AUSTRALIA

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) launched a review of environmental, societal and governance (ESG) funds in response to growing unease about greenwashing risks. It review seeks to establish whether these ESG funds offer products and investment strategies that are as green or ESG-focused as claimed, Asic said in a statement.

“The potential to mislead can arise as a result of the product issuer being unclear on what standards they use to assess the product as environmentally or socially responsible; or overstating green credentials that are not sufficiently reflected in their operations,” it said.

This ESG review comes after another review held by Asic on climate risk disclosures by large-listed companies. That review found improved disclosure standards but that some disclosures carried a “marketing” feel.

Source: Asic

Mark Ferguson left his position as head of investment risk at Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (Apra) to join industry fund Cbus.

He takes up the newly created role as head of total portfolio management at Cbus where he will oversee asset allocation, capital markets and portfolio execution, and the fund’s quantitative solutions teams. More than 35% of the fund’s assets are directly managed by the investment team.

Ferguson has been with Apra for two years, and was previously a senior portfolio manager for currency at AustralianSuper for five years. Cbus announced a record high of 19.34% returns for the financial year last week.

Source: Cbus

AMP Life’s chief investment officer (CIO) Jeff Brunton joins Hesta as head of portfolio management on July 26. He will report to CIO Sonya Sawtell-Rickson and lead teams across growth, defensive and unlisted asset classes.

Brunton was CIO at AMP life for a year in 2019 and was most recently deputy CIO of Resolution Life after the separation and sale of AMP’s life insurance business. Before that he held senior executive roles at AMP Capital.

Hesta did not immediately respond to questions about who he replaces but Alan Sheen was hired last year for the same role from Dalton Street Capital.

Source: Hesta

CHINA

The Chinese owner of a Dutch chip firm that wants to buy the UK’s largest chip plant is heavily backed by the Chinese Communist Party, according to analysis from Chinese investment screening specialists Datenna.

China’s Wingtech Technology — the owner of the Netherlands-based Nexperia, which is set to acquire Newport Wafer Fab for £63 million ($87 million) — is under significant state influence through its many layers of shareholders, according to Datenna, which carries out research on Chinese investments and acquisitions for governments.

The layers lead to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, which is a special commission of the People’s Republic of China, as well as specific government-run semiconductor investment funds.

Source: CNBC

JAPAN

Dai-ichi Life Insurance is investing 5.5 billion ($50 million) in a climate infrastructure fund managed by BlackRock, specialising in climate infrastructure assets for emerging countries, the life insurer said in a statement on July 8.

The Climate Finance Partnership Fund targets sectors involving solar power, wind power, as well as equipment related to power generation, such as power transmission and distribution, as well as power storage facilities. Targeted regions include emerging countries in Asia, Africa, and Central and Latin America.

Source: Dai-ichi Life Insurance

KOREA

Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) awarded mandates worth a combined $105 million to Goldman Sachs, Macquarie and Paris-based Ardian to make its first investments in overseas infrastructure.

The three investment companies will each manage $35 million or €35 million in commitments from the GEPS. The mandates' targets range from traditional infrastructure assets such as roads, harbors and airports to niche assets including data centres and renewable energy-related facilities.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily

National Pension Service and State Street extended their global equity and alternatives custody and middle-office servicing agreement, State Street announced on July 12.

It will continue to provide back-office and middle-office services for the NPS’s global equity and alternatives portfolios which have W222 trillion ($195 billion) and W49 trillion ($43 billion) assets under management respectively.

Source: State Street

Teachers’ Pension is calling for bids for a W200 billion ($180 million) domestic private equity mandate, its second tender of 2021. It will select four asset managers for the mandate, which will be structured as a domestic blind fund.

Applicants are required to have a minimum W300 billion of private equity funds. The managers will be prohibited from investing in institutions that focus on start-ups. The tender is open until July 23. Evaluation and manager selection are scheduled to be carried out by the end of August.

Source: Asia Asset Management

MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s government is seeking over $5.6 billion in damages from audit firm KPMG for its involvement in the 1MDB scandal. According to Malaysia, an equivalent amount siphoned from the now defunct sovereign wealth fund between 2009 and 2014, of which $3.2 billion occurred while KPMG served as auditor.

Malaysia is arguing KPMG would have identified signs of fraud earlier had the firm conducted a more thorough audit. KPMG was 1MDB’s auditor until 2013 when it refused to sign off on 1MDB’s accounts and was replaced by Deloitte. The latter has since paid $80 million in settlements to the Malaysian government.

Source: Reuters

MIDDLE EAST

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, will increase its stake in banking group Credit Suisse from 4.84% to 6.01% when two convertible notes acquired in April convert into shares later this year.

QIA is the biggest shareholder in the Swiss bank, though a filing in late June showed it had cut its stake to below 5% following the Archegos Capital and Greensill Capital scandals, which hit Credit Suisse’s earnings and reputation.

Credit Suisse said the mandatory convertible notes issued in April would be converted after six  months, but could be subject to early conversion upon the occurrence of certain events.

Source: Reuters, Arab News

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s Temasek and US private equity firm Warburg Pincus invested $500 million in Indian ride-hailing app Ola via a secondary share sale, according to a statement by the startup.

Warburg Pincus led the round with an investment of $280 million-$300 million, according to sources. Singapore-based hedge fund Broad Peak Investment Advisers also participated in the round. The shares were acquired from US investor Tiger Global and venture capital firm Matrix Partners India, who sources say offloaded 5% and 2%-3% respectively. Temasek first backed Ola in 2018 as part of a $225 million secondary investment.

In the statement, Ola reiterated its IPO plans but did not share further details.

Source: Economic Times of India

Vertex Holdings, Temasek’s wholly-owned venture capital, plans to raise funds for deal-making by listing a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) in Singapore, said sources.

Details of the Spac, including size and timeline, are pending listing guidelines by the Singapore exchange (SGX). Singapore had opened for consultation plans to allow Spacs with a minimum S$300 million ($223 million) market capitalisation to list on its bourse earlier this year. 

Vertex has assets under management worth more than $5 billion, according to its website. Its investments include ride-hailing app Grab and crypto exchange Binance.

Source: Bloomberg

Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) members’ fund balances hit a record high of S$462.1 billion ($341.82 billion) in 2020, an 8.7% year-on-year increase. Interest earned by members stood at S$16.8 billion, an 8.4% increase from last year. 

Its net income from investment increased from S$15.8 billion in 2019 to S$17.2 billion in 2020. The number of CPF members also rose 1.8% to 4.1 million last year. Its total assets grew to S$466.4 billion from S$429.2 billion.

Source: Straits Times, CPF

TAIWAN

Taiwan's Fubon Life Insurance commited $200 million to KKR's global infrastructure fund.  The fund opened to investors in late 2020, and KKR set a $12 billion fundraising target for the fund in March this year. 

Source: DealStreetAsia

INTERNATIONAL (EX-ASIA)

Institutional investors deployed $1.36 billion into the Indian commercial real estate market in the April- June quarter of 2021, representing a ninefold increase year-on-year, according to JLL’s Capital Markets Update Q2 2021.

According to JLL, the pace and volume of investments over the past decade have been supported by the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) in 2014, improved regulations, and normalisation of foreign direct-investment over the years.

Investments in the warehousing and logistics sectors were attractive due to the increasing shift to online shopping from discretionary to essentials. Major global funds have invested with warehousing developers and operators as scale and regional footprint are the key differentiators in the sector.

Source: JLL