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U.S. Asset Manager CEOs Criticize Negative Interest Rates

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As the world economy continues to adjust and expand, asset managers are scratching their heads wondering if central banks went too far in driving into negative interest rate territory. Zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and negative interest rate policy (NIRP) are central banking tools used to stimulate inflation. Simply put, negative interest rates transfer wealth from savers to borrows – a stealth tax on bank deposits. Six world central banks now have negative interest rates, including the Bank of Japan (BOJ), Sweden’s Riksbank and Swiss National Bank (SNB) have introduced negative interest rate policies in a bid to foster economic activity and raise inflation expectations. These central bankers want their domestic banks to lend more.

“The adoption of negative interest rates poses greater investment risk for asset owners with substantial liabilities, if pursued for the long-term. These policies are impacting the viability of savings institutions such as pensions and life insurers, who are now drifting more into illiquid assets and riskier investment strategies,” says Michael Maduell, President of SWFI.

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White House Nominates Heath Tarbert for CFTC Chairman

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The White House announced Heath P. Tarbert will be nominated to serve as Commissioner and Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Tarbert currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Treasury Department. Before joining the U.S. Treasury, Tarbert was a Partner at law firm Allen & Overy. Tarbert was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for his current Treasury post at 87 (yes) to 8 (no).

Upon Senate confirmation, Tarbert’s CFTC term would start on April 14, 2019 and last for five years. Tarbert is taking over from J. Christopher Giancarlo whose term ends in April 2019. Tarbert will need a U.S. Senate confirmation to take the head CFTC post.

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KIA Could Sell Stake in North Sea Energy Business

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The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), through its unit Wren House Investment Management, is nearing a deal to sell a 40% stake in its North Sea energy business to JPMorgan Asset Management. In July 2018, KIA closed on a deal to acquire oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners from ArcLight Capital.

More details to follow –

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Pensioenfonds PGB Hires BMO Global for Equity Protection Strategy

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Pensioenfonds PGB is a Dutch multi-sector pension fund. PGB awarded a mandate to implement a protection strategy for its €12 billion equity portfolio to BMO Global Asset Management. PGB is a €26.5 billion fund. PGB has been using BMO Global’s responsible engagement overlay since 2017.

The Chief Investment Officer of PGB is Harold Clijsen.

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