AUSTRALIA

Brendan O’Farrell, the chief executive of industry super fund Intrust, has said he will leave the fund after it completes its merger with Hostplus.

The AU$2.6 billion ($1.89 billion) fund confirmed in June that it was in talks with Hostplus for a merger, which would form a AU$69 billion fund.

O’Farrell had said in a statement that the funds aim to combine their competitive advantages for the benefit of members.

He has been the CEO of Intrust since 2005, and had led Citysuper before that between 2003 and 2005.

Source: Intrust

Aware Super has acquired a site for its first essential worker affordable housing development in Melbourne, the fund said in a statement.

The fund purchased a 7000 square-metre site called Bayview on the Park in partnership with Altis Property Partners and plans to build 300 units, most of which would be rented as affordable housing to essential workers, including teachers, nurses, emergency services, personnel, and aged care and childcare employees.

”The Bayview on the Park site ticks all the boxes for us. It is in a desirable location close to hospitals, schools, transport and other amenities, enables us to develop affordable housing assets at scale, and most importantly, will deliver strong returns to our members not just in Victoria but nationally,” chief investment officer Damian Graham said in a statement.

The acquisition brings Aware’s commitment to affordable care housing to 1,400 units and AU$900 million.

Source: Aware Super

CHINA

Chinese government agencies including the country's securities regulator and the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on September 24 that all cryptocurrency-related business activities are illegal and vowed to clamp down on illicit activities involving digital currencies.

The agencies said that overseas crypto exchanges would be blocked from providing services to Chinese residents through the internet.

Source: People's Bank of China

HONG KONG

FWD Group has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of American depository shares (ADRs), representing Class A ordinary shares of FWD Group.

FWD first announced its intention to go public back in June. However, the number of ADSs to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering has yet to be determined.

The Asian life insurer could seek to raise about $2 billion to $3 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a Bloomberg report on September 24, which cited people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because it was private. 

Source: Bloomberg

JAPAN

Nippon Life Insurance will acquire all 14.9% of Nippon Wealth Life shares held by US insurer MassMutual International LLC to make Nippon Wealth Life Insurance a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The move is to enhance Nippon Life’s financial institution bancassurance base, the life insurer said in a statement on Sept 22. The acquisition procedures are scheduled to be completed by November this year.

Source: Nippon Life Insurance

Nippon Life has made a 3.5 billion yen ($31.5 million) sustainability-linked loan agreement with Tokyo Century Corporation as a co-arranger, to finance the Japanese lease financing provider in meeting its carbon emission cut targets.

The loan is Nippon Life’s first sustainability-linked loan. The interest rate of the loan is subject to change depending on the companies’ achievement of relevant sustainability performance targets, the life insurer said in an announcement on Sept 24.

Source: Nippon Life Insurance

KOREA

National Pension Service (NPS) and Hines have jointly sealed a $2.5 billion deal to acquire and redevelop the headquarters complex of Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in San Francisco, Hines announced on Sept 21.

NPS and the US real estate investment firm will redevelop the property into two Class-A office buildings of 1.6 million square feet, and a multifamily apartment complex of over 600 units.

As part of the joint venture that NPS and Hines formed last year, this project aims to capture evolving demands by modernizing spaces across the real estate industry, Hines said.

Source: Hines

NPS is hiring five investment managers under two-year contracts in a bid to strengthen investment diversification.

Candidates will be recruited after writing tests and two rounds of interviews from October to December. Results will be announced in mid-December, and they will join NPS in March next year, the pension fund said in an announcement on September 17.  

Source: NPS

Korea Post is seeking two asset managers for a $100 million global private equity mandate, structured as a commingled fund. It will primarily focus on developed markets across North America and Western Europe, the government postal agency says in a brief request for proposal on Sept 16.

The investment period is five years, with the possibility of an extension subject to performance. Applicants must have experience in private equity co-investment strategies.

Source: Asia Asset Management

MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s Securities Commission said it will review the country’s framework for special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs).

“Against growing demand for such vehicles for high-growth companies, the current SPAC framework is being reviewed for greater efficiency,” it said at the launch of its five-year capital market masterplan.

This follows the launch of Singapore’s Spac framework and Hong Kong’s consultation paper on Spacs earlier this month.

Source: Reuters

Malaysia’s largest pension fund, Employees Provident Fund (EPF), recorded RM34.05 billion ($8.14 billion) of total investment income for the first half of the year. This represents an increase of 25%, compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

However, gross investment income for the second quarter of 2021 was RM14.77 billion, lower than RM15.12 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2020.

Equities continued to be the fund’s main contributor of income, accounting for 53% of total gross investment income in the second quarter. Fixed Income accounted for 36% of gross investment income in Q2 2021. As of end-June, the EPF’s investment assets stood at RM989.14 billion, of which 37% was invested overseas.

Source: EPF press release

Government-linked private equity company Ekuinas will allocate a RM10 million ($2.4 million) fund to help 4,000 micro and small bumiputera (native Malay) enterprises hit by the pandemic.

Its chief executive officer, Syed Yasir Arafat Syed Abd Kadir, said RM1.5 million had been disbursed so far to zakat management entities in the states of Selangor, Kedah and Pulau Pinang.

Source: The Edge Markets

Bank Negara Malaysia launched the Malaysia Overnight Rate (MYOR) as the new alternative reference rate for Malaysia.

MYOR will run in parallel to the existing Kuala Lumpur Interbank Offered Rate (KLibor) with periodic reviews to ensure that financial benchmark rates remain reflective of the underlying market.

Alternative benchmarks are being introduced globally as part of reference rate reforms following the global financial crisis.

Source: BNM press release

MIDDLE EAST

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans to announce its first green debt deal soon, its governor said.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan told the audience at a virtual event on Tuesday (September 21): “We will be the first sovereign wealth fund in the world to announce this green issuance.”

Governor Al-Rumayyan said PIF was working with BlackRock on its ESG framework.

Source: Reuters

SINGAPORE

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) plans to raise S$2.6 billion in an inaugural sale of bonds to finance infrastructure projects.

Institutional and retail investors will be able to participate in the September 28 auction of the new SGS (Infrastructure) bonds, which have a 30-year maturity. Their yield will be announced by the central bank an hour after the auction and the bonds will be issued for trade on the secondary market on Oct 1.

Singapore is one of the nine countries in the world with the highest rating by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.

Source: Straits Times

THAILAND

Thailand’s Government Pension Fund (GPF) launched an initiative to encourage institutional investors and banks to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change into their activities. “Sustainable Thailand 2021” was launched alongside the Ministry of Finance, United Nations, Bank of Thailand, Securities and Exchange Commission, Stock Exchange of Thailand and Kasikornbank.

As part of the initiative, 43 institutional investors, banks and associations with assets amounting to THB40.18 trillion ($1.2 trillion), signed a statement of commitment to a new framework for embedding sustainability into their business practices at a roundtable on Monday (27 September).

Source: GPF virtual roundtable