Daily Dispatches - Asset boon for Singapore fund

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Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, one of the world's largest, is poised to report that its assets peaked in its past financial year thanks to global share rallies.

Temasek will release its annual report tomorrow for the year to March 2013, and Bloomberg says that its investments may have grown 8.6% to SGD$215 billion based on research by CIMB Research, Tufts University and Institutional Investor’s Sovereign Wealth Center. Nine out of Temasek’s 10 biggest holdings gained during the 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A recovery in stocks around the world may have helped lift the value of Temasek’s holdings, of which more than 70% were in publicly traded assets as of March 2012.

But past performance is not always a good indicator of the future when it comes to investing, and Singapore's Business Times suggests that the state-controlled fund is coming under pressure to review its exposure to China's banks as that country's economic growth slows drastically.

The Lion City's AAA-rated wealth fund has invested billions of dollars into Chinese banks, including USD$2.4 billion into Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in 2012. Details of Temasek's China investing strategy may be revealed in the announcement of the annual report tomorrow.

Fizzles out

Japan's (and Asia's) largest IPO of 2013 was a bit of a damp squid in Wednesday trading in Tokyo. The share price of Suntory Beverage & Food, which raised USD$4 billion in its listing, rose only 1.9%, even though the company had company priced the share sale at the lower end of a previously indicated range, the Financial Times reports.

Hong Kong IPO market steaming ahead

PricewaterhouseCoopers says Hong Kong will be the world's third-biggest initial public offering market this year, with up to HKD$150 billion (USD$19.3 billion) expected to be raised by up to 80 companies, according to China Daily. The expected listing value is almost double the HKD$89.9 billion raised last year by 64 companies, the lowest since the financial crisis hit in 2009. 

But it looks like all the action will be in the second half of the year, as only 23 companies went public in Hong Kong in the first half, compared with 32 listings in the first half of last year. Edmond Chan, a PwC partner in Hong Kong, says there are still ample funds in the market and the IPO pipeline remains strong because many companies are preparing their IPO filings.  

Asia PE slowdown

Asian private equity funds raised USD$9 billion in the second quarter of 2013, but after excluding the $6 billion KKR fund, the performance indicates that private equity activity is slowing in the region. Asian Investor reports that Asia comprises only 10% of the $122 billion raised globally by PE funds in Q2, which is up from $90 billion in the same period last year.

People moves

HSBC head of global banking and markets in the Asia-Pacific region Robin Phillips will relocate to London to lead a new client-coverage group as part of an investment bank overhaul, and will be replaced by Gordon French, according to Bloomberg.

HSBC has made a number of Asian appointments: Daniel Jim joins as head of Financial Institutions and debt capital markets for Asia. Tim Yip has been appointed head of cross-border RMB and debt capital markets for Asia-Pacific

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has appointed three investment bankers in Asia. Michael Woo will be head of China FIG; Kyoung-Suk Kang joins as director of Korea investment banking, and Dongwon Lee rejoins the bank, also as a director of investment banking in Korea.

Goldman Sachs has announced that wunderkind David Ryan will retire. He will be replaced as the bank's president of Asia (ex-

Parents strike back

Many parents bemoan the fact that their kids don't visit them enough. But now Chinese parents can elevate guilt trips on their offspring to a new level, after legislation was passed this week making it an offence not to visit one's parents. And one case has already hit the courts - the Wall Street Journal reports that the daughter of a 77 year-old woman in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu province, has been ordered  to visit her mother at least every two months, failing which she could be fined or even detained.

And its not just the children who may feel hard done by - the new law requires companies to provide 20 days of paid home leave if their staff have parents living far away.