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UK Osborne Keen on Shale Gas-Backed Sovereign Wealth Fund

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George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, commented on BBC Radio 4 that shale gas extraction revenues could be held in a sovereign wealth fund. The UK is looking at ways to lower its dependence on oil imports, while creating a savings vehicle from taxable earnings, like its northern neighbor Norway.

Osborne said, “That’s a way of making sure this money is not squandered on day-to-day spending but invested in the long-term economic health of the north of England to create jobs and investment.”

The proposal is going to be argued in the UK House of Lords. In late October, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, a Tory peer, proposed an amendment to the UK infrastructure bill.

According to the British Geological Survey, there are estimates of 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas across the north of England. However, according to the 2013 “The Carboniferous Bowland Shale Gas Study”, the “assessment of shale gas resources in the UK is in its infancy.”

Updated News – DECC – November 10th

In addition, on November 10th, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) had announced plans to draft up a sovereign wealth fund with future revenues from the extraction of shale gas. This decision is in support of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

In a press release, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey summarized, “The sovereign wealth fund is about storing the financial benefits of shale production and putting it towards a low-carbon energy future. This is part of a broader strategy to strengthen the UK’s security of supply in a cost-effective way for future generations.”

SWFI First Read, September 21, 2018

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U.S. Public Becomes More Aware that Gmail Scans Emails

Alphabet is a major stock holding for sovereign wealth funds and large pensions. Search giant Google is under fire for allowing third-party partners and companies, like Return Path Inc and other advertisers, to share data from Gmail accounts. Many experts and tech observers already knew this, but more people in the public are becoming aware of Google’s practices when it comes to privacy. Google disclosed in a letter to U.S. lawmakers this finding. The Wall Street Journal reported that in some instances, app companies were able to read people’s emails in order to improve their algorithms. In 2017, Google said they would stop scanning all of one’s Gmail messages for the goal of personalized ads.

GPIF Infrastructure Exposure Almost Reached 200 Billion Yen in March 2018

Japan Government Pension Investment Fund’s (GPIF) exposure to infrastructure real estate was 196.8 billion JPY at the end of March 2018. At that period, 57% of the exposure was to the UK, 15% was to Australia, 15% to Sweden, 10% to Spain and 3% to Finland. 21% of GPIF’s infrastructure portfolio was linked to airports versus 27% to ports.

AIMCo-backed sPower Closes $498.7 Million Bond Deal

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Iceland Contemplates a Sovereign Wealth Fund

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The Government of Iceland is looking to possibly form a sovereign wealth fund to stabilize the country from unforeseen shocks to the national economy. The Iceland government released a statement saying, “The state’s contributions to the Fund will be equivalent to new revenues from publicly owned power production companies which are expected to accrue in the coming years.”

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CBRE Global Wins First GPIF Global Real Estate Mandate

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Japan Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) awarded its first global real estate mandate by hiring CBRE Global Investment Partners Limited. This is a global core real estate fund-of-funds separate account. Overseeing this mandate as a gatekeeper is Asset Management One Co., Ltd., which is a unit of Mizuho Financial Group. This RFP was launched in April 2017.

CBRE Global Investment Partners is the multi-manager arm of CBRE Global Investors.

In addition, on August 8, 2018, GPIF hired two custodians for short-term investments. These custodians are Trust & Custody Services Bank, Ltd and The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Ltd.

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