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Weekend Giants Reading, February 28–March 2, 2014

Here are the top stories from the past week down on the Ave of Giants. (Pictured: the late Joseph Dear, former CIO of Calpers)

Here are some of the top stories from the Avenue of Giants for your weekend reading:

  • New SWFs I: West Virginia's Senate unanimously approved the creation of a new "Future Fund."
  • New SWFs II:  All of PNG's LNG revenues will go to the country's new SWF. ALL of it? I sure hope the fund's governance is buttoned up...
  • New SWFs III: Ghana's resource wealth appears to be getting lost on its way over to the new sovereign wealth funds... Sigh. 
  • In-Sourcing: Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler thinks he can save the state $2.8 billion over a 20-year period by investing more in house. I think that's a brilliant idea. 
  • Co-Investments: Looks like Japan's GPIF will finally roll out its infrastructure collaboration with OMERS.
  • Divestments: NBIM divested out of 27 miners in 2013 and will continue to review the sector for more divestment in 2014.
  • SDF: There are quite a few interesting details here on Ireland's new SDF and its current plans. 
  • Whistling: Oman's State General Reserve Fund is upping its governance game with some new, favorable whistleblower policies.
  • Bubble Trouble: The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and AustralianSuper are warning of an asset bubble in brownfield infrastructure.
  • Asset Allocation: Congrats to New Mexico for successfully dramatizing a rather boring and obvious allocation decision: "It was a super exciting finish." Indeed.
  • Musical Chairs: The Future Fund’s David Neal is apparently too good at being a Chief Investment Officer; the Board reportedly doesn't want to promote him to be the MD for fear of losing his investment acumen on a day-to-day basis.
  • The Fee Machine: "The mark-ups caused many customers to pay more than double what they understood they were paying." Standard stuff. 
  • Happy Birthday: The KIA may be asked to manage Kuwait's mooted "birthday fund" ... a pool to provide each Kuwaiti $40k at age 18.
  • The Professionals: Norway's massive NBIM will double it's in-house equities team from about 90 to about 180 people.

And last but most certainly not least, some rather sad news this week.

  • Condolences: I was quite upset to learn this week about Joe Dear’s passing. I first met Joe when I was a Ph.D. student and he was CEO of WSIB; he generously spent over an hour with me in his Olympia office talking about pension governance and management. That generosity carried through all the way to our last conversation this past October up in Sacramento. He’ll be sorely missed.

Have a nice weekend. 

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