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SWFI First Read, March 4, 2018

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HKMA’s Exchange Fund Has Best Year in Nearly a Decade

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Exchange Fund generated an unaudited 7.1% annual return for 2017 versus a 2.0% annual return for 2016. This is the best annual return for the fund since 2007 at 11.8%, which followed a 2008 return of -5.6%. At the end of September 2017, HKMA’s Exchange Fund had 214.5 billion HKD in private equity (141.1 billion HKD) and real estate (73.4 billion HKD).

UPDATED: Axa to Buy XL Group

March 5, 2018 – UPDATED: French insurance giant Axa SA agreed to buy U.S. property and casualty insurer XL Group Ltd. for US$ 15.3 billion in cash

PREVIOUS: French insurance giant Axa SA is in negotiations of possibly buying U.S. property and casualty insurer XL Group Ltd., which is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. XL Group has a market value of around US$ 11 billion.

U.S. Moves to Defend Steel and Aluminum Industry, EU Threatens

The United States government moved to put a 25% duty on steel and 10% on aluminum, after decades of trade abuse in the industry, according to the U.S. government. In response, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned they could target American brands such as Levis, Harley-Davidsons and Kentucky bourbon whiskey. Countering, the U.S. President warned they could put the lucrative European export auto industry in the country’s crosshairs.

On March 3, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our “very stupid” trade deals and policies. Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!”

Lighthouse Investment Partners to Buy Most of Mesirow Advanced Strategies

Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, the multi-manager hedge fund division of Mesirow Financial, an employee-owned firm that is trying to focus more on its core business. The deal is expected to close mid-year 2018. Following the expected completion of the transaction, Mesirow Financial is expected to serve as a distribution partner to Lighthouse. Mesirow Advanced Strategies has around US$ 8 billion in assets under management. In June 2017, Palm Beach Retirement System dropped Mesirow Advanced Strategies in an US$ 8 million hedge fund-of-funds portfolio.

BlackRock Contemplates Stake in Eurizon

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Asset management giant BlackRock is contemplating purchasing a 30% ownership stake in Intesa SanPaolo’s asset management unit called Eurizon Capital SGR S.p.A. BlackRock is keen on growing its technology business and increase market adoption of its Aladdin platform.

Intesa has been working with UBS to seek out strategic options for Eurizon. Intesa is keen on maintaining control over Eurizon.

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SWFI First Read, June 22, 2018

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JPMorgan Fund Buys 40% of Oxford Properties’ French Portfolio

A fund advised by JP Morgan Asset Management committed €400 million in Oxford Properties’ French portfolio. Essentially, Oxford Properties sold a 49.9% non-managing interest in 32 Rue Blanche, 92 Avenue de France and Paris Bastille. Oxford Properties made its maiden investment in Paris in 2014 when it acquired 32 Rue Blanche.

Oxford Properties is the real estate unit of OMERS.

Temasek Explores Further Cash Commitments to FirstCry

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DOL Fiduciary Role is Struck Down by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

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The U.S. Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, confirmed a March 15th decision to strike down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule. The fiduciary rule is a series of seven different rules that broadly interpret the term “investment advice fiduciary” and redefine exemptions to provisions concerning fiduciaries that appear in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision by a Dallas federal court that had upheld the DOL fiduciary rule.

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