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Transparency International joins calls for probe of Malaysia fund 1MDB

Posted on 04 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Anti-graft watchdog Transparency International on Tuesday (Mar 3) joined mounting calls for Malaysia’s prime minister to launch an investigation into a sovereign wealth fund hit by reports of murky deals and missing millions. The state-backed fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), has quickly emerged as a major liability for premier Najib Razak, who championed its launch in 2009 and chairs its board of advisors. 1MDB is widely reported to be struggling to pay off more than US$11 billion in debt, raising fears it could collapse and wreak havoc on Malaysia’s financial system.
Transparency International Malaysia called for a “full investigation into the numerous allegations of massive… financial and commercial crime” involving 1MDB, the anti-graft organisation said in a statement. It made specific mention of a report this past weekend alleging US$700 million were diverted from a shadowy 2009 deal between 1MDB and a little-known Saudi energy firm, PetroSaudi……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Future Fund seeks global tax consultant

Posted on 03 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The $110 billion Future Fund is in the market for a global tax consultant to help the sovereign wealth fund put its tax affairs in order following the Lux Leaks scandal that erupted last year. The tender for the Future Fund’s new Melbourne tax service comes just months after the group was revealed to have used tax haven Luxembourg and entities in the Cayman Islands to minimise taxes.
Future Fund chief financial officer Paul Mann brushed off suggestions the tender process was linked to the scandal. “The global tax consultant service is being tendered because the original term for the contract has expired,” Mr Mann said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Nigerian Sovereign Fund Doesn’t Expect State to Tap It for Funds

Posted on 03 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The government of Nigeria is unlikely to make withdrawals from the sovereign wealth fund in Africa’s largest oil producer, even as the price of crude declines. The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, set up in 2012, isn’t yet large enough to make withdrawals worthwhile, Uche Orji, managing director and chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi.
Withdrawals will be an option in future years once the fund is larger, he said. The Nigerian government has proposed cutting the oil-price benchmark to $52 a barrel from $65 a barrel suggested in December as a result of slumping prices. The plan, supported by the Nigerian senate, must be approved by lawmakers in the House of Representatives………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Temasek talks up board action after StanChart shake-up

Posted on 27 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Singaporean sovereign fund Temasek underlined the importance of boardroom renewal in a strong statement delivered in response to the radical shake-up at Standard Chartered Bank, which was announced yesterday.
Temasek and Aberdeen Asset Management were reported to be among the emerging market bank’s 10 leading shareholders to have been pushing for a boardroom shake-up as they grew impatient with its share performance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Standard Chartered Overhaul Gets Temasek Stamp of Approval

Posted on 27 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., the Singapore state investment company, which is the biggest shareholder of Standard Chartered PLC, said Thursday it welcomed Bill Winters as the new chief executive of the emerging markets bank. Mr. Winters, a former co-chief executive of the investment bank at J.P. Morgan Chase, was named as the group chief executive of Standard Chartered, replacing Peter Sands.
Temasek, which owns around 18% in Standard Chartered but doesn’t have a board seat, has expressed frustration with the bank in the past. The state investment firm wasn’t involved in the hiring process at the lender, which is grappling with slowing economies in its core Asian markets that have taken a toll on results………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Singapore Temasek says welcomes StanChart new CEO

Posted on 27 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has welcomed the appointment of Bill Winters as Standard Chartered’s new chief executive. “We take this opportunity to welcome Bill Winters as the next CEO of Standard Chartered, to build on and grow its excellent franchise,” Temasek said in a statement.
“He brings with him considerable experience as well as an excellent reputation for building good teams.” “This on-going process for board renewal must continue as the requirements and challenges facing the banking and financial sector across the world have become much more complex and onerous,” Temasek added………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund to optimize its costs

Posted on 24 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna in 2014 commissioned 13 projects worth US $2.9 billion and created more than 5.6 thousand temporary and 1.2 thousand permanent jobs, the Fund’s CEO Umirzak Shukeyev said last Friday while reporting on measures to implement the head of state’s instructions and Nurly Zhol program, and on the Fund’s financial results for the past year.
Samruk-Kazyna group of companies closed the year 2014 fairly well, Shukeyev said. According to preliminary data, the net income of the group was estimated at 458 billion tenge, the Fund said in a press release. The Fund has developed a set of measures in line with the President’s instructions, including optimization of its costs by 337 billion tenge or 7%………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kazakh state wealth fund considers up to $2.5 bln borrowing in 2015

Posted on 23 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna is considering borrowing up to $2.5 billion this year abroad or domestically, depending on market conditions, fund chief Umirzak Shukeyev said on Friday. “We will probably need to borrow $2 billion or up to $2.5 billion this year,” Shukeyev told a news briefing. “We are now thinking where to borrow. It will all depend on conditions.”
“If conditions on external markets are attractive enough for us, we will tap foreign markets, although right now we see that the siatuation on the internal market is more favourable for us to borrow.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Jonathan Still The Best Man To rule Nigeria – Ex-Gov Obi

Posted on 23 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Nigerians have been urged to give another four years to President Goodluck Jonathan because he is head and shoulder above his All Progressives Congress, (APC) rival, Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Jonathan/ Sambo Campaign Organisation, made the appeal.
Citing the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, (SWF), as one notable example, Obi said that when the country had the Excess Crude Account, there were always agitations from everyone, including governors, that the money should be shared. But, “Jonathan’s government had moved from Excess Crude Account to Sovereign Wealth Fund. With the former, governors, and everybody, all of us would go to Abuja and say, ‘let’s share it’, but you can’t share the Sovereign Wealth Fund. It is managed internationally. It’s there for everybody and everybody can see it”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB belongs to the people, says veteran journalist

Posted on 20 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

1MDB belongs to the people, said veteran journalist Datuk A Kadir Jasin, who argued that the troubled sovereign wealth fund cannot hide behind a technicality to justify its secret business dealings.
The former New Straits Times (NST) group editor-in-chief said 1MDB was a government-owned company that is answerable to the people and so far, many of its replies to issues raised by politicians and the media were inadequate. “1MDB is more than a listed company. It is a government-owned company and is, therefore, answerable to the people,” Kadir wrote in his latest blog posting……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Mumtalakat given highest rating for transparency

Posted on 19 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), the investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain, was ranked among the world’s most transparent sovereign wealth funds as it was rated ten out of ten in the 2015 Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index. The rankings represent an upgrade from the previous year’s score of 9/10, reflecting the ongoing commitment of Mumtalakat’s Board of Directors led by H.E. Shaikh Khaled bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Board and the company’s management team to transparency. Mumtalakat was one of only 11 funds in the world to be awarded full marks for transparency, out of a total of 52 funds surveyed.
The Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index is one of the world’s most influential benchmarks in measuring sovereign wealth funds’ commitment to transparency. It was developed by Carl Linaburg and Michael Maduell in 2008 and is published quarterly by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, outlining funds’ performance in ten key areas of transparency. (Press Release)

ADIA Said to Oppose L&R in Bidding for Former UniCredit Milan HQ

Posted on 17 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the world’s second-biggest sovereign wealth fund, and London & Regional Properties Ltd. have bid for the former headquarters of UniCredit SpA in Milan, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Offers were between 280 million euros ($319 million) and 320 million euros, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. ADIA is bidding with local partner Hines Italia SpA against U.K.-based London & Regional which is working with Milan-based real estate manager Prelios SpA, the people said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Prosperity Fund part of wise resource management

Posted on 13 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In 2013, Premier Christy Clark announced an intention to create the B.C. Prosperity Fund using liquefied-natural-gas revenues. Since then, we’ve heard little about it. But as budget season comes around again, we might finally get some details. After all, last year’s budget said that the Prosperity Fund wouldn’t move forward until the LNG tax was finalized, and that happened last fall. This makes now a good time to renew the discussion about a sovereign wealth fund in B.C.
Let’s revisit what a sovereign wealth fund is and why resource-dependent regions use them. When it was first announced, the B.C. Prosperity Fund was pitched as a way for B.C. to pay off its debt, reduce taxes and pay for social services. This might lead some people to think that the Prosperity Fund would be a new source of money. That’s not quite right………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bud Smith: B.C. Prosperity Fund is no golden ticket

Posted on 11 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Lst year’s budget said that the Prosperity Fund wouldn’t move forward until the LNG tax was finalized, and that happened last fall. This makes now a good time to renew the discussion about a sovereign wealth fund in B.C. First off, let’s revisit what a sovereign wealth fund is and why resource-dependent regions use them. When it was first announced, the B.C. Prosperity Fund was pitched as a way for B.C. to pay off its debt, reduce taxes, and pay for social services.
The new money would be tax revenue from a new LNG industry, and B.C. could conceivably use it to pay off debts or lower taxes or build hospitals without creating a sovereign wealth fund. So why do it? Sovereign wealth funds are generally created for two main reasons: to stabilize government finances when prices for natural resources rise and fall, and to preserve resource wealth for the future………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Enough with the lies – how involved is Jho Low with 1MDB?

Posted on 10 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua has accused 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Jho Low of hiding the truth from Malaysians regarding the latter’s apparent non-involvement in the government’s sovereign wealth fund. Quoting an expose by the New York Times and more shocking revelations by the Sarawak Report that showed otherwise, the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara said, “it is now clear that both Jho Low and 1MDB have at best, been economical with the truth. At worst, they are lying through their teeth to Malaysians.
In the NYT expose, three people who had regular dealings with 1MDB said Low was “regularly consulted”, something Pua pointed out, that Low himself had admitted to when he agreed he was consulted from “time to time and without receiving compensation”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund reveals divestments and resolution rejections

Posted on 06 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $860bn oil fund laid out its growing clout as a responsible investor as it revealed that it had divested itself from more than 100 companies in the past three years and voted against tens of thousands of resolutions at annual meetings.
Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of what is the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, said it had divested from 49 companies last year — predominantly in coal and gold mining — as it worried about the sustainability of their business models. Since 2012, it has sold out of 114 companies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Raub MP: 1MDB has lied to Malaysians

Posted on 04 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Raub MP Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz declares in his latest blog posting that 1MDB has lied to Malaysians. “It is not a responsible borrower anymore,” he says. Referring to the company’s recent announcement that it has redeemed funds parked in the Cayman Islands and a subsequent news report that tycoon Ananda Krishnan is lending it RM2 billion, he points out that the two developments, taken together, are puzzling.
“It says it has fully redeemed money from the Cayman Islands. If it did, why must it borrow from Ananda? We don’t know what the terms of the loan were. Did it come with promises that Ananda will be the bigger owner of the soon to be listed energy company?……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Samruk-Kazyna Fund development plan approved

Posted on 03 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Board of Directors of the Samruk-Kazyna Kazakh National Welfare Fund reviewed the results for 2014 and outlined plans for the next five years at the next meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Karim Massimov.
“The development plan is based on the forecast of socio-economic development of Kazakhstan for 2015-2019, taking into account the prices and tariffs for goods, work and services of the group of companies of Samruk-Kazyna,” said Nurlan Rakhmetov, Financial Director of Samruk-Kazyna. “In addition, the adjusted prices for Brent oil were used during the formation of the development plan - these data were provided in January by the Ministry of National Economy.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

ICD takes controlling stake in ailing South Korean construction company

Posted on 02 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) has acquired a controlling stake in the troubled South Korean construction firm Ssangyong Engineering & Construction, according to media reports.
The Seoul-based JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and Yonhap News Agency reported last week that the Dubai sovereign wealth fund behind Emirates Airline, Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD signed a deal last Thursday to acquire the construction company for 200 billion Korean won (Dh667.7 million). ICD was named as preferred bidder for the construction company in December, according to reports in the Korean press, ahead of the Korean companies Samra Midas Group and Steel & Resources………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB is turning into a serial borrower

Posted on 02 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, look at it this way. The PM (as chairman of the sovereign fund) is caught between a rock and a hard place. If the loan is not repaid, those banks that lend the money to 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) would be in trouble in respect of their capital ratio adequacy caused by the non-performing loan (NPL) and BNM (Bank Negara Malaysia) would be forced to take action.
This is turn might cause a severe stress on the financial and banking system which the central bank can ill-afford at the present time………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Canary Wharf Group directors to pocket £23m from Qatari-led takeover

Posted on 30 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Directors of Canary Wharf Group are in line for a £23m windfall following the £2.6bn Qatari-led takeover of the property firm’s parent. Sir George Iacobescu, the head of Canary Wharf Group, will get the biggest share, £3.8m, from the sale of his Songbird shares to the Qatari Investment Authority and Canadian firm Brookfield Properties.
In 2013, Iacobescu was awarded more shares that have not been released yet and would be worth a further £2.3m, taking his potential total windfall to £6.1m. A Romanian engineer who escaped Nicolae Ceauşescu’s communist regime in the 1970s, Iacobescu has been involved in the construction of the Docklands financial district in east London from its beginnings in the late 1980s……………………………………….Full Article: Source

After week-long silence, Pua calls 1MDB chief’s bluff over dialogue proposal

Posted on 27 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

DAP MP Tony Pua asked if Arul Kanda Kandasamy no longer felt the need to subject 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to public scrutiny, noting the chief executive has remained silent since his offer to hold a dialogue more than a week ago.
Pua reminded Arul Kanda, however, that it was he who had said that scrutiny would be a “good thing” for the sovereign wealth fund as it would “strengthen the company and its governance”. Arul Kanda, Pua added, should now state if he ever plans to open the 1MDB’s books to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Goldman Sachs profit on disputed LIA trades back in focus

Posted on 27 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Goldman Sachs is estimated to have made $82m profit on nine disputed trades which are at the heart of a $1bn lawsuit brought against it by the Libyan Investment Authority — rather than the $350m which has been previously claimed, according to people familiar with the case.
The Libyan Investment Authority is suing the US investment bank in London’s High Court over nine financial trades which it entered into with Goldman in early 2008 in a lawsuit which is expected to come to trial next year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Najib duping Malaysians over 1MDB, says DAP

Posted on 23 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

DAP today said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was insulting the intelligence of Malaysians with his “incredulous” claims about 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Its national publicity chief Tony Pua questioned Najib’s justification that Putrajaya had only committed RM1 million to the controversial sovereign fund.
“While it is technically true that the government only invested RM1 million in cash to the company, Najib who is also the finance minister failed to highlight that it also explicitly guaranteed RM5.8 billion of loans as well as issued another ‘letter of support’ which, for all intents and purposes, guaranteed another US$3 billion (RM10.8 billion) of borrowings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Investment managers doing right by New Mexico

Posted on 21 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

It is what New Mexico has that is entirely its own, which is why the money from these revenue flows are called sovereign wealth funds. Worldwide, there are some 50 sovereign wealth funds, led by Norway with $893 billion in assets and followed closely by Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China. In the United States, there are eight states that have sovereign funds, led by Alaska with $52 billion and Texas at $30 billion.
New Mexico has the third largest sovereign wealth fund in the United States at $20 billion and is in the top half worldwide — just behind New Zealand’s Superannuation Fund, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute………………………………………..Full Article: Source

How Is it That Norway Is Rich and We Are Not?

Posted on 20 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway - A small nation of about five million people nestled in the northwest corner of Europe. Either in this year or next, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will crest a trillion dollars. Eighteen years ago the sovereign wealth fund sat at a mere $200 million.
Alberta - A small province of about four million people nestled in western Canada. Alberta’s Heritage Fund is stuck at $17 billion. In 1976 sat at approximately $620 million………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Sticks to Budget Plan Despite Oil Slump

Posted on 19 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The finance minister of Norway, Western Europe’s biggest oil producer, said on Friday that she would sanction extra fiscal stimulus if the economic outlook were to worsen further but for now her budget plan for 2015 still holds despite the rapid drop in crude prices.
The budget for this year included plans to spend more of Norway’s oil money, which it keeps in the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund, as well as a cut on a tax on wealth. Norway’s main defense against the slump in oil has so far been monetary policy, and a lower oil price was cited by the central bank when it lowered its main interest rate to 1.25% in December, and signaled a 50% chance of another cut within six months………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Alaska’s fiscal perfect storm

Posted on 19 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Alaska depends on oil tax revenue from development on state lands to fund much of state government. Oil prices are volatile, and Alaska’s economy has ridden out ups and downs. With no state income or sales tax and no commitment to tap the $52 billion Permanent Fund, oil dictates most everything in Alaska.
But the growing value of the Permanent Fund, which has soared about $13 billion in five years, is a glimmer of good news amid Alaska’s economic woes. At the same time, growth in the number of state residents — many of whom collect a Permanent Fund dividend — appears to have leveled off………………………………………..Full Article: Source

SOFAZ draft budget decided to be submitted to Azerbaijani President

Posted on 15 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

SOFAZ Supervisory Board holds its following meeting A meeting of the Supervisory Board of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) was held on January 8, 2015. The meeting chaired by Mr. Artur Rasi-zadeh, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan and Chairman of the Supervisory Board discussed the SOFAZ draft budget for 2015.
The Board approved the Fund’s 2015 budget revenues at 10 246 611.9 thousand manats, its expenditures at 11 813 909.2 thousand manats and the Fund’s operating expenditures at 33 318.0 thousand manats. The Supervisory Board recommended the Fund’s 2015 draft budget, including the major directions of its investment policy, and its draft annual operating expenditures for the approval by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia’s Khazanah Got Aboard The Alibaba Gravy Train

Posted on 15 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Khazanah, the Malay word for treasure, is also the name of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. Like many major Asian investors, Kazanah saw value ahead of Alibaba’s IPO and invested $400 million in the burgeoning Chinese ecommerce giant back in 2012 and 2013.
The wealth fund disclosed on Wednesday it made a profit of more than $1 billion in selling a portion of its Alibaba holdings as it reported its financial performance for 2014. In the the regulatory disclosure, Kazanah also noted it was planning to increase investment in the U.S. tech sector (the fund opened an office in San Francisco in 2013)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Super fund execs and trustees split on sponsorships

Posted on 12 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Despite new research suggesting that few superannuation fund members want to see their funds investing in sporting sponsorships, research conducted by Money Management’s sister publication, Super Review, suggests fund executives and trustees are split on whether members should even be asked their views.
The research, sponsored by Pillar Administration and conducted during the recent Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference in Melbourne, found that a small majority of those surveyed believed funds should not even be required to consult members over sporting sponsorships………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why stress that 1MDB new boss is Muslim?

Posted on 09 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

1MDB new boss Arul Kanda Kandasamy is indeed a Muslim but so what? Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is also Muslim, while Idris Jala is a non-Muslim who was recruited for a very important task in Malaysia Airlines (MAS) once.
What does one’s religion got to do with one’s job performance or even credibility? If religion is the criteria for a job well done, then the future ahead is one of gloom. We have so many Muslims in Umno, and it can hardly be said that their credibility in running the country is more than satisfying………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Did 1MDB mislead auditors over Cayman funds, asks DAP

Posted on 09 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is in for questioning again, over US$1.23 billion of its funds in the Cayman Islands which have not yet been repatriated despite a directive to do so.
DAP lawmaker Tony Pua today asked whether the scandal-ridden fund had also misled auditing firm Deloitte Malaysia into thinking that the amount would be repatriated by the end of November, in order to have its March 2014 financial statements signed off………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Herculean task for new boss to revive 1MDB

Posted on 08 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

First, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) shouldn’t have been set up in the first place, as there are already too many of such government investment funds in this country. Second, 1MDB has gone in the opposite direction of its professed mission - not momentarily but consistently throughout its existence. This indicates that the motivating force of 1MDB is beyond the reach of its CEO, who has been changed frequently.
Third, judging from the many negative reports and the many irrational major moves it has made, as well as its own audited reports, this body is stricken with pervasive mega corruption in addition to gross mismanagement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China Investment Corp. Public-Equity Head Zheng Said to Leave

Posted on 07 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Zheng Kongdong, head of a China Investment Corp. department that specializes in publicly traded stocks, has left the nation’s $653 billion sovereign wealth fund, said three people with knowledge of the matter.
Zheng resigned from CIC last year to pursue other career opportunities, said one of the people who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Larry Zhang has been acting head of the department since Zheng’s departure was announced internally, the three people said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysian state investor 1MDB hires new chief as $3 bln IPO looms

Posted on 07 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Debt-ridden state fund 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) said on Monday that it had hired an Abu Dhabi-based Malaysian investment banker as its new President and group executive director, who will embark on a review of the firm’s business.
Arul Kanda succeeds 1MDB’s chief executive officer Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, who departs less than two years after his appointment in March 2013 amid criticism for leading the company into further debt. Kanda, who starts at 1MDB immediately, said his priority will be to review the fund’s operations………………………………………..Full Article: Source

I met Najib over 1MDB, says Khairuddin

Posted on 07 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairman Khairuddin Abu Hassan had a private meeting with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the 1MDB issue a week before the latter left for the United States for his recent meeting with President Barack Obama.
Khairuddin disclosed this today after giving a statement at the Bukit Aman police station. He said he told the Prime Minister to explain to the public what was going on with 1MDB and that he might withdraw his police report about the sovereign fund if Najib’s public statement satisfied him………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB’s failure to settle debt seen driving down ringgit, says economist

Posted on 07 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) failure to settle an RM2 billion loan to local lenders has been a factor behind the extended drop in the ringgit against the dollar, an economist said. The Edge Financial Daily, quoting sources, reported today that the sovereign fund had missed its December 31, 2014, deadline for settlement of the loan, and had received an extension up to January 30, 2015, to settle the outstanding payment.
The RM2 billion amount was part of an RM5.5 billion debt taken through its subsidiary Powertek Investment Holdings Sdn Bhd in May 2014 to refinance an RM6.17 billion bridging loan taken in 2012 to part finance the purchase of power assets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB CEO’s ‘sacking’ tip of the proverbial iceberg

Posted on 06 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The sudden resignation of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) CEO, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, and the appointment of Abu Dhabi-based Malaysian banker Arul Kanda Kandasamy as executive president and executive director proves that all is not well with the sovereign wealth fund behind the steely façade presented by both the company as well as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, according to Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua in a statement.
“1MDB Chairman Lodin Wok Kamaruddin‘s statement on the executive change at the very top clearly indicates that Mohd Hazem has been fired. “He was either doing a terrible job or he has become the fall guy for the 100 per cent Ministry of Finance owned company which has accumulated a staggering RM42 billion in debt.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Depleting Excess Crude Account Causing Nigeria’s Economic Woes – Obasanjo

Posted on 06 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A former Nigerian President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has blamed the present economic woes facing the nation on the depletion of the Excess Crude Account and the external reserves. Mr Obasanjo made the assertion on Monday at a meeting with women leaders from the south-west states held at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The women from Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun and Ondo States had met with the former leader to express their displeasure over what they termed the parlous state of the Nigerian economy and some knotty issues in the polity. Insecurity in the north-east, corruption, girl child education and effective representation of women topped the talks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

HK Monetary Authority continues conservative policy

Posted on 05 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Monetary Authority is sticking to its cautious approach in investing for the fiscal reserve, as evidenced by the return rate of 1.19 per cent recorded at the end of September. The Monetary Authority of Macau says that the local inflation rate as a benchmark for gauging the returns on the city’s fiscal reserve investment is not “suitable”, as the reserve is more a “stabilisation fund” than a sovereign wealth fund that has a longer investment period and a bigger risk appetite.
The Authority’s statement, dated from early December, was in response to legislator Si Ka Lon’s written enquiry doubting the returns rate for the city’s fiscal reserve at 1.19 per cent registered at the end of September last year as being much lower than the inflation rate at the time. For the 12 months ended November last year, the average composite consumer price index increased by 6.06 per cent from the previous period………………………………………Full Article: Source

SOFAZ planning to decrease expenditures

Posted on 02 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Azerbaijan’s state oil fund SOFAZ is working out a mechanism for decreasing its expenditures. This measure is taken to ensure the sustainability of the fund’s development in the coming years, SOFAZ Head Shahmar Movsumov told Trend Agency. He noted the global decrease in oil prices will negatively affect the revenues of SOFAZ. In this regard, SOFAZ is working out various scenarios to balance its revenues.
The decrease in oil prices is continuing acorss the globe. Currently, the price per a barrel of oil (depending on the grade of oil) is approximately $60 in the world markets, while prior to the continuous decrease, this figure exceeded $110 per barrel………………………………………..Full Article: Source

President Ilham Aliyev inaugurates new SOFAZ building

Posted on 02 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva have today attended the opening of new administrative building of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. APA reports that head of state has cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the building.
He was informed that the building includes assembly hall, conference and board rooms, petroleum lounge, library and treasury. All rooms and halls have been supplied with the newest technological equipments. The museum on the second floor includes stands reflecting Azerbaijan’s oil history, oil strategy of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev, activity of State Oil Fund, projects financed by SOFAZ, investments and gained achievements………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB Chairman Addresses Allegations Against The Fund

Posted on 02 January 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

As the chairman of the Board of Directors of 1MDB, I have viewed with surprise recent statements, both in the media and by certain individuals, suggesting that the company has failed to respond to various questions that have been directed at it over the past months.
As a Board of Directors, we welcome debate, and as a company that is wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance — and by extension the people — we believe that public scrutiny of 1MDB is a good thing, and will only serve to strengthen the company and its governance. In the interest of increasing the company’s transparency, I have held meetings with members of the media where I listened to and responded to their concerns………………………………………..Full Article: Source

For the record… a statement from 1MDB – Lodin Wok Kamaruddin

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

As the chairman of the Board of Directors of 1MDB, I have viewed with surprise recent statements, both in the media and by certain individuals, suggesting that the company has failed to respond to various questions that have been directed at it over the past months.
As the Board of Directors, we welcome debate, and as a company that is wholly-owned by the Ministry of Finance – and by extension, the people – we believe that public scrutiny of 1MDB is a good thing, and will only serve to strengthen the company and its governance………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Despite probe, Najib must answer questions on 1MDB, says DAP leader

Posted on 15 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak cannot turn his back on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) just because police have begun their investigations into the alleged improprieties in the management of the sovereign wealth fund, said Lim Kit Siang.
The Gelang Patah MP, who was in Subang Jaya today to address DAP Johor members attending a two-day retreat, also questioned if the police investigation was just for show. “Are the police serious in carrying out investigations into the alleged improprieties or are they just putting on a show for the public?” Lim asked………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia’s investment fund disaster

Posted on 11 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In 2008, a boisterous young man by the name of Jho Low Taek, a Penang-born Wharton grad with a taste for Cristal champagne and Broadway blondes, approached Malaysia’s Terengganu state government with a proposal to use the state’s authority to sell RM10 billion (US$2.87 billion) in bonds to start a state-backed investment fund.
That proposal has led to what Tony Pua, a Democratic Action Party lawmaker, has called “the mother of the mother of the mother of all scandals in the history of Malaysia.” That might be one mother too many, but Pua is not alone, with critics of what is now called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, coming from outside the opposition as well. It is certain that the proposed Terengganu Investment Authority has metastasized into a mess that can properly be called huge and has put Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s tattered reputation on the line yet again……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Analysts back Khazanah appointment of Mueller to revive Malaysia Airlines

Posted on 09 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Analysts have backed Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s decision to appoint Christoph Mueller to revive Malaysia Airlines Bhd despite the move drawing flak from politicians. They said that Mueller’s track record in reviving an airline was paramount in the decision to hire him.
Furthermore, they pointed to one of Mueller’s key performance indicators, which was grooming a local successor. Last Friday, the sovereign fund announced the appointment of Mueller as the future chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia Airline sees new leadership appointments by state fund

Posted on 08 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), which is due to be taken private after being hit by two separate air disasters this year, on Friday sees new leadership appointments for the new company that will replace it.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund and MAS’ parent company, said on Friday it has appointed the CEO-designate and made other leadership appointments for the new company called Malaysia Airlines Bhd……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Oil Shock: Excess Crude Funds Not Well Managed, Says Obadan

Posted on 08 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A former Director General of the National Centre for Economic Management and Administration (NCEMA), Prof. Mike Obadan, has accused government across the three tiers of misuse and poor management of the nation’s Excess Crude Account (ECA). According to the professor of Economics at the University of Benin, Benin City, “The imprudent use of the ECA funds even at a period of rising prices, has led to it been depleted to the very precarious level of less than $2.0 billion at the beginning of this month. Thus, it appears that the country has found it difficult to reach a political consensus to rein in fiscal expansion and re-accumulate its reserves.”
He therefore called for a reform of public expenditure and downward adjustment as indispensable, while the elimination of wasteful spending and corruption in procurement is vital to re-bouncing the economy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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