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World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Generated 7.6% Return in 2014

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Photo Credit: Norges Bank Investment Management - Meeting - Yngve Slyngstad

Photo Credit: Norges Bank Investment Management – Meeting – Yngve Slyngstad

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the manager of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, posted a 7.6% return in 2014 versus a 15.9% return in 2013. The highest performing asset class was real estate at 10.4%, followed by listed equities at 7.9%. Fixed income performed at 6.9%. Compared to previous years, the relative returns in fixed income and equities were slightly weaker. This can be attributed to the sovereign fund’s higher weight toward European equities (which could be a boon for 2015 due to the European Central Bank’s bond buying plan) and short duration investments in the fund’s fixed income allocation. The sovereign wealth fund pulled back from U.S. Treasuries, while increasing allocation to Japanese and U.K. government bonds. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has invested in 9,134 companies at the end of 2014, compared to 8,213 companies in 2013. The sovereign wealth fund added equity allocation to Mauritius, Nigeria and Ghana in 2014.

As of December 31, 2014, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund owns 7% of U.S. asset manager BlackRock.

See Institutional Investor Profile of Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund

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Korea’s NPS Invests In Crypto Exchanges Amid Crackdown

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South Korean news outlets have reported that South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) has unwittingly invested roughly US$ 2.4 million in four local cryptocurrency exchanges – Korbit, Upbit, Coinplug, and Bithumb – even as regulatory officials move to subdue the unbridled enthusiasm for crypto trading that has flourished in the tiny country. The US$ 550 billion pension scheme invested in the cryptocurrency exchanges indirectly through two venture capital funds handled by external managers with exclusive rights over asset allocation, according to an NPS officer.

Crypto trading has proved wildly popular in South Korea, drawing an estimated one million citizens to the largely unregulated exchanges that have cropped up over the past few years. South Korea, which is ranked first in the world in terms of internet sped, is the largest market for cryptocurrency transactions behind Japan and United States, and accounts for 29.8% of trade globally, according to a report released by the Korea Insurance Research Institute (KIRI) in December 2017.

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Ripple Attempts to go the Central Bank Route

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San Francisco-based Ripple, a tech company that professes the use of blockchain to reboot the payment systems globally, landed a big deal with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). Ripple started a pilot program that will be spearheaded by SAMA and a few Saudi banks to deploy xCurrent for cross-border payments. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Investment Corporation of Dubai Eyes $1 Billion Loan Deal

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The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) plans to raise US$ 1 billion in a loan to refinance existing debt. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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