Wealth Funds of the World, Unite (in Sydney)!

Ashby Monk

More than 80 representatives from 23 countries are currently arriving at The Westin Sydney Hotel to kick off the 2nd Annual International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds tomorrow. Hosted by the Australian Future Fund, the conference will continue until Saturday. What’s on the agenda?

“The meeting of senior representatives of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) from more than 20 countries across the world, together with representatives from government agencies and multi-lateral organizations, will review and discuss recent developments in the global economy and challenges in the investment environment going forward.”

That seems pretty broad. So let’s see if we can predict some of the topics that will come out of the Saturday communiqué:

  1. There will be a discussion of the challenges SWFs have faced in international markets. The countries Greece, Spain and Portugal will be alluded to…if not named.
  2. However, there will be a general statement about improving financial conditions and increasing optimism within SWFs about the coming years.
  3. There will be a discussion of the Santiago Principles and the efforts many funds have made to increase transparency over the past year (e.g. ADIA). (But there will be no mention of formal compliance procedures.)
  4. There will be a discussion of financial regulation (e.g. USA).
  5. There will be a discussion of the ongoing need to prevent protectionism and facilitate the flow of capital around the world.
  6. There will be (or at least there should be) an announcement of  new IFSWF members. We’ve had so many new SWFs on the scene over the past year that it is time to broaden the Forum’s membership.
  7. Finally, there will be a ‘Sydney Statement’ that ties all of the above together into a coherent paragraph.

Very safe and, let’s be honest, pretty boring. But this is a very careful bunch. I wouldn’t expect to read anything surprising in the official communiqué.

That’s not to say the group won’t have some wonderful and impassioned discussions behind closed doors. But we just won’t hear about them…

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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