Insto roundup: Korea Post picks managers for foreign alts; BLF cuts scandal-ridden managers

Aware Super acquires 25% of retirement business; India's NIIF competes with offshore investors to buy high infrastructure; Korea Post looking to hire two domestic managers for foreign alternatives portfolio; Taiwan's BLF terminates two fund managers implicated in bribery scandal from mandate and more.
Insto roundup: Korea Post picks managers for foreign alts; BLF cuts scandal-ridden managers


Aware Super has agreed to acquire a 25% interest worth an estimated A$460 million ($362 million) in Lendlease’s retirement living business. The acquisition gives the superannuation fund a stake in Lendlease’s 75 retirement villages that house 16,000 residents in Australia.  

Lendlease, one of Australia’s largest owners of retirement villagers, will hold a 50% interest in the business, and the remaining 25% will be held by Dutch pension asset manager, APG Asset Management. Aware is also invested in Lendlease's urbanisation projects in the US, such as Chicago, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald


Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate arm of Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), has signed an agreement with Indian real estate developer Embassy Group to set up a commercial office platform.

The 80:20 joint venture will be seeded with $150 million from Ivanhoé Cambridge and $30 million from Embassy Group and develop greenfield office projects across India, primarily in Bengaluru, where Embassy is based. It has a development timeline of five years and the platform will be set up as an alternative investment fund.

Source: DealStreetAsia

India's National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has appointed former Morgan Stanley executive director Ami Momaya as partner.

Momaya, who was with the US group's infrastructure investment management division, will join the sovereign fund in May. NIIF is backed by sovereign wealth funds including Temasek and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and manages $4.4 billion across an infrastructure fund, a fund of funds and a private equity fund.

Its infrastructure focused Master Fund reached a final close of $2.34 billion in December 2020 and its fund of funds raised $100 million from the New Development Fund in February, bringing its total commitments to $800 million.

Source: Bloomberg

NIIF is competing with infrastructure investors Brookfield and Actis to acquire highways infrastructure firm Ashoka Concessions. The deal has an implied equity value of around $350 million.

Ashoka Concessions is 61% owned by parent company Ashoka Buildcon; the remaining is held by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, which acquired the 39% stake through its infrastructure fund for Rs80 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2012.

Ashoka Concessions’s roads portfolio comprises 15 assets, including six operational BOT toll projects, one operational BOT annuity project and eight under-construction hybrid annuity projects.

Source: Mint


GIC-backed Indonesian online travel start-up Traveloka plans to list in the US via a special-purpose acquisition company (Spac) in 2021.

Investors in the unicorn, valued at $2.75 billion as of July 2020, include Expedia Group, Rocket Internet SE, and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. Traveloka may consider listing in Indonesia at a later stage, the firm’s CEO said.

Ride-hailing company Gojek and e-commerce platform Tokopedia are also said to be considering a dual listing in the US and Indonesia of a combined entity after they finalise the merger discussions.

Source: Business Times, Bloomberg


Dai-ichi Life Insurance extended a ¥1.8 billion ($16.92 million) five-year sustainability-linked loan to seafood producer Thai Union Group Public to help fight illegal fishing. 

The Thai firm, which is active in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, has been a constituent of the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for seven consecutive years.

The interest rate on the loan will be calculated based on key performance indicators, determined by whether Thai Union can help the insurer maintain its ranking in the same indices and achieve its greenhouse gas reduction target. Tokyo-based Dai-ichi Life had ¥39.18 trillion of total assets as of December 2020.

Source: Asia Asset Management


Korea Post is looking to hire two domestic discretionary managers for its foreign alternative investment portfolio. The firms will help set up dedicated investment vehicles and collaborate with advisory and research organisations to support Korea Post’s global alternative investments, including real estate and infrastructure.

The managers will be appointed for three-year terms. Applications are open until March 2 and manager selection is scheduled for April.

Korea Post had around 6% of its $106 billion of total assets in alternative assets at the end of 2019, according to its annual report for that year. The postal agency had around $121.8 billion of total assets as of end-2020 but data on the share in alternatives has yet to be released.

Source: Asia Asset Management


Singapore state investor Temasek has backed Canadian clean energy provider Eavor in the startup’s latest $40 million funding round. Existing investor Vickers Venture Partners also participated in the round, as did new investors Chevron Technology Ventures, BP Ventures, BDC Capital and Eversource.

The company’s technology allows scalable use of geothermal energy. The new funding would be used for research ways to lower its costs of supplying clean energy. In May 2020 it received $11.4 million in gross proceeds from the exercise of share purchase warrants issued in 2018 and 2019.

Temasek’s recent investments in clean energy include a $500-million green energy platform in India in partnership with private equity firm EQT and its leading of a $84 million round in US-based Commonwealth Fusion Systems.

Source: DealStreetAsia

Temasek has increased its stake in Chinese grocery shopping app Xingsheng Youxuan, investing $100 million in in the startup’s latest funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Tencent Holdings, KKR, Primavera Capital Group and FountainVest Partners also participated in the $2 billion round which valued the company at $5 billion.

Hunan-headquartered Xingsheng Youxuan allows community groups to save money by coordinating bulk orders of fresh food and other daily necessities. It competes with rivals such as Beijing MissFresh Ecommerce and Beijing Dmall E-commerce, which are also seeing a surge in fundraising. However, regulators in December said they would increase oversight of the community group buying sector.

Source: Bloomberg


Taiwan’s Bureau of Labor Funds (BLF) has terminated Fuh Hwa Securities' and Uni-President Asset Management’s shares of a NT$35 billion mandate following the firms' involvement in a bribery scandal linked to a former senior BLF official, and will manage the money internally.

The government charged 11 employees of Fuh Hwa and Uni-President plus Capital Investment on February 8 for allegedly colluding with Yu Nai-wen, the BLF’s former domestic division head, to rig stock prices with the pension fund’s money over the last two years.

Fuh Hwa and Uni-President were among seven local firms that won the NT$35 billion domestic equity tender in November.

Source: The Storm Media

Fubon Life Insurance has committed $65 million to New York-based Tiger Global’s $3.75 billion venture fund.

Source: DealStreetAsia


US state pension funds are continuing to push into Chinese private market investments in the hope of big returns, despite the regulatory risk highlighted by Ant Group’s initial public offering being pulled in November.

In the wake of the decision, some of the appointed bureaucrats and local union leaders who make up state pension boards across the US have found themselves fretting over the sensitivities of Chinese government officials. But so far, they have decided not to make any major changes.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Transport for London’s pension fund has invested in Chinese technology firms accused of facial recognition software to single out Uighur muslims, and Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to divest the holdings.

Pension details shows the UK public-sector retirement fund allocated £35 million ($49.2 million) to Alibaba and £25 million to Tencent, companies linked to the persecution of the minority muslim population in China’s Xinjiang province.

Alibaba has been accused of developing facial recognition software to target the persecuted minority, while Tencent also developed an app to single Uighurs out.

Source: The Sun

Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, a UK’s largest public-sector pension pool with assets of £46 billion ($64.6 billion), has committed $94 million to KKR Asian Fund IV.

It is an Asia-focused buyout fund run by US private equity firm KKR targeting upper mid-market and large cap companies. The investment is part of a total allocation of £370 million to five private equity funds made by Border to Coast.

Source: Border to Coast Pensions Partnership

US multi-employer pension plans had an aggregate funded percentage of 88% as of December 31, 2020, their highest level since the end of 2007, according to actuarial and consulting firm Milliman. The figure is up from 85% at the end of 2019, as the market recovery exceeded expectations last year after the pandemic.

However, the aggregate funded percentage at the end of 2020 for the 124 ‘critical and declining’ plans was only 34%. That is less than half of what it was for the same plans at the end of 2007 (74%).

Source: Milliman

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