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Ted Eliopoulos Takes #2 on Public Investor 100-2016

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ted_e_calpersSWFI Staff has released the Public Investor 100. He ranks 2 out of 100 for the SWFI Public Investor 100 – 2016.

To see the full rankings

Ted Eliopoulos holds the pinnacle investment spot at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). The calm, well-mannered CIO started at CalPERS back in 2007 as a senior investment officer of real estate. But don’t let his calm reputation fool you. Eliopoulos played competitive tennis in his college for years, earning Men’s All-Time First Team All-Ivy League for doubles in 1986.

As global properties plummeted in value during the crisis, the new investment officer had a massive portfolio of real estate exposures dumped on him. The speculative land deals and other opportunistic property investments were major disasters. During the crisis and afterwards, Eliopoulos started reforming the real estate platform, seeking to cut an endless roster list of real estate managers, while cutting back on highly speculative land deals. It is true that the CalPERS real estate portfolio hasn’t fully recovered since the financial crisis, but Eliopoulos and his staff made important changes to operations and future allocations to help mitigate future issues.

It was in the Fall of 2014 that the Dartmouth-grad was named CIO of CalPERS. The CalPERS board made an interesting choice turning to someone who was trained as a lawyer, with a stint at Latham & Watkins, for the role of chief investment officer. Before CalPERS, Eliopoulos had never directly managed stocks or bonds in an institutional setting. However, he has a tremendous amount of internal manpower and a highly-sought after investment consultant to give him advice on which direction to take the massive pension giant.

Eliopoulos enacted another significant reform in the CalPERS investment units. He reluctantly exited the pension giant out of hedge funds, creating shockwaves on Wall Street and having other pensions make similar moves. A bold move from which we have yet to see the full result.

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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