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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

Al-Sayed’s exit shows Qataris operate on a different plane

Posted on 05 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Ahmad al-Sayed was ousted from the top of the Qatar Investment Authority, the £200 billion sovereign wealth fund that holds large stakes in Barclays and Credit Suisse, owns Harrods, and wanted to purchase Canary Wharf. His successor is Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family.
The QIA and its Canadian partner, Brookfield Group, had made an offer for Songbird Estates, majority owner of Canary Wharf. To say the personnel change threw the QIA-Brookfield camp into confusion is an understatement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

How the World’s Largest SWF Gets the Best from Active Managers

Posted on 02 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has proposed a new approach to benchmarks that it claims can boost the benefits of investing with active stockpickers. In a discussion note published on its website, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)—which manages the €689 billion ($860 billion) Norway Government Pension Fund Global—explored in depth its use of bespoke equally-weighted benchmarks.
“By lowering the concentration of capital in the largest stocks, the more even distribution of weights allows for a better representation of relative views taken by the portfolio manager,” the report said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

RDIF Funneling More Chinese, Middle Eastern Money Into Russia

Posted on 21 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The $10 billionRussian Direct Investment Fund is funneling more Chinese and Middle Eastern money into Russia’s ailing economy, partly compensating for a decline in Western-led activity in the face of geopolitical tensions.
Since its formation four years ago, the Russian state investment fund has invested $7.3 billion in Russia’s economy. It plans to continue at a similar pace with total annual investments of around $2 billion, of which up to a fifth will be marked for transactions abroad, Chief Executive Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview………………………………….Full Article: Source

1MDB managed competently

Posted on 19 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Overly leveraged is the oft repeated criticism of detractors of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the nation’s strategic development company. Other accusations include the issue of the company’s lack of transparency, a fair demand on a state-owned investment arm. Once the Terengganu Investment Company, a sovereign wealth fund for the state, it was renamed 1MDB in 2009.
When the prime minister announced the name change, he declared that the expansion was meant to benefit all of the population instead of merely the people of Terengganu. And this the country’s investment vehicle will achieve by boosting Malaysia’s economic transformation agenda, the avenue by which the country will become high-income and fully developed by year 2020, at the latest………………………………….Full Article: Source

Dr. Mahathir:Malaysia can do without 1MDB

Posted on 13 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia does not need a sovereign fund like the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), especially if it results in losses for the country. The former prime minister (PM) said Malaysia could do without the 1MDB, which has been criticised for its lack of transparency as well as for racking up big debts to finance its projects.
Some of 1MDB’s business strategies have also been questioned recently and the fund has been accused of paying above market rates for some of its investments. “We can do without the 1MDB,” Dr Mahathir said when asked whether 1MDB should be shut down………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Support letter issued to 1MDB is not ‘explicit government guarantee’, says Ahmad Maslan

Posted on 13 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan insisted that Putrajaya’s letter of support for 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) fundraising exercise is not an “explicit guarantee”, sidestepping concerns that the federal government will have to foot the sovereign wealth fund’s debt. He stressed that the ministry had only given an explicit guarantee amounting to RM5.8 billion to the sovereign wealth fund.
At a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, Ahmad reiterated that the Finance Ministry’s letter of support — published in investment banker Goldman Sachs International’s (GSI) Offering Circular in 2012 and 2013 — only meant that 1MDB has to restructure its assets valued at RM51.41 billion to settle its debt if the sovereign wealth fund is unable to service its loan according to the stipulated terms………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kazakh leader orders government to open oil fund for projects

Posted on 12 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan’s president ordered his government on Tuesday to allocate $3 billion from the National Fund every year from 2015 to 2017 to bolster growth in an economy hit by falling oil prices and a slowdown in Russia.
The National Fund, which is replenished with windfall revenues from oil exports, stood at $76.8 billion as of Oct 31. Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy and the second-largest former Soviet oil producer after Russia, similarly tapped its fund after being hard hit during the global financial crisis of 2007-09, spending $10 billion to cushion the effects………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Mumtalakat Hires Banks For Potential Dollar Sukuk Issue

Posted on 11 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Bahraini sovereign fund Mumtalakat (BBB from S&P/Fitch) has hired BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, MUFG and StanChart to arrange a series of fixed income investor meetings starting on Thursday, Nov. 13.
A Reg S U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk transaction may follow subject to market conditions. Roadshows start in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday before moving to Singapore on Friday, Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Sunday before closing in London on Monday, Nov. 17………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah open to proposals for MAS restructuring

Posted on 11 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Khazanah Nasional Bhd is open to receive proposals and ideas from various quarters for the restructuring of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS). Khazanah deputy chairman Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the company was prepared to listen and weigh the ideas or proposals so that the restructuring process could proceed smoothly and successfully to enable MAS to get back to become the national airline that is the pride of the rakyat.
Besides being a symbol of national pride, he said Khazanah also wanted to turn around MAS to profitability as well as enabling it to provide huge benefits in the nation’s tourism and trade sectors………………………………………..Full Article: Source

1MDB’s actions do not reflect a sovereign wealth fund

Posted on 10 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

I suspect that one of the aims of 1MDB was to correct the mistakes of the privately owned Independent Power Producers (IPPs) of the past — specifically the first generation IPPs where the agreements were too generous to the private companies.
By going on a IPP buying spree over the past two years (and incurring a lot of debt), 1MDB is now the second largest IPP and is scheduled to be the biggest IPP in Malaysia. Malaysia was supposed to have had a electricity price increase in July this year, but this never took place and the government has committed to keep electricity charges unchanged until July next year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Rafizi to tell all about 1MDB’s Cayman fund next week

Posted on 10 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said he will reveal next week the details of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) funds in the Cayman Islands. “Besides myself, a team from the National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) will reveal the individuals and companies involved in the hiding of public funds in the Cayman Islands.”
He said in a statement that although Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the funds were being brought back to Malaysia, that was a separate issue………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Arabia: Wealth fund urged to tackle oil-price slide

Posted on 05 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The fall of crude oil prices points to the need for Saudi Arabia to have an active sovereign wealth fund, said Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. This will be similar to the sovereign funds in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Norway, he said.
“Clearly the income from our sovereign wealth fund would not cover all our budget, but at least should cover a good size of it,” said the prince. ddressing reporters in Jeddah, he also said that the fall of oil below $80 a barrel proves that Saudi Arabia’s reliance on petroleum revenue is “dangerous”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Penang warns 1MDB of tough road to approval for Air Itam project

Posted on 05 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Penang has warned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that it will be an uphill task to gain planning approvals for its development project on the 234 acres land if it deviates from its promise to build affordable housing there.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the sovereign wealth fund will also face difficulties due to unresolved squatter issues on the land. “I want to warn 1MDB that we will not allow them to throw out the present land tenants for a project other than affordable homes,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Will 1MDB change auditors again, asks DAP

Posted on 05 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

With 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) yet to submit its financial statements as required under the law, a DAP lawmaker has questioned whether the sovereign fund will change its auditors again.
Tony Pua (DAP - Petaling Jaya Utara) said as of yesterday, the company and its subsidiairies did not submit their financial statements to the Companies Commission despite the October deadline. The wealth fund last submitted the March 2013 statements in April this year, after a seven-month delay and a change of auditors from Ernst & Young to Deloitte Malaysia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Man Running World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Takes On Riddle of China

Posted on 03 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Once a year, the man running the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund travels around China for a week. Though assets from that country only make up about 1.5 percent of the $860 billion Norwegian wealth fund’s portfolio, Yngve Slyngstad, its chief executive officer, says almost all investment decisions are affected by what happens in China.
Understanding what’s poised to become the world’s largest economy is crucial for Slyngstad as he manages a fund that Norway predicts will reach $1 trillion in less than three years. He’ll be in China this month, visiting Beijing and other cities………………………………………..Full Article: Source

MP presses Putrajaya for answers as 1MBD, banker contradict each other on fees

Posted on 03 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Putrajaya must clarify questions surrounding fees paid for 1 Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) fundraising after the sovereign wealth fund and investment banker Goldman Sachs gave conflicting explanations, a DAP lawmaker said.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said this was necessary given the billion-ringgit scale involving the allegations on the fees paid, which he previously said was a magnitude more than those usually charged. “The answers provided by Goldman Sachs and 1MDB are in direct conflict with one another. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

All Change Once More In Libya. Just Who Runs Its $65 Billion Wealth Fund?

Posted on 03 November 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Regular readers of this blog will know of the travails of the Libyan Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund entrusted with $60-65 billion of the country’s oil wealth. Today, it represents something of a split personality. On one hand, it is bold and dynamic, suing Goldman Sachs and SG for billions of dollars over disastrous investments that were sold to it prior to the financial crisis.
On the other, it is a rudderless mess, incapable of maintaining leadership because nobody appears to trust anyone else, or their background. On Wednesday night came two new resolutions from the board of directors of the LIA, one (No 7 for 2014) removing Abdelrahman Benyezza as chairman, and the other (No 8) appointing Hassan Ahmed Bouhadi as his replacement. And so continues an apparently endless cycle………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Slow Progress on SWF Governance Standards

Posted on 31 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Governance and transparency standards at some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are still falling below agreed levels, according to a study. Geneva-based political risk consultancy GeoEconomica found that only nine of 31 SWFs surveyed had complied with a “good governance and financial disclosure standards” agreement laid out in 2008, known as the Santiago Principles.
This is up only slightly from the 2013 study, which found six funds in compliance with the principles. Funds run by Gulf countries were particularly criticised in the latest report………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Sovereign-wealth funds are cutting out the middleman

Posted on 31 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign-wealth funds and other big institutional investors from Ottawa to Oslo and—if icefishing isn’t your thing—Abu Dhabi to Auckland are hiring. The intention is to lure talent from private-equity firms and hedge funds in order to make the same sort of investments in-house. Sovereign-wealth funds made direct investments of around $186 billion last year, nearly triple the level of 2012, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a consultancy.
Pension funds, insurers and family offices are doing the same—a response in part to the exorbitant fees and disappointing returns of many asset-managers. ADIA, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign-wealth fund, with assets of $773 billion, now employs 1,500 people. South Korea’s National Pension Service ($430 billion) will boost its investment team by 60 people this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Stronger Board, More Effective Government Interaction to Mark Samruk Kazyna Transformation

Posted on 30 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kazakhstan’s Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund will redistribute responsibilities within the fund and change its portfolio structure and approach to investment as part of its recently announced transformation, Chairman of the Board of Samruk Kazyna Umirzak Shukeyev recently told The Astana Times in an exclusive interview. This will require internal changes, including training and incorporating foreign expertise, as well as legislative changes in Kazakhstan.
Samruk Kazyna officially unveiled its transformation programme, which is intended to help modernise Kazakhstan’s economy and bring an additional $11 billion to the country’s gross domestic product by 2020, on Oct. 6………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah invites bids for advisory role in MAS restructuring plan

Posted on 30 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd has asked select investment banks to bid for a role in overseeing the restructuring process of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The sources, who declined to be identified, told Bloomberg Khazanah had asked the banks to submit proposals by today. According to the report, Khazanah has also offered to buy the shares it doesn’t already own for RM1.38 billion (US$422 million)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Top sovereign funds fail on governance

Posted on 29 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A majority of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds lack transparency and adequate governance, with those in the Gulf region scoring particularly low, according to a report published by political risk group GeoEconomica. eneva-based GeoEc-onomica, an independent political-risk research firm, assessed 31 sovereign wealth funds with a total of $4 trillion worth of assets for their compliance with the Santiago Principles, a voluntary code of practice on governance and transparency.
“Numerous funds, most notably from the Gulf region, still need to substantially advance their financial disclosure policies and become more transparent about governance arrangements,” GeoEconomica said in its Santiago Compliance Index, which it has published annually for the past three years………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The Temasek story: Growing with Singapore

Posted on 29 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Temasek Holdings works for a better tomorrow as a responsible and trusted steward, said its executive director and CEO Ho Ching, who was awarded the Asian Business Award by London-based business think-tank Asia House. Below is an extract of her speech at the award ceremony dinner in London on Monday.
Singapore was already known in the second century to the Greco-Roman world as a trading post. Ptolemy named it Sabana. Third-century merchants from China called it Pu Luo Zhong — the Island at the End. In 1819, nearly 200 years ago, Sir Stamford Raffles took over Singapore towards the tail end of the Anglo-Dutch spice trade tussle in the Far East. This little island trading post grew quickly………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

Posted on 29 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Alaska is a land of rugged individualists – Republicans all the way. However, a little known fact is that Alaska taxes the oil and gas corporations operating there and distributes the proceeds on an annual basis equally among every man, woman and child living in the state.
The biggest farce of all is that Tea Party touter, Governor Sarah Palin, slapped an excess profits tax on the state’s oil companies in 2008, the year she ran for vice-President alongside John McCain, so that every person in Alaska received a dividend of $3269 that year. That was a pretty good haul for a family of four: $13,076. For Palin’s family – husband Todd, sons Track and Trig and daughters Bristol, Willow and Piper – it came to an even better haul – $22,883!……………………………………….Full Article: Source

QIA leads fund rankings for missing Santiago governance standards

Posted on 28 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world’s most active sovereign wealth funds are also among the least transparent and least likely to comply with corporate governance norms, according to a review by consultancy GeoEconomica. The Geneva-based political risk group ranked 31 funds against principles of good governance and financial disclosure standards that they all signed up to in Santiago in 2008, and found that many of the most active groups fell short.
GeoEconomica’s conclusion underscores the opaque nature of some funds, which have the deepest pockets, even as they pervade the corporate world by expanding abroad and ramping up their direct investments in companies and infrastructure projects………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Putrajaya must explain how 1MDB benefits Malaysians, says Dr M

Posted on 28 October 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Putrajaya to explain how the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had benefited Malaysians, after a news report exposed the extent of the sovereign wealth fund’s debts.
“A government spokesman said that the money from 1MDB is used for Bumiputras,” wrote the former prime minister in his blog, chedet.cc. “What I know is that one scholarship was given to a music student. It’s impossible that the scholarship cost RM38 billion?……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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