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SWFI First Read, January 11, 2018

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South Korea Preps Ban for Cryptocurrency Trading, Still Needs Majority Vote

South Korea Justice Minister Park Sang-ki revealed the government was forming a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading. The country’s police and tax officials raided local exchanges over charges of alleged tax evasion. The bill requires a majority vote in Korea’s National Assembly.

Segall Bryant & Hamill Acquires Denver Investments

Chicago-based Segall Bryant & Hamill, LLC signed a deal to buy Denver Investments, an employee-owned investment firm founded in 1958. Denver Investments is the advisor for the Westcore Funds. RBC Capital Markets served as exclusive financial advisor to Denver Investments. Goodwin Proctor is acting as legal counsel to Segall Bryant & Hamill. Morgan Lewis is acting as legal counsel to Denver Investments.

Bank of Japan Cuts Back on Long-Date JGB Purchases

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) revealed its decision to cut back on its long-dated government bond purchases. On January 9, 2018, BOJ announced it would lower its buying of Japan government bonds (JGB) with maturities of 10–25 years to 190 billion JPY. BOJ is essentially cutting its purchases of JGBs within 10-25 years and those maturing in 25-40 years by 10 billion JPY each.

HSBC Nabs Nabi for Blockchain Expertise

Jason J. Nabi was hired by HSBC Securities Services as head of innovation. Nabi is an expert in blockchain technology. He is a member of the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger Working Group. Before this role at HSBC, he was Global Head of Business Development and Head of EMEA at Paxos, a financial technology company developing blockchain solutions for companies.

BVK Acquires Portfolio of Micro Housing Projects in Europe

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Atlas Merchant Capital and GIC Scoop Up Stake in Ascensus

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Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited acquired just under a 25% equity stake in Dresher, Pennsylvania-based Ascensus, the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. San Francisco Genstar Capital LLC and New York-based Aquiline Capital Partners LLC were the sellers of the shares in Ascensus and will maintain control over the company.

Atlas Merchant Capital LLC was founded by Bob Diamond and David Schamis. Diamond is the former group chief executive of Barclays plc.

GIC is an investor in Alight Solutions, a provider of human capital solutions.

Advisors

Barclays acted as the lead financial advisor and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Ascensus in connection with this transaction. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to Ascensus.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal counsel to Atlas Merchant Capital and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to GIC.

In 2015, JC Flowers sold Ascensus to Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners.

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The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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This article is sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

How much should a portfolio manager be willing to pay for research? The question is of importance to any manager, but has become particularly pertinent since newly imposed European rules require that the costs of investment research—previously offered by many investment banks as an in-kind consideration in return for brokerage business—be unbundled from trading.

Unfortunately, attempts to determine a fair value for research in the most general circumstances are doomed to fail. Even if we only consider direct recommendations to buy or sell certain securities, the value of such recommendations to a portfolio manager will vary according to the absolute size of positions taken in response. Instead, we provide a framework for estimating relative research values across markets and constituents, under certain stylized (but reasonable) assumptions.

REPORT: The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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Khazanah to Scale Back International Investments, Preps 2019 Dividend

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Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad is prepping to declare more than 1 billion MYR in a dividend payout to the Malaysian government for 2019. Khazanah Nasional is undergoing a significant strategy shift to focus more on domestic assets, while selling off venture tech investments, overseas real estate, fund investments, and other non-strategic assets. The wealth fund also plans to scale back its overseas presence in markets such as San Francisco and London.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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