Government Fund Weekly News Roundup — 7th Annual Meeting of the IFSWF

October 02, 2015 by Loch Adamson

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Milan's Hotel Principe di Savoia, where IFSWF held its annual meeting.

Representatives of the world’s largest state investors met in Milan for the 7th annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) this week. QIA and GIC remain bullish on U.S. commercial property. And ADIC and SAMA are banking on the South Korean economy.

IFSWF Announces Changes to the Board

The 7th annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF), the representative association of largest state-owned investors, wound down in Milan yesterday, October 1. Members of IFSWF discussed several issues affecting long-term investment, including the European infrastructure financing gap and how to reshape the institutional investment industry. Sovereign wealth fund delegates also debated issues such as government ownership and the guiding role of the so-called Santiago Principles, a set of voluntary guidelines agreed in 2008 by the original 24 founders of IFSWF. 

The association introduced its new Chair for next three years: Adrian Orr, CEO of New Zealand Superannuation Fund. Majed al-Romaithi, chairman of the management committee at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, will take on the role of Deputy Chair of IFSWF. The organization also announced the appointment of three new board members: Li Keping, Vice Chairman, President and CIO of China Investment Corp., Deanna Ong, managing director of Singapore’s GIC and Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Bin Saud al-Thani, CEO of Qatar Investment Authority.

GIC and QIA Snap Up Commercial Real Estate in U.S.

Singapore’s GIC and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) are both bullish on U.S. real estate. GIC unveiled an investment with Santa Monica, California-based property firm Macerich Co.; QIA revealed an investment with a unit of New York-based credit market specialist Apollo Global Management. GIC agreed to purchase a 40 percent stake in a joint venture with Macerich. The Singaporean fund will now own a stake in five U.S. malls: Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, Arizona; Lakewood and Los Cerritos Center in California; Washington Square in Portland, Oregon; and South Plains Mall in Lubbock, Texas. 

Qatar Holding, the direct investment arm of QIA, spent $348 million to acquire 8.82 million ordinary shares and 8 million preferred shares of the $2.1 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance. The REIT will focus on investing in North American commercial mortgages and other property-related debt investments. QIA opened its first U.S. office in New York on Monday September 27 to source more deals in North America.  

ADIC and SAMA Rumored to Back Korean Woori Bank

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, after withdrawing between $50 and $70 billion from external managers in the last six months, is reportedly in talks with the South Korean government to buy a 4 percent stake in Seoul-based Woori Bank. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council also submitted a letter of intent to acquire a 10 percent stake in the bank. The Korean government is planning to sell a third of its 48 percent stake early next year at a price of 10,000 won ($8.40) per share, although the bank stock is now trading at only KRW 9,000 ($7.56) per share. 

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