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SWFI First Read, September 21, 2018

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U.S. Public Becomes More Aware that Gmail Scans Emails

Alphabet is a major stock holding for sovereign wealth funds and large pensions. Search giant Google is under fire for allowing third-party partners and companies, like Return Path Inc and other advertisers, to share data from Gmail accounts. Many experts and tech observers already knew this, but more people in the public are becoming aware of Google’s practices when it comes to privacy. Google disclosed in a letter to U.S. lawmakers this finding. The Wall Street Journal reported that in some instances, app companies were able to read people’s emails in order to improve their algorithms. In 2017, Google said they would stop scanning all of one’s Gmail messages for the goal of personalized ads.

GPIF Infrastructure Exposure Almost Reached 200 Billion Yen in March 2018

Japan Government Pension Investment Fund’s (GPIF) exposure to infrastructure real estate was 196.8 billion JPY at the end of March 2018. At that period, 57% of the exposure was to the UK, 15% was to Australia, 15% to Sweden, 10% to Spain and 3% to Finland. 21% of GPIF’s infrastructure portfolio was linked to airports versus 27% to ports.

AIMCo-backed sPower Closes $498.7 Million Bond Deal

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BlackRock Experiences Outflows Among Institutional Investors

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Is BlackRock at peak earnings? BlackRock disclosed its third quarter 2018 results showing a growth of assets under management at US$ 6.4441 trillion at the end of September 2018 versus US$ 5.976892 trillion at September 2017. However, a large portion of the AUM growth has been in the ETF business, iShares, which tends to be very low in fees. The iShares business saw an inflow of US$ 33.7 billion for the quarter.

For the third quarter, BlackRock experienced US$ 24.8 billion in institutional investor outflows, with US$ 23.6 billion being on the index side, while US$ 1.2 billion being on the active side. Institutional investors such as pensions, insurers, and hedge funds withdrew from passive equity strategies. BlackRock saw US$ 4.745 billion in outflows in active equity on the institutional side, but seeing inflows of US$ 2.471 billion in multi-asset institutional and inflows of US$ 1.468 billion in alternatives institutional.

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GIC Buys Large Stake in Nordic Aviation Capital

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Singapore’s GIC Private Limited, a yield-hungry sovereign investor, invested in Denmark-based Nordic Aviation Capital A/S, becoming a significant minority shareholder. Other shareholders in Nordic Aviation Capital include EQT VI Limited fund, KIRKBI Invest (wealth origins tied to Legos), and Martin Møller, the founder of Nordic Aviation Capital. EQT VI will remain the largest shareholder of Nordic Aviation Capital. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Trump Wants Pharma Companies to Disclose Drug Prices in Advertisements

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U.S. President Trump is progressing on plans to mandate pharmaceutical companies to reveal their prices in drug advertisements. “The drug industry remains resistant to providing real transparency around their prices, including the sky-high list prices that many patients pay,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “So while the pharmaceutical industry’s action today is a small step in the right direction, we will go further.”

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department would require pharmaceutical companies to include drugs’ sticker prices in their video advertisements. This would be similar to how drug companies disclose the laundry list of side effects.

Increasingly, sovereign funds like Temasek Holdings have backed mid-stage pharmaceutical companies and other therapies, while market investors like Norway’s GPFG have large holdings in listed pharmaceutical companies.

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