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The ISS Corporate Shakedown Could Slow Down

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A team of six United States Senators have collaborated to introduce a bill that would force the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate organizations that advise investors on how to vote in corporate elections. The proposed bill is called the Corporate Governance Fairness Act (S.3614 – Corporate Governance Fairness Act). One such firm making the news, and being used as an example, is Glass, Lewis & Co. Headed by Katherine Rabin, the company provides proxy advisory and governance services. Glass Lewis is co‐owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP) and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). At the time, the embroiled Xinhua Finance Limited sold its ownership interest to OTPP in October 2007.

Once part of MSCI until March 2014, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which is run by Gary Retelny, is also in the spotlight. ISS is now owned by private equity firm Genstar Capital. A spokesman for Institutional Shareholder Services fired off an email that explained, in the event this bill becomes law, “ISS will do what we always have done: we will comply in full with the law and with the highest standards of the proxy advisory industry.” Glass, Lewis & Co. did not respond to the bill. ISS’s competitor Glass Lewis does not provide consulting services to issuers. ISS and Glass Lewis have a duopoly in the proxy voting industry.

Foundational Conflict of Interest for ISS

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PSP Investments and Blue Sky Alternative Investments End Strategic Partnership Agreement

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Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited informed Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) that it agreed to terminate its strategic agreement effective March 31, 2019. In December 2017, Blue Sky Alternative Investments forged an agreement with PSP Investments to assist in committing capital in a number of agricultural investments.

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Yield-Hungry Korean Insurance Capital Backs TSX Broadway

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Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd., the Seoul-based investment banking firm, has provided a US$ 375 million loan for a redevelopment in New York’s Times Square. It joins L & L Holding Company, Maefield Development, and Fortress Investment Group who are bringing the development known as TSX Broadway to life. The building is at 1568 Broadway in Manhattan. TSX Broadway, a US$ 2.5 billion project when all equity financing is added in, will allow for renovations and expansion of the 46-storey building. An LED screen, which is not an uncommon sight in the Big Apple, will wrap around the corner of the tower. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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OFFICIALS: Saudi Crown Prince Denies Interest in Acquiring Manchester United

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The Saudi Arabian government dispelled rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will acquire football club Manchester United. However, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) had talks regarding sponsorship with the football club. Manchester United signed a partnership deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority in 2017.

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