The Wall Street Journal reports that Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC is expecting and preparing for volatile markets in the coming year and the widely mooted slowdown in China. This would create an opportunity, GIC says, to boost its exposure to stocks.
The fund that manages Singapore’s foreign-exchange reserves said in its annual report for the fiscal year ended March 31 that while the global economy is faced with challenges, GIC is more bullish on the U.S. and sees it as a major destination for its investments.
Meanwhile Reuters reports that GIC believes the western banking industry is healing, and the fund has the capacity and appetite to invest more in the financial sector.
In the annual report, the fund said its annualised nominal rate of return over the last five years to end March 2013 was 2.6% in US. dollar terms, down from 3.4% reported last year.
GIC is the world’s fourth largest sovereign wealth fund with around USD$250 billion in assets under management.
Reuters reports that a US jury has found former Goldman Sachs Group vice president Fabrice Tourre (nicknamed Fabulous Fab) liable for fraud for his role in a failed mortgage deal that cost investors USD$1 billion.
Tourre was found liable on six of seven counts by a Manhattan federal jury in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s highest-profile trial to spill out of its investigations into causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
The responsible judge will now decide whether to order Tourre to pay financial penalties or to disgorge any illegal profits as a result of his misconduct. Tourre testified he earned USD$1.7 million in 2007. He could also be banned from the securities industry for life.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the head of one of Australia’s biggest banks has slammed the quality of debate about debt in the country, labelling it ”very immature”.
National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne said Australia had a ”unique window” as a AAA-rated country to issue more government debt to fund desperately needed infrastructure.
”Australia has a debt problem: we don’t have enough,” Clyne said.
”If we continue to have the debate that suggests that all debt is bad, and not a debate on the productive use of debt, we will simply not be able to fund the infrastructure this economy needs to thrive into the future.”
Finance Asia says Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek has appointed former World Bank head Robert Zoellick to the board to help the fund expand its investments in the US.
Reuters reports that two of the world’s leading wine houses are looking to China as a new home to cultivate quality vineyards for high-end wines.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Dom Perignon champagne are investing millions of dollars to produce vintages they hope will put Chinese wine on the world map.
The French are partnering with Chinese investors to produce super-premium wines for increasingly discerning drinkers at the market’s top end.
They will likely charge hundreds of dollars per bottle when the wines start appearing in a year or two, and hope to appeal to wealthy Chinese drinkers who they hope will be proud to serve local vintages that are the equal of their imported collections.