AUSTRALIA 

Axa Investment Management Real Assets, Allianz Real Estate, Dutch pensions group APG and Scape Australia combined to acquire Australian student accomodation business Urbanest’s A$2 billion ($1.36 billion) student housing portfolio.

Announcing the deal, Axa IM Real Assets said the joint venture, called Australian Student Accommodation Program Joint Venture, had agreed to buy the portfolio of Urbanest for an undisclosed sum. Its property portfolio comprises 6,805 beds across 14 operational assets located in four major Australian cities. 

Source: IPE Real Assets

JAPAN

Hiromichi Mizuno, the chief investment officer of the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), criticised the “short-termism” of short sellers, after some market participants criticised the fund's decision to suspend stock lending on December 3.

Hiromichi Mizuno, GPIF

"I never met a short seller who has a long-term perspective, Mizuno told the Financial Times, although he conceded that short-selling can help improve market efficiency. 

The $1.6 trillion GPIF's decision have prompted some of the world's largest asset managers to consider whether to follow its lead, which could cause a potential “domino effect” that could cause the GPIF’s move to shake global markets.

Source: Financial Times 

The Financial Services Agency is expected to slap administrative penalties on the Japan Post Holdings group by the end of December over inappropriate insurance sales practices by Japan Post Insurance Co. and Japan Post, sources have said.

On December 6, the FSA informed the Japan Post Holdings units of the results of its on-site inspections and urged them to report on the problem. Both Japan Post Insurance and Japan Post are expected to release reports on their in-house investigations shortly.

Based on the reports, the FSA will announce punishments on the two firms to try and prevent any recurrence of the wrongdoing and clarifying the responsibility of management. The insurance sales irregularities by the two firms are seen to have placed policyholders at a disadvantage in some 183,000 contracts. 

Source: Japan Times

KOREA

US-based Greystar Real Estate Partners and Germany’s Patrizia have won a $100 million mandate from Korea Post to invest in the housing sector, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on December 13.

Korea Post will commit $50 million each to the two management companies in its first investment in funds targeting multi-family, senior and student housing assets in developed countries. The mandate size was halved from the originally planned $200 million for an undisclosed reason.

Source: Korean Investors

The Bank of Korea is looking to hire digital currency and crypto-asset experts who will be in charge of researching digital payment innovation and blockchain. However, it denied that it was planning to launch an official cryptocurrency for the nation. 

“There is no change in the existing position that there is no need to issue a CBDC [central bank digital currency] for the time being,” said a spokesman.

Source: Yahoo! Financeedaily.co.kr

MALAYSIA

Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund posted RM13.5 billion ($3.26 billion) in total investment income for the third quarter ended September 30, a 7.6% loss from a year ago.

The public pension fund’s deputy chief executive for investment, Nasir Latif, said in a statement that the gains from the domestic equity portfolio – about RM2.57 billion – was dented by weak earnings growth in the Malaysian stock market, which declined 5.3%.

"Emerging markets continued to feel the heat from the escalating US-China trade war. Asian markets remained volatile, with Hong Kong's stock market being the weakest. In Asean [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations], Singaporean and Thai equity markets underperformed, Indonesia's came under pressure from a strong US dollar while China's market was only prevented from weakening further by Beijing's stimulus measures,” he said.

Source: The Edge Markets

MIDDLE EAST

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has agreed to buy 25.1% of India’s Adani Electricity Mumbai (AEM) from Adani Transmission for around Rp32 billion ($450 million).

AEM is the licensee for an integrated power distribution, transmission and generation business that serves around 3 million consumers in area of around 400 square kilometres in Mumbai. AEM’s market share in the city is about 67% by consumers served and 55% by electricity supplied, the statement said.

As part of the transaction, Adani Transmission and sovereign wealth fund QIA have agreed plans to ensure that at least 30% of the electricity supplied by AEML is sourced from solar and wind power plants by 2023.

Source: Livemint

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC agreed to buy 28 distribution facilities for about €950 million ($1.1 billion) from Apollo Global Management, further expanding its existing European logistics platform, P3 Logistic Parks.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. The portfolio of assets GIC will be taking over are located in core logistics hubs in countries including Austria, Belgium and Germany. P3 will be responsible for the management of these properties.

The logistic parks now have 230 buildings spanning 5.3 million square metres of lettable area, with 1.2 million square metres of space in the pipeline across 13 countries.

Source: Mingtiandi

GIC established a $412.4 million shopping centre joint venture with RPT Realty, according to the US real estate investment trust’s announcement.

The Singapore sovereign wealth fund is investing an intitial $118.3 million in cash for a 48.5% interest in the newly created RPT-GIC Venture. RPT Realty, which owns and operates a portfolio of shopping centres in the US, will be seeding the joint venture with a set of five open-air retail assets in Florida, Missouri and Michigan valued at $244 million. The firm will retain a 51.5% stake in the partnership.

GIC is also committing up to $200 million in additional capital over the next three years to fund the joint venture’s potential acquisitions of grocery-anchored shopping centres in the US, primarily in second and third tier cities.

Source: Mingtiandi

TAIWAN

Taiwan insurance firms are required to set up special teams to prepare for the implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 17 in 2025, said Wellington Koo, chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC).

The regulator has also commissioned the Taiwan Insurance Institute to set up special teams with the relevant units to help insurers adopt the new accounting standard, which better reflects the fair values of insurers’ assets and liabilities.

Source: The Central News Agency

REST OF WORLD

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas announced that Jerry Albright – its chief investment officer, who had proposed the $153 billion fund’s upcoming Singapore office – is stepping down.

Jerry Albright, Texas TRS

Deputy CIO Jase Auby, who has been at since 2009, will succeed Albright, who said he planned to enjoy his retirement and devote more time to his personal love.

Albright, who oversaw the opening of Texas TRS’s London branch in 2015, will continue to serve on the internal investment committee for up to one year as senior managing director of global investment initiatives.

Source: Chief Investment Officer

After firing almost all of its external active equity managers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) is investing nearly $14 billion into internally run equity index strategies, shows pension plan data prepared for its December 16 investment committee meeting.

The $380 billion fund’s move included putting $1.2 billion into an emerging markets large- and mid-cap index strategy and $145,000 into an emerging markets small-cap index strategy.

Calpers also put $8 billion into an index fund representing the broad US stock market, the so-called US Total Market Index 3000 Strategy, $4 billion into an international developed large- and mid-cap index strategy and $485,000 into an international developed countries small-cap index strategy.

Source: Chief Investment Officer