January 27, 2011

The State of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Sovereign wealth funds have more assets under management than private equity or hedge funds. Why, then, is so little know about this assets class — and why is it so controversial? This new briefing paper explains it all.

The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University

Though still considerably smaller than pension funds, sovereign wealth funds have more assets under management than private equity or hedge funds. SWFs have given rise to some knee-jerk protectionism, say the authors of this new briefing paper, which fund managers have taken steps to alleviate through initiatives at transparency and clearer governance arrangements. But there is still controversy about the appropriate institutional architecture for SWFs. For example, some commentators have pushed for “greater transparency,” but compared to what? Hedge funds, for instance, are not more transparent than SWFs. Understanding the distinctive features of SWFs is the first step in determining whether or not SWF-specific regulatory steps are required.

Download the paper “The State of Sovereign Wealth Funds” (PDF)

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