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SWFI First Read, January 31, 2018

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Image Credit: White House

U.S. President Trump’s SOTU Mentions U.S. Infrastructure

U.S. President Donald Trump held his first official State of the Union (SOTU) address on January 30, 2018. With regard to infrastructure, President Trump called on U.S. Congress to push through a US$ 1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Part of the plan includes new laws to reduce the time required to approve building permits down to 1 to 2 years. Other countries such as China have different forms of government where setting up infrastructure has been proven to be faster than in the United States.

President Trump said during the SOTU, “Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments, and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment, to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. And we can do it.”

Lim Siong Guan Joins Board of Swiss Re Asia

Lim Siong Guan

Swiss Re named former GIC Group President Lim Siong Guan as chairman of the reinsurer’s Swiss Re Asia board. Swiss Re Asia has eight offices in the region. He was ranked #11 in SWFI’s Public Investor 100 in 2013.

Other external board members of Swiss Re Asia include:
Masaaki Shirakawa, Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and former Governor of the Bank of Japan
Deanna Ong Aun Nee, chief people officer and managing director at GIC
Raymond Ch’ien, chairman of Hang Seng Bank, member of the board of directors of Swiss Re
Urs Buchmann, vice-chairman, Greater China at Credit Suisse AG Hong Kong Branch

Ghana Petroleum Fund Generates Some Net Profit

The Ghana Petroleum Fund generated US$ 7.03 million in total net profit from January 2017 to September 2017, according to government reports.

Funds SA Trades JANA Investment Advisors over Willis Towers Watson

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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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