TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK

Ping An Insurance Group posted a 31.2% fall in third-quarter net profit on October 27 as its premium income shrank on a weak economy and profit was dented by losses on investment assets.

Net profit fell to Rmb 23.6 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) in the three months ending September 30, compared with 34.4 billion in the year-earlier period, according to an exchange filing.

It marks the company's worst quarterly profit fall since the first quarter of 2020.

Ping An's insurance business and investment returns have been hit by weakness in China's economy, which posted its slowest growth in a year in the third quarter as power shortages and property sector worries took a toll.

Source: ReutersPing An 

Aware Super is increasingly looking towards renewable energy assets as its chief investment officer (CIO) Damian Graham welcomes the government’s net-zero commitments.

Graham told the Australian Financial Review that superannuation funds’ long-term horizons have driven them to take climate risks seriously and that Aware Super views the climate transition as “a significant financial risk”.

The fund has invested A$1 billion into renewable energy investments including battery technology and recycling, and plans to invest A$150 million annually into the sector.

Source: Australian Financial Review

The Korean Teachers' Credit Union (KTCU) denied a recent news report that it will become Korea’s first pension fund to invest in bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), saying it “has no plans to invest in bitcoin-related ETFs”.

The statement came a day after the Korea Economic Daily on Oct 25 said the pension fund is expected to start investing in the first half of next year, with size and other details yet to be decided, citing industry sources.

Source: Korean Teachers' Credit UnionThe Korea Economic Daily

A consortium backed by hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng and Temasek Holdings has issued a rival bid for Singapore Press Holding’s (SPH) real estate business.

Cuscaden Peak, a consortium comprising Ong’s Hotel Properties, and Temasek-backed Mapletree Investments and CLA Real Estate Holdings, has proposed a S$2.10 per share offer.

SPH had earlier received an offer from Keppel Corp for S$2.099 per share, bringing the deal value to S$2.2 billion. Temasek owns 20% of Keppel.

Source: Bloomberg

Nippon Life Insurance plans to reduce holdings of foreign bonds that are not currency-hedged in the six months leading to March, a top investment planning executive said on October 25.

The insurer expects the yen to strengthen to around 108 per dollar on the view that markets’ US inflation and rate hike expectations are overdone, Shinichi Okamoto, executive officer, finance and investment planning, told a news conference.

Source: Reuters

 

MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:

AUSTRALIA

The NZ Super Fund, ACC, Government Super Fund and National Provident Fund have welcomed the introduction of the Crown Responsible Investment Framework, announced on Thursday (October 28) by the government.

In response to the framework the institutions have committed to transitioning their investment portfolios, which collectively total more than NZ$100 billion, to be aligned with a net zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner.

Source: NZ Super

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a guide for cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs), effectively giving them the green light.

The rulings come after the launch of two Bitcoin ETFs in the US last week, and will apply to ETFs that invest in cryptocurrencies as well as other related assets such as mining pools and crypto exchanges.

Source: Yahoo Finance

CHINA

China's securities regulator on October 30 published rules for initial public offerings, refinancing and supervision for the newly-announced Beijing Stock Exchange.

Along with related normative documents, these rules are set to come into effect from November 15, according to a statement on the official website of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The securities regulator had solicited public opinions on the rules before the release. It has adopted all constructive opinions on protecting the rights and interests of small and medium investors, boosting listed companies' operation capabilities and improving information disclosure, the statement said.

China has decided to build the Beijing bourse into a primary platform for innovation-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises as the capital market evolves to meet the financing needs of various entities.

Source: China Daily; CSRC

State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio increased its investment in Alibaba Group and cut positions in Netflix, Bank of America, and Intel in the third quarter.

STRS Ohio, as the pension is known, disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Barron's

ASIA

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) planned to fully align its operations with the Paris Agreement climate goals by July 1, 2023.

The bank said it currently expects to approve $50 billion in climate finance-related projects by 2030, a four-fold increase in annual climate finance commitments since it started publically reporting the number in 2019.

The news comes days before policymakers meet in Glasgow for the next round of global climate talks, with countries being urged to accelerate efforts to cap global warming amid concerns the world was some way from hitting its goals.

Source: Reuters

INDIA

CLP India — a diversified low-carbon energy provider jointly owned by the CLP Group and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) — has rebranded to Apraava Energy.

Along with the rebrand, Apraava Energy announced a formal commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and is working on a measurable, science-based emissions reduction objective that will be validated by SBTi within the next 12 months.

Apraava Energy aims to positively impact two million lives by 2025 through its community investments. The major focus will be on climate actions, including mass tree plantation, care for biodiversity and clean air through crop residue management initiatives.

Since its inception in 2002, Apraava Energy has issued 13.14 million units of carbon offsets, which equates to avoidance of 13.14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission to atmosphere. The company also aims to strengthen water conservation efforts across all its renewable energy plant operations.

Source: CDPQ

INTERNATIONAL

Barclays chief executive James Edward "Jes" Staley is stepping down following an investigation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over his links disgraced financier and infamous sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The bank said its board reached an agreement over Staley’s resignation after being notified on Friday of the preliminary conclusions in an investigation by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority into how Staley had characterised his relationship with Epstein to Barclays. It added that the investigation did not make any findings that Staley “saw, or was aware of, any of Mr. Epstein’s alleged crimes” and that it was “disappointed” with the outcome.

Barclays said that the outgoing chief executive plans to challenge the investigation’s findings.

Source: The New York Times

AXA, France's biggest insurer, announced last Friday that it would tighten its policy regarding investing in and insuring the oil and gas sector.

The announcement came just days before global leaders began to meet in Scotland for the COP26 climate summit, following growing calls from bodies including the United Nations for new fossil fuel projects to be stopped to help combat global warming.

AXA said it would stop investing in and underwriting new upstream greenfield oil exploration projects, with the exception of those carried out by companies with the most impactful and credible energy transition plans.

The insurer also increased its target for "green investments” to 26 billion euros ($30.3 billion) by 2023, up from the 24 billion euro target it announced at the end of 2020.

Source: Reuters

JAPAN

Sumitomo Life Insurance has invested in a 10-year Feed Africa Bond issued by African Development Bank at AUD 40 million ($30 million) to support Africa to increase food productivity, the life insurer said on Oct 27.

The African Development Bank’s Feed Africa strategy has specific goals such as eliminating extreme poverty and hunger and making Africa a net food exporter.

Source: Sumitomo Life Insurance

KOREA

National Pension Service returned 9.65% in the eight months ended August this year. Its assets under management were 930.5 trillion won ($790.8 billion) as of Aug 31.

By assets, domestic stocks returned 12.29%, foreign stocks gained 24.87%, domestic bonds returned 0.14%, foreign bonds gained 6.67%. Alternative investments recorded a return of 8.46%.

The rising bond yields and a weaker won have translated to good returns in bonds and alternative investments, the world’s third-largest pension fund said on Oct 29.

Source: NPS

Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) is looking for three asset managers for a 300 billion won ($255 million) active global equity mandate structured as a discretionary fund.

The tender is open to Korean fund houses and international managers with offices in Korea, GEPS says in a request for proposal on Oct 25. Applications are open until November 19, with due diligence and manager selection scheduled by December 16.

Source: Asia Asset Management

Korea Post Savings is seeking a domestic hedge fund manager for a 110 billion won ($93 million) hedge fund mandate for three years, it said on Oct 25.

The asset manager will be responsible for building a hedge fund portfolio, and provide advisory services, including performance measurement, portfolio management, and foreign exchange hedging.

Source: Asia Asset Management; Korea Post

MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance has announced the country’s largest budget of RM332.1 billion for 2022.

Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) both expressed support for the budget.

KWAP chief executive Nik Amlizan Mohamed said the civil service pension fund manager believed the budget would support citizens, and that it was heartened by the rising focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG).

Meanwhile, EPF said in a statement that it believed the budget would help with economic recovery and improve employment, which would aid Malaysian citizens in rebuilding their retirement fund.

Source: New Straits Times, The Edge Markets

A firm wholly owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad has participated in a seed funding round for agritech firm Poladrone.

Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), which is owned by the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, participated in the $4.29 million seed round led by Wavemaker Partners. It is reportedly the largest seed round raised in Malaysia.

Poladrone uses drones, automation and analytics to change the way pesticides are sprayed on oil palm crops. The firm operates in Malaysia and Thailand, and plans to expand into Indonesia.

Source: TechCrunch

SINGAPORE

Temasek Holdings has set up 65 Equity Partners, a new investment vehicle targeting local firms valued at $1 billion to $5 billion.

The fund currently has $6.1 billion assets under management and will focus on equity investments in established firms with regional or global aspirations.

The platform will target deal sizes of $100 million to $200 million across Southeast Asia, Europe and the US.

Source: Reuters

Greentech firm Envision has announced a $1 billion investment by GIC, Sequoia, and Primavera Capital, hailing it one of the largest net-zero investments that would accelerate the pace of energy transition.

"Envision is a fast-growing and global leading renewables and greentech company with the depth and breadth of products in the renewable energy space that would make a significant impact to the world's demand for decarbonisation,” Ang Eng Seng, CIO of infrastructure at GIC, said in a statement.

“As a long-term global investor, we look forward to working with Envision on its various cleantech ecosystems, including new wind farms and energy transition assets across the markets,” he said.

Source: Envision Group