TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK
Australian superannuation fund’s UniSuper and Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund have successfully completed their merger almost one year after having signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the potential merger on December 1 in 2021.
UniSuper and Australian Catholic Superannuation have completed a successor fund transfer, and more than 80,000 Australian Catholic Super members have moved to UniSuper.
As a result of the merger, UniSuper will now manage around A$115 billion ($77.9 billion) in funds on behalf of 620,000 members.
Source: Financial Standard
Meanwhile, the merger of Australian superannuation funds HESTA and Mercy Super has been finalised. Some 13,000 Mercy Super members and their assets have moved to industry fund HESTA in the recently-completed merger, bringing the total funds under management to almost A$70 billion ($47.3 billion).
HESTA and Mercy Super had previously announced in June that they were well progressed with potential discussions, the two signed a successor fund transfer deed with the aim to merge by November 30.
Source: Financial Standard
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and other lawmakers have filed a bill seeking to create a Philippine sovereign wealth fund – the Maharlika Investments Fund (MIF).
The proposed fund would draw money from government pension funds and banks to invest in real and financial assets. It will be managed by the Maharlika Investments Corporation (MIC), a government-owned and -controlled corporation to be created through the measure.
While the idea has run into resistance with many experts, the central bank said the country has more than sufficient foreign exchange reserve that can be set aside for a sovereign wealth fund.
OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS
Five Australian superannuation funds, Hostplus, HESTA, TelstraSuper, UniSuper and NGS Super have participated in a A$30 million ($20.3 million) topping up of Sydney-based semiconductor developer Morse Micro's series B funding round, according to an announcement on November 28.
The investments demonstrate the commitment of Australia’s super funds to diversify their portfolios; building robust assets that will generate positive returns even in an uncertain market. The superannuation funds collectively manage over AU $275 billion in assets on behalf of working-age Australians.
Morse Micro intends to use the capital raised to accelerate IoT connectivity; achieving unprecedented scale and demand for its Wi-Fi HaLow technology.
Chinese ventures of foreign asset managers including JPMorgan, Warburg Pincus, and UBS are gearing up to expand their retirement offerings, as the country officially unveiled a private pension system in late November.
China on November 25 announced a list of 36 cities that can participate in its latest private pension scheme, as the country grapples with a rapidly ageing population, allowing individuals to open retirement accounts at banks to buy pension products ranging from deposits to mutual funds.
China’s sustainable fund market reversed course and drew $1.52 billion of net inflows in the third quarter, thanks to a record 24 fund launches that raised a total $3.65 billion, according to a report by Morningstar.
Although this was a turnaround after investors pulled out a net $1.56 billion through the first half of the year, the inflow in July through September was 80.4% lower than the $7.74 billion which poured into China-domiciled sustainable funds in the third quarter of 2021.
“The majority of [new fund launches] are climate-focused, and the launch of eight new carbon neutrality-themed exchange-traded funds was the main driver of the net inflows during the quarter,” Dean Wang, China’s associate analyst of manager research at Morningstar, says in the report published on November 28.
Source: Asia Asset Management
Hong Kong will introduce a wide range of measures, including tax incentives and regulatory reforms, to lure more international insurers to set up headquarters in the city as part of an effort to compete with Singapore for the crown as the region’s risk-management hub.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu unveiled a road map for the development of the local insurance industry on December 5 at the annual Asian Insurance Forum, saying that he wants to see the city act as the insurance hub for the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the Belt and Road Initiative and projects related to climate change.
Source: South China Morning Post
The central government gave its go-ahead to the Employees State Insurance Corporation to invest up to 15% of its surplus funds into equity through exchange traded funds.
A decision was taken at the meeting of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation headed by Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav, who is the chairman of ESIC.
Source: Business Standard
India’s Finance Ministry has proposed the government issue a single licence for all kinds of insurance. If approved, the licence will apply to both new and existing insurance companies.
The new composite licence will give insurers access to any line of business in the market. Licenced insurers can do business in any segment – life, health, and general – including subclasses such as motor and accident.
The issuing of composite licences could speed up the entry of new firms in India’s insurance industry, driving competition and innovation.
The National Pension Service (NPS) has shortlisted six candidates from the 18 applicants vying to become the next chief investment officer.
The committee will conduct interviews with candidates as early as the first and the second week of December. The CIO selection is expected to be wrapped up as early as January 2023.
The pension fund narrowed the race to two major candidates by mid-November, sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation’s former CIO Park Dae-yang and the Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) ex-CIO Seo Won-joo. However, NPS has chosen four additional candidates for interviews, GEPS’ former CIO Lee Chang-hoon, Koreit Asset Management’s global asset management head Yom Jae-hyeon, STIC Alternative CEO Yang Young-sik and an unknown figure.
Source: Korea Economic Daily
Meanwhile, NPS said it saw a cumulative loss of 7.1% on investment, or W68 trillion ($51.3 billion), between January and September of this year. The assets under management (AUM) of the world’s third-largest pension fund had dropped to W896.6 trillion won as of end-September, according to its preliminary report.
The pension scheme’s alternative assets, making up 16.8% of the AUM, achieved a 16.2% return on investment. Overseas equities, accounting for 27.6%, and overseas bonds, making up 7.8%, respectively had negative 9.5% and positive 6% in profits during the first nine months. Domestic equity, 13.6% of the AUM, and local bonds, 33.8%, respectively posted 25.5% and 7.5% losses on investment in the same period.
The return on alternative investment is highly likely to be adjusted at the end of this year, reflecting fair value. The 16.2% return reflects interest, dividend income and currency translation gains thanks to the strong US dollar versus the Korea won.
FWD Group and Malaysia-based venture capital firm Artem Ventures have launched TIM Ventures, an investment fund that will invest in insuretech and Islamic finance startups in Malaysia.
The partners have seeded TIM Ventures with RM45 million ($10.3 million) in capital.
The New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) will commit up to $45 million (NZ$70 million) to a fund looking to invest in fast-growing, established New Zealand technology companies with the potential to scale to more than NZ$100 million in revenue, according to an announcement on December 5.
The Movac Growth 6 Fund intends to invest in between eight and 12 companies, and expects the bulk of the fund to be deployed over the next five years.
Del Hart, head of external investment and partnerships for the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the NZ Super Fund, said the NZSF had been the largest investor in Movac’s Funds IV and V and the two entities have developed an open and constructive relationship over several years working together.
Temasek has initiated an internal review after it said it would write down its $275 million investment into cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament on November 30.
The internal review will be done by an independent team and is intended "to study and improve its processes, and to draw lessons for the future".
Source: Channel NewsAsia
The depreciation of the New Taiwan dollar has helped boost investment returns at Shin Kong Life Insurance, although its total profits plunged 60% annually amid tumbling financial markets, Shin Kong Financial Holding told an online investors’ conference on November 29.
The life insurer saw its after-hedge recurring yield rise to 3.77% at the end of September, from 2.2% a year earlier, and its after-hedge investment return edged up to 3.87% from 3.86% a year earlier, company data showed.
Source: Taipei Times
There was relative calm among many residents when the Chinese military staged large-scale drills around Taiwan in August, following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island. But while most people did not believe a full-blown conflict was imminent, the threat of war had become too real for some wealthy Taiwanese families.
Some have since been finalising exit plans, with the aim of eventually moving their loved ones, assets and parts of their business operations to Singapore – long a safe haven for firms looking to dodge Beijing’s geopolitical tensions with other governments – according to fund managers and private bankers’ accounts.
Source: South China Morning Post