Insto roundup: Taiwan pension fund returns rebound; UN PRI's CEO steps down

GIC leads funding round for Indian insurer; Taiwan's BLF sees returns rebound; Korea's NPS adds two British investment firms as managers; HKMA to increase allocation to ESG stocks and bonds; US pension fund agency approves $300m to Blackstone Asia PE fund; UN PRI's chief executive steps down; and more
Insto roundup: Taiwan pension fund returns rebound; UN PRI's CEO steps down

The former head of product management for Australia at Vanguard made the move to the A$61 billion ($47.33 billion) industry super fund Cbus.

Andrew Reeve was appointed head of strategy and innovation - investments at Cbus, which is the superannuation industry fund for the construction and building sector. He had spent about five years at Vanguard Australia as head of product management. Prior to joining the US fund manager, he was a senior consultant at JANA.

He joined the Cbus team in Melbourne recently, the super fund confirmed.

Source: Financial Standard

The Morrison government dumped the controversial “kill switch” from its superannuation reforms that would have allowed it to veto certain types of investment decisions by super funds.

On June 4, the Your Future Your Super bill passed the lower house, but only after the Coalition moved amendments prompted by a revolt from Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce and former Liberal turned independent MP Craig Kelly.

The Coalition government had previously proposed reforms to “staple” superannuation members to the first fund they join to prevent account duplication, and create new performance measures that could bar underperforming funds from accepting new members. Most controversial was a proposal to give the government power to make regulations deeming that certain forms of spending and investment are banned because they are not in members’ best interests. 

Source: The Guardian  


China’s finance ministry is considering a proposal to transfer its shares in China Huarong Asset Management and three other bad-debt managers to a new holding company modelled after the one that owns the government's stakes in state-run banks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Policymakers are re-examining the proposal, which was first tabled three years ago, as part of discussions on how to deal with the financial risks posed by Huarong, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Some officials view the creation of a holding company as a step towards separating the government's roles as a regulator and shareholder, streamlining oversight and instilling a more professional management culture at Huarong and its peers, the person said.

Source: Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden's latest executive order lists 59 Chinese companies that are banned from receiving US investment due to suspected ties to defence or surveillance technology sectors. The order prevents US investors from supporting China's military-industrial complex, including military, intelligence and security research and development programs, Biden said in the order.

"I find that the use of Chinese surveillance technology outside the PRC and the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse constitute unusual and extraordinary threats," Biden said.

Source: Nikkei Asia


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which is responsible for investing the city's financial reserves, will place more of its funds in stocks and bonds that adhere to environmental, social and governance (ESG) concepts to achieve better returns, chief executive Eddie Yue Wai-man said.

The HK$4.54 trillion ($585.8 billion) Exchange Fund, the war chest used to defend the local currency from attacks by short-sellers, earned HK$11.6 billion from its investments in the first quarter. The volatile markets saw the fund's earnings fall to HK$235.8 billion last year after posting a record HK$262.2 billion in 2019.

Source: South China Morning Post


Japanese private equity firm Unison Capital established a $500 million India-focused investment vehicle. The fund will invest into quasi-sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)’s fund of funds, as well as make direct investments in partnership with local players to tap local expertise.

It aims to raise around $500 million, primarily from Japanese institutional investors. It is the first independent Japanese investor to enter the South Asian nation.

Source: Nikkei Asia


Norway’s sovereign wealth fund Norfund invested $7.5 million in Indonesian peer-to-peer lender Amartha. The company, which was founded in 2010, focuses on empowering women micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas. It claims to have a loan repayment rate of 99.86%.

Amartha will use the latest fund to extend loans to entrepreneurs who are building their businesses keeping in mind climate change and environmental issues. It also plans to launch savings and microinsurance products.

The latest injection brings Amartha’s total raised so far this year to $85.5 million. Investors include Women’s World Banking and MDI Ventures, Mandiri Capital and UOB Ventures.

Source: DealStreetAsia


Japan’s first ESG-focused global venture capital fund, MPower Partners Fund L.P., was launched on May 31, committing limited partners including Dai-ichi, Sompo Holdings, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Group alongside other global investorsThe target of capital commitments is anticipated to be $150 million.

It will focus on investments into growth-to late-stage Japanese startups, and the remainder into earlier-stage overseas startups, in industries such as healthcare, fintech, next-generation work, education, consumer, and environment. General partners of the fund include former vice chairwoman of Goldman Sachs Kathy Matsui.

Source: PRWeb


The National Pension Service added exposures to timberland and the European mid-market tech sector in the first quarter of this year, adding two British investment firms -- Apax Partners and Stafford Capital Partners -- as its new outside managers, according to its recent public disclosure.

The pension scheme is believed to have committed between $200 million and $300 million to Apax Partners' 10th flagship fund that raised $11 billion at the final close.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily

The board of directors of Samsung Life Insurance approved on May 28 a plan to invest W1.18 trillion won ($1.06 billion) in Samsung SRA Savills Specialized Investment-Type Private Equity Trust through Samsung SRA Asset Management.

The move came after the largest life insurer in Korea acquired a 25% stake in Savills Investment Management, the investment arm of real estate service company Savills on May 27.

Source: Business Korea

Mirae Asset Securities and NH Investment & Securities were sued by Korean institutional investors over the loss of their combined W300 billion ($271 million) investment in the shelved Drew Las Vegas development on May 31, seeking W91.9 billion in compensation.

These unidentified Korean institutions include pension and savings funds. In a separate legal action, three unidentified Korean companies, which likewise participated in the investment, are also preparing to sue Mirae Asset and NH Investment, seeking W40 billion in compensation.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily

Korean Teachers' Credit Union (KTCU) committed £100 million ($142 million) to a UK-focused real estate debt fund as an anchor investor, according to investment banking sources on May 31.

The debt fund is managed by New York-based BentallGreenOak. It has received a combined £170 million in commitments from three Korean institutions, including KTCU, a $30 billion savings fund for school employees.

The blind pool fund, targeting around W1.5 trillion ($1.3 billion), is investing in real estate secured loans of office buildings as well as logistics and data centers in major cities in the UK. It targets an annual return of 9% with an investment period of 10 years.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily


GIC led a Rs12 billion ($164.6 million) pre-IPO funding round Indian insurer Star Health. The Singaporean state investor committed approximately Rs6 billion, while US-headquartered Capital Group participated with Rs3 billion.

Star Health was founded in 2006 and provides health, personal accident and travel insurance. The company is expected raise Rs20 trillion to Rs30 trillion at a $3 billion valuation when it goes public. Sources familiar with the matter said the company was in the process of finalising its IPO documents.

Source: Mint

GIC formed a joint venture with Indian developer Phoenix Mills to establish a retail-led and mixed-use assets investment platform.

The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund will acquire a minority stake in a $733 million portfolio comprising properties in Mumbai and Pune with a total of 3.4 million square feet (315,870 square metres). “GIC has been investing in India for more than a decade and our long-term confidence in the Indian real estate market remains strong,” said GIC CIO of real estate Lee Kok Sun.

GIC previously set up an India retail platform with Phoenix Mills in December 2020. Last week, Phoenix Mills announced a joint venture with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to develop a retail centre in Kolkata.

Sources: GICMingtiandi

Singapore’s GIC led a Series C funding in Indian supply chain tech firm Locus according to a press release shared by the sovereign wealth fund. Venture capital investors Qualcomm Ventures, Tiger Global and Falcon Edge also participated.

The startup will use the latest funding towards product innovation, geographical expansion and talent development. It has offices in the US, UK, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Germany.

Source: PRNewswire

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC invested $75 million in Indian logistics startup Delhivery through its subsidiary Gamnat. The $277 million round was led by US fund house Fidelity and also saw the participation of UK investor Ballie Gifford and Abu Dhabi’s Chimera.

The latest funding brings Delhivery’s valuation to $3 billion. The unicorn company announced it was looking to raise go public in 2021 or 2022.

Source: DealStreetAsia

Temasek invested in subsidiary asset management company SeaTown’s new $1 billion private capital fund. The fund was set up to invest in growth-stage opportunities globally and began deploying funds in January 2020. Its investments include GoTo, the new entity formed by the merger between Indonesian unicorns Gojek and Tokopedia.

SeaTown is part of Seviora Holdings, established in October 2020 to group Temasek’s four asset management companies, which also include Azalea Investment Management, Fullerton Fund Management Company and InnoVen Capital.

Source: DealStreetAsia

Temasek invested in Chinese IT company Xforceplus Information Technology in an extended Series C round. The latest funding brings the company’s total raised in its Series C round to $200 million. Temasek previously led a $100 million first Series C tranche in 2019. Other investors include the US’s Dragoneer Investment Group and China’s Hillhouse Capital and Eastern Bell Capital.          

Xforceplus’s services include supply chain information and VAT invoice management solutions. The company said it would use the latest injection for client acquisition, collaborations, and research and development.

Source: DealStreetAsia


The pension funds overseen by the Bureau of Labor Funds (BLF) rebounded in the first four months of 2021 with an investment gain of NT$274 billion ($9.86 billion) after losing NT$316.6 billion in the same period last year, when global markets plunged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This translates into a 6.07% return on investment in January through April, compared with a loss of 6.9% in the year-ago period, the BLF said in a statement on June 1. The eight pension and annuity funds under the state pension provider recorded a combined investment gain of NT$89 billion in April, bringing their total assets to NT$4.78 trillion.


The Bank of Thailand hired German technology company Giesecke+Devrient to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) prototype, as part of its plans to launch a CBDC within three to five years.

The bank has allocated Bt10 million ($320,000) for the project. In April 2021, it begun accepting public feedback on its retail CBDC, with an end date of June 15. Retail CBDCs are digital extensions of a nation's currency, unlike wholesale CBDCs which refer to interbank settlement infrastructure.

Source: Coindesk


Fiona Reynolds, UN PRI

UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PR) chief executive officer Fiona Reynolds announced she was stepping down from her role on Monday (June 7).

In a post on PRI's website, Reynolds said: “Today, with the PRI’s new three-year strategy in place and the organisation in a strong position to carry its mission forward, I’m writing to let you know that I have made the decision to step down as CEO."

Reynolds intends to return to her native Australia to be with her family, noted PRI chairman Martin Skancke. He added that the environmental, social and governance-focused agency, which counts many global asset owners as signatories, would commence a search for her successor and that she would help PRI to "ensure a seamless transition".   

Source: UN PRI

Minnesota State Board of Investments, the agency responsible for the investment management of various state retirement funds, approved a $300 million commitment to US investor Blackstone’s second Asia-focused private equity fund, Blackstone Capital Partners Asia II.

The fund is targeting a $6 billion final close and will invest in large-scale control buyouts of growth businesses in India, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, and Southeast Asia. It reached a first close of $3.1 billion in April, exceeding the $2.4 billion it raised for its first Asia-focused private equity fund in 2018.

The allocation is part of $1.35 billion approved in May by Minnesota SBI toward private markets commitments. In February, Minnesota SBI also committed $150 million to KKR’s fourth Asia-focused buyout vehicle, KKR Asian Fund IV. As of December 31, 2019, Minnesota SBI’s assets have a market value of $104.3 billion.

Source: DealStreetAsia

A new initiative backed by 13 institutional investors and stewardship service providers, including Singapore’s GIC and Taiwan's Cathay Financial Holdings, has been launched to engage Asian utility companies on climate change.

It will focus on engaging with five high-emitting utilities in the first year. These are China Resources Power Holdings (China), CLP Holdings (Hong Kong), Chubu Electric Power(Japan), Electric Power Development Co. (Japan) and Tenaga Nasional (Malaysia). The programme, coordinated by the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, aims to help them cut emissions, strengthen disclosure and improve governance of climate-related risks.

BNP Paribas Asset Management, Fidelity International and Amundi Asset Management are also among the 13 participants, which collectively represent $8.8 trillion in assets under management.

Source: AIGCC

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