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SWFI – Movers and Shakers – August 19, 2015

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Ex-Goldman Sachs Vice-Chair Named Dallas Fed Chief

On August 17th, The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas named Robert Steven Kaplan its president and chief executive, effective September 8, 2015. Kaplan replaces Richard Fisher who retired in March 2015. Kaplan is a professor of management practice and a senior associate dean at Harvard Business School (HBS). He sits on the boards of Harvard Management Company (HMC), State Street and Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm. Kaplan will step down from this three board spots. He will remain co-chairman of the nonprofit New York-based Project A.L.S. and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Kaplan will remain on the board of Harvard Medical School. Before becoming a professor at Harvard University in 2006, Kaplan was at Goldman Sachs where he was vice chairman and responsible for the firm’s investment banking and investment management units.

Principal Financial Group Names Loyal Insider as CEO

Principal Financial Group has named Daniel J. Houston as CEO of the company. Houston replaces Larry D. Zimpleman. Larry D. Zimpleman will remain as chairman of Principal Financial Group. Houston’s promotion is part of the company’s planned succession. In November 2014, Houston was named chief operating officer and president of Principal Financial Group. Houston joined the company in 1984, working his way from consultant to senior vice president.

As of June 30, 2015, Principal Financial Group had US$ 540 billion in assets under management.

Mohamed al-Mehairi Named CEO of Aabar Investments

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Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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