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SWFI First Read, January 31, 2018



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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How ESG Considerations Can Drive Voting at the Board Level



The Council of Institutional Investor’s spring conference for 2018 – held this week in Washington D.C. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel – was packed with member-hosted panels, where nearly 400 of the top investment professional, regulators, and corporate governance experts gathered together to share their insights and engage in forward-looking discussions on how to drive a multi-stakeholder approach to responsible investment over the long-term.

Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI) had the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions, including one presented by Maryland-based Institutional Shareholder Services that sought to address one of the most pressing challenges facing institutional investors today: How can environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria help drive voting at the board level? Moderated by Georgina Marshall, Head of Global Research at ISS, panelists provided a diverse array of perspectives on how to harness ESG considerations as an effective decision-making tool.

Player-Coach Model

For Bonnie Saynay, Global Head of Responsible Investments at Invesco, fostering an environment conducive to communication with investment teams using a “player-coach” model is critical. Moreover, Saynay warned investors of thinking too broadly on ESG considerations, and to instead focus in on the criteria that is most important to them as an organization, and to then tailor their stewardship practices to match those priorities: “If everything is important, nothing is important,” she said.

Clare Payne, head of corporate governance for North America at Legal & General Investment Management, highlighted the importance of procuring the latest ranking data from a number of different providers, as well as how to develop one’s own internal system for scoring so as to cut through the clutter and provide a contextualized framework for making investment decisions on your own terms.

Remuneration is the name of the game for Robbie Miles, Vice President and ESG analyst at Allianz Global Investors. Amid the ever broadening scope of influence that responsible investment commands, Miles urged attendees to work with their managers on mandates that link compensation to the long-term performance of the fund, as well as long-term holding periods.

Wrapping up the panel was Stu Dalheim, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Calvert Research Management, advocated for diversity at the board level across a number of different metrics – including ethnicity, gender, and professional backgrounds – in order to reflect the reality of their client base, as well as provide an apparatus for robust debate and adaptation in an ever-changing business environment.

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Macquarie to Buy ValueInvest Asset Management from Fynske Bank



On March 12, 2018, Macquarie Investment Management, the investment management unit of Macquarie Group, revealed a deal that they acquired Luxembourg-based ValueInvest Asset Management S.A. from Denmark-based Fynske Bank A/S. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Federal Reserve Orders ICBC to Tighten AML Policies



On March 12, 2018, the U.S. Federal Reserve issued an enforcement action that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) is not doing enough regarding anti-money laundering (AML) protections and ordered the Chinese bank to toughen its checks on illicit funds. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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