogolyubov, a Ukrainian billionaire, also had a 41.5769% stake in the bank.

Oman MoF Moves Omantel Equity to OIF

Oman’s Ministry of Finance transferred its 51% equity ownership interest in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) to the Oman Investment Fund (OIF). This equity transfer follows a series of government ownership moves to state-owned entities like the OIF.

STC Ventures Invests in Ride Sharing App Careem

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Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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