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Top 10 Sovereign Wealth Fund Game-Changers of 2011

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sovereignwealth_transactionsIn general, 2011 was a tough year for sovereign investors. A major lack of public investor confidence combined with structural economic issues coming to roost depressed valuations in capital markets. Our staff has compiled a list of the top ten game-changers that will set the tone for sovereign wealth funds in 2012.

10.) Continual Low-Yield Environment – Pushing Allocation

Central banks and sovereign wealth funds are dealing with a low-yield fixed income environment. We saw a trend of the nearly full migration out of American MBS towards safe haven sovereign debt such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Credit funds are generating major buzz. Bottom line – Liquidity – Safety – Flight

9.) Goldbug

Gold markets stayed liquid throughout the financial crisis.

Gold is up this year and it is seen mostly as an inflation hedge. Many sovereign investors have exposure to gold in ways such as funds, investing in gold mining companies, and derivatives. A few governments have actually purchased physical gold. The Qatar Investment Authority created a sovereign wealth enterprise to invest in gold, commodities, and other metals. Some investors see gold as comparable to a bond that never matures.

8.) Real Estate (Europe & U.S.)

Norway’s GPFG pulled the trigger in real estate. Granted they look expensive, core real estate in the United States and Europe are seen as a safe inflation hedge and cash flow generator. In 2012, we might see a more substantial move out of the “popular” markets such as London and Paris to secondary markets.

7.) Private Equity and the Sovereign Investor Relationship

Co-investment deals are increasing in frequency creating indirect competition for private equity firms. Private equity firm investing is a growing strategy among larger sovereign wealth funds and public pension funds. The secondary market is appealing to SWFs allocated in alternatives. More and more governments are creating joint venture country funds.

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Atlas Merchant Capital and GIC Scoop Up Stake in Ascensus

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Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited acquired just under a 25% equity stake in Dresher, Pennsylvania-based Ascensus, the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. San Francisco Genstar Capital LLC and New York-based Aquiline Capital Partners LLC were the sellers of the shares in Ascensus and will maintain control over the company.

Atlas Merchant Capital LLC was founded by Bob Diamond and David Schamis. Diamond is the former group chief executive of Barclays plc.

GIC is an investor in Alight Solutions, a provider of human capital solutions.

Advisors

Barclays acted as the lead financial advisor and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Ascensus in connection with this transaction. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to Ascensus.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal counsel to Atlas Merchant Capital and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to GIC.

In 2015, JC Flowers sold Ascensus to Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners.

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The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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This article is sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

How much should a portfolio manager be willing to pay for research? The question is of importance to any manager, but has become particularly pertinent since newly imposed European rules require that the costs of investment research—previously offered by many investment banks as an in-kind consideration in return for brokerage business—be unbundled from trading.

Unfortunately, attempts to determine a fair value for research in the most general circumstances are doomed to fail. Even if we only consider direct recommendations to buy or sell certain securities, the value of such recommendations to a portfolio manager will vary according to the absolute size of positions taken in response. Instead, we provide a framework for estimating relative research values across markets and constituents, under certain stylized (but reasonable) assumptions.

REPORT: The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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Khazanah to Scale Back International Investments, Preps 2019 Dividend

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Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad is prepping to declare more than 1 billion MYR in a dividend payout to the Malaysian government for 2019. Khazanah Nasional is undergoing a significant strategy shift to focus more on domestic assets, while selling off venture tech investments, overseas real estate, fund investments, and other non-strategic assets. The wealth fund also plans to scale back its overseas presence in markets such as San Francisco and London.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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