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SWFI First Read, March 26, 2018

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SoftBank, Temasek and Morgan Stanley Eye FINO

Japan-based SoftBank Group, Temasek Holdings, and a private equity fund affiliated with Morgan Stanley are in talks on buying a stake in Financial Information & Network Operations (FINO). FINO is a payments bank and technology company. The proposed deal would be for the investor group to buyout the Blackstone Group’s 26% stake in FINO and acquire a 7% holding through a primary issue of new shares.

UAE Commercial Nuclear Plant to Begin Fuel Loading in May

Barakah Unit 1 will begin loading fuel in May 2018, according to the South Korea Energy Ministry. The Barakah complex is the first commercial nuclear reactor in the United Arab Emirates that was built with assistance from Korea Electric Power Corporation. The other partner in the project is the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. In total, there will be four Barakah plants.

China Gets in the Oil Futures Game

On March 26, 2018, China launched its first yuan-denominated oil futures program. The buyers of the first contract with 15.4 million barrels of crude oil set for delivery in September were from Glencore, Trafigura, and Freepoint Commodities via the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. The exchange is offering yuan-denominated futures in oil that foreigners can buy and sell. New York has its West Texas Intermediate (WTI), while London has Brent crude as oil benchmarks.

Former FSDEA Chairman Gets in Trouble Over Irregular Transfer to UK Bank

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Now GE Really Needs Sovereign Wealth Money

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General Electric (GE) used to be a giant, being involved in media and having a massive financial arm called GE Capital. The new GE is small and timid and could possibly use a strategic financial partner to become great again. Can GE find a sovereign wealth fund partner? Will Mubadala Investment Company come back to the table? Gone are the days of Jack Welch. The current GE strategy is to sell, sell, and sell, while doing the tango with US$ 115 billion in debts. In other words, the blind is following the blind, as a possible death spiral could be in GE’s future.

With a quarterly dividend at a paltry one cent, GE, the company that brings good things to life has slipped to its lowest level since 2009. GE indicated that cutting its dividend to US$ 0.01 per share will save the company US$ 3.9 billion per year. Meanwhile, third quarter revenue missed Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue came in at US$ 29.57 million, which was less than the US$ 29.92 million analysts anticipated. Earnings per share also fell US$ 0.06 short of expectations.

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McDonnell Investment Management to Integrate into Loomis Sayles

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McDonnell Investment Management, LLC is being integrated into Loomis Sayles & Company, L.P. by the early part of 2019. Both asset managers are affiliates of Natixis Investment Managers. The cost saving measure will enable McDonnell clients opportunities to Loomis Sayles’ resources and operational capabilities. McDonnell Investment Management manages US$ 11.7 billion in assets at September 30, 2018. The municipal business assets under management is about US$ 6.9 billion.

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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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