Leo de Bever's retirement prompted momentous changes at the
Alberta Investment Management Corp.
It’s been a busy year for sovereign wealth
fund executives. We’ve seen a shake-up at the top
China Investment Corp. (CIC), the launch of an
entirely new fund in
Mexico , and new hires at
Future Fund and
Khazanah Nasional , among others. And a
momentous change of leadership at Alberta Investment
Management Corp. Here’s a roundup of
all the moves from the first quarter 2015.
CIC’s Management Shake Up
On February 25, the People's Bank of China (PBoC),
the country's central bank, appointed Fan Yifei,
CIC’s executive vice president, deputy chief
operating officer and executive committee member, as its new
vice chairman; he will now divide his time between the two
institutions, an unusual arrangement whose implications China
experts are still trying to decipher.
The $652.7 billion CIC has long had a high staff
turnover — much to the frustration of many of its
outside asset managers, who must deal with a constantly
rotating roster of counterparts at the state-owned investor.
Sovereign Wealth Center has already recorded several staff
departures in 2015.
In January, Olivia Ouyang, CIC’s head
of emerging markets private equity, joined Canada's $130
billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan as director
of funds and co-investments at its Hong Kong office. Liu
Yangyang, CIC’s former head of oil and gas special
investments, also moved from Beijing to Hong Kong, where he
will head up an office for Washington, D.C.-based EIG Global
Energy Partners, an investment firm focused on oil and gas and
renewable energy financing.
The pair followed Zheng Kongdong out of the door.
The former head of CIC’s Department of Public
Equity reportedly resigned from CIC in late-2014. Zheng had led
a team responsible for direct equity investments and
allocations to external long-only managers. Larry Zhang has
served as acting head of the department since Zheng's departure
was announced internally.
Mexico’s New Fund
In Mexico, the government overcame sustained and
at times chaotic
political opposition to launch a new sovereign wealth fund,
Fondo Mexicano del Petróleo para la
Estabilización y el Desarrollo (FMP), on January 1.
Mexico City-based Julio Santaella, head of FMP’s
executive committee, a department of the Banco de
México, the nation’s central bank, is
responsible for the fund’s day-to-day
Until the fund collects oil revenue equivalent to
4.7 percent of Mexico’s GDP, its role will
resemble that of a fiscal agency. Specifically, it will handle
payments to external contractors and the
government’s main budget. Santaella is in charge
of overseeing these fiscal responsibilities. The fund, with
negligible assets for the moment, plans to appoint a dedicated
investment team to handle asset management before it collects
enough capital to begin investing. That probably
won’t be until 2016.
New Aimco Leadership
From 2008 until his retirement earlier this year,
Leo de Bever served as CEO and CIO of the Alberta Investment
Management Corp. (AIMCo), which manages C$80 billion ($63.9
billion) for 27 pension and endowment funds based in the
Canadian province, including sovereign wealth vehicle the
Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund (AHSTF). He certainly
went out on a high note: For the year ended March 31, 2014,
AHSTF delivered an annual return of 16 percent. The
trust’s five-year return through that date was an
impressive 12.7 percent on an annualized basis.
Concurrent with de Bever’s departure,
AIMCo shifted its management structure somewhat. Kevin
Uebelein, the organization’s new CEO, joined from
Smithfield, Rhode Island-based Pyramis Global Advisors, an
asset management firm, where he was president and CEO. Pyramis
is a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments, the Boston-based
financial juggernaut. Dale MacMaster, the new CIO, was promoted
from his previous position as head of AIMCo’s
public market investment team. Both Uebelein and MacMaster
assumed their new roles in January.
New Tanzania Office for Oman’s SGRF
Also in January, the
State General Reserve Fund of the Sultanate of Oman (SGRF),
the country's biggest sovereign wealth fund with $34.4 billion
in assets under management, opened an office in Dar Es Salaam,
Tanzania. SGRF says the office will enable it to capitalize on
investment opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa,
particularly in East African infrastructure. The new office
will be headed up by Mohamed al-Tooqi, who was previously head
of treasury at Muscat-based Petroleum Development Oman, an
exploration and production company that is majority-owned by
Khazanah Hires M&A Specialist
On February 12, Malaysia's $41.6 billion Khazanah
hired a new mergers and acquisitions specialist, Patrick Lau,
as part of an effort to build up its in-house deal-making
expertise. Lau joined from CCB International, the Hong
Kong-based investment services arm of China Construction Bank
Corp., where he was assistant head of investment banking. At
Khazanah, Lau now leads a team that focuses on both foreign
direct investment opportunities and domestic co-investments
with overseas partners.
Future Fund Taps Infrastructure Head
On March 20, Australia's
Future Fund , with $95.4 billion in assets under
management, appointed Wendy Norris as head of infrastructure
and timberland, where she will manage an A$8 billion ($6
billion) portfolio. The post has been vacant since September
2014, when previous incumbent Raphael Arndt was promoted to
chief investment officer of the fund. Norris has been a
director at the fund's Infrastructure and Timberland team since
2010, and previously worked at Hastings Fund Management, a
specialist infrastructure investment firm, in New York.