Across the globe, mega asset owners, such as USS Investment Management and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), are closely monitoring the events after the Brexit vote. While some sovereign wealth funds reiterated their belief in investing in the United Kingdom, such as the Kuwait Investment Office and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), other wealth funds are reassessing potential deals and future transactions due to the perceived volatility of the British Pound. Both of these sovereign investors, who have European outposts in London, have skin in the game. Norway’s wealth funds, as of the end of March 2016, had 83.56 billion NOK allocated to UK government debt and 155.929 billion in German sovereign debt. 5.2% of the wealth fund’s fixed income portfolio had exposure to the British Pound and 25.8% to the Euro as of March 31, 2016.
Asset managers are prepping their clients on the impact of currency swings when it comes to returns. “Brexit is the most recent catalyst for foreign currency market volatility. Even though the derivatives market was implying a volatile and binary session over the vote, heightened implied and realized volatility will persist in all markets and asset classes as the ripple effect continues for the foreseeable future. Foreign exchange funds were at the epicenter for the discussion of returns following the vote given the focus on both the volatility and out-right level of the British Pound. Managing underlying FX exposures, particularly the Pound and Euro, in a global mandate of asset classes and investing in primary FX markets will become an increasingly large component of sovereign and pension investing. It is very possible that diverging monetary policy moves and global political risks could lead to a continued move higher in the US Dollar.” Matthew Feldmann, former partner and portfolio manager of Brevan Howard in Geneva, Switzerland, who is working with Scepter Partners to launch their alternative investment fund.
Years of accommodative monetary policy set by Occidental central banking institutions have suppressed volatility across asset classes and markets. However, political events, ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and disease outbreaks have the potential to break the buttons off central bank’s hold on volatility.
Anne Sheehan, the first Corporate Governance Director at California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the current one, plans to retire March 30, 2018. Sheehan’s team manages an activist portfolio worth around US$ 4.1 billion, seeking to influence and help turnaround its large portfolio holdings in select public companies. Sheehan was hired back in 2008.
Christopher J. Ailman, CalSTRS’ chief investment officer, said in a organization release, “Anne has been my most unconventional, best hire.”
A replacement search is underway.
Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has reportedly joined forces with Google LLC and Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping as part of a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising effort for Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek that has put regional rivals like Uber and Singapore-based Grab on notice.
Although exact figures for individual stakes have so far been kept secret, the new infusion of capital puts Go-Jek, incorporated as PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, at a valuation of roughly US$ 4 billion. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation also participated in funding, as well as existing private equity investors KKR & Co. LP and Warburg Pincus LLC.
Google’s direct involvement in Go-Jek’s growth – rather than through its Google Ventures unit – highlights its faith in the latent potential of ride-sharing services – and the tech-enabled consumer services sector as a whole – in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 640 million potential customers, the region was identified as the fastest growing emerging market for e-commerce globally in an industry report published jointly by Google and Temasek last December. According to data compiled by the internet-giant and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, ride-sharing in Southeast Asia is expected to grow into a US$ 20.1 billion industry by 2025, compared to US$ 5.1 billion in 2017.
2011 Origin Story
Rokid Corporation Limited, a Chinese robotics startup that specializes in smart devices assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), announced the closing of a Series B extension round through its WeChat account on January 18, 2018. The capital-raising effort was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, with additional contributions from Credit Suisse Group, China Development Bank’s overseas investment arm CDIB Capital International, and existing investor IDG Capital. Although Rokid did not disclose the size or terms of the deal in its announcement, the technology company reportedly secured US$ 100 million in funding.
Founded in 2014 by chief executive Mingming Zhu and chief financial officer Eric Wong, Rokid’s core products consist of its smart speakers, the Rokid Pebble and Alien, as well as the newly debuted Rokid Glass augmented reality spectacles. The company’s most exciting offering, however, is its Full Stack Open Platform, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Alibaba that gives third-party developers backdoor access Rokid’s software suite and hardware integration and will – it hopes – help give its offerings the accessibility and recognition they need to thrive outside its home market of China.
Rokid is particularly keen on bringing its products to the U.S., where it believes it can challenge Google and Amazon’s dominance in the smart home arena. Amazon makes the Amazon Echo, while Google has Google Home.
The Series B
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