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Investor Profile

Danish real estate charity builds balance

Gert Poulsen, chief investment officer of the €3-billion ($3.9-billion) Danish charity Realdania, likes both property and the risk of earthquakes. The connection, Poulsen quickly adds, is not because he welcomes natural disasters, but due to Realdania’s distinctive history. Based in Copenhagen, Realdania was founded in 2000 when Danske Bank, the country’s largest lender, bought the […]
Investor Profile

Norway opens a window on its global investment strategy

On March 8 when Yngve Slyngstad announced the annual results of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, he did more than unveil a routine set of numbers. The chief executive of The Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), was also revealing the first results following what he called a “substantial” change […]
Analysis

Pension funds reject EU financial transaction tax

When the European Commission announced plans on February 14 to introduce a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) by the start of 2014, it planted a bomb under Europe’s pension funds. That is not, of course, the view of Algirdas Šemeta (pictured below right), the EU’s commissioner for taxation. He says the proposed tax is “unquestionably fair […]
Investor Profile

Finnish fund diversifies out of Europe

Over the past five years, Finland’s 5.4 million people have watched with alarm as the eurozone they joined as founder members has descended into financial turmoil. So it is no surprise that Keva, which manages €34.4 billion ($47.1 billion) on behalf of Finland’s municipalities, as well as administering state and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland […]
Investor Profile

Methodist morality delivers mainstream returns

When John Wesley, the 18th century Anglican cleric, preached that business practices should not harm one’s neighbour, he never imagined that his principles would guide the global investment strategy of an $18.4-billion pension fund. Today, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, based in Chicago, ranks as one of […]
Investor Profile

Illiquid medicine brings rude health to the Wellcome Trust

Sir Henry Wellcome, the early twentieth century pharmaceuticals magnate (pictured below), would be pleased with how well the London-based charitable foundation that bears his name has weathered the global downturn. The Wellcome Trust (WT), which supports medical research in Britain and around the world, reported a total return of 12 per cent for the year […]
Analysis

Europe’s credit rating crunch

It has been a bad month for credit-rating agency executives who thought they were winning the legal and regulatory arguments about how they conduct their business. In Australia, the Federal Court ruled on November 5 in favour of 12 local councils in New South Wales which claimed that Standard and Poor’s had misled them into […]
Investor Profile

Investing hybrid or armed wing of ministry?

France’s Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) has just provided fresh ammunition for critics who say the state-backed investor distorts markets by acting as the “armed wing” of the French finance ministry. On October 17, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault unveiled a new public investment bank, jointly owned by the CDC and the government, to lend […]
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