Posts Tagged 'Ted Truman'

Weekend Reading

Ashby Monk

It’s been a bonkers week in global financial markets. How else would you describe a market that loses $2.5 trillion after the US avoided a catastrophic default? Sure, US growth isn’t what we thought and downgrades loom for a variety of OECD countries, but $2.5 trillion? Gone?

Anyway, I’m sure some among you will be quite  happy to put this week behind and take a much deserved break from the ups and downs in the markets this weekend. And, while you are relaxing, if the desire to do some educational reading should strike, here are two rather interesting papers for you:

First, Sarah Bagnall and Ted Truman have just published an interesting new article entitled “IFSWF Report on Compliance with the Santiago Principles: Admirable but Flawed Transparency.” It’s worth a read to see where Bagnall and Truman find fault with the recent IFSWF exercise. Here’s a blurb:

“We commend the IFSWF for undertaking the surveys on which the report is based, for the later decision to publish the results, and for the detail included in the report. However, as with many self-assessments, the report has some flaws. The principal flaw is that the characterization of the extent of compliance with the Santiago Principles is exaggerated.”

Second, Laura El-Katiri, Bassam Fattouh and Paul Segal have paper entitled “Anatomy of an Oil-Based Welfare state: Rent Distribution in Kuwait.” Here’s a blurb:

“Oil wealth has transformed Kuwait within decades from a modest, trade-based desert emirate into a modern city-state. It has also created a relatively egalitarian economy based on an extensive distributive system that provides Kuwaiti citizens with essential services including free healthcare, education and social security. Therefore, the most important fact about Kuwait’s oil wealth is that it has been successfully used to benefit its citizens. This feat has been achieved through a broad distributive welfare state. Nevertheless, Kuwait’s policies of rent distribution have developed in an ad hoc manner into an uncoordinated system. Some of Kuwait’s policies of rent distribution, such as subsidizing utilities and providing public employment, have resulted in substantial distortions, inefficiencies and institutional deficiencies, and thus there remains substantial scope for improvement.”

Anyway, try to enjoy your weekend by doing something less stressful than following the financial markets; such as riding one of these…

And The Award For Most Improved SWF Goes To…

Ashby Monk

Back in 2007, Ted Truman wrote a paper calling for greater transparency and accountability of sovereign funds. He then published, in 2008, a paper outlining a “blueprint” for SWF “best practices” that detailed in explicit terms what he meant by transparency and accountability. Subsequently, this blueprint — which he also used to generate a scoreboard of SWFs’ behaviors — was partly responsible for the eventual creation and adoption of the Santiago Principles.

I think it’s fair to say that Ted’s early work on the subject of SWFs was both groundbreaking and influential. But how big an impact has his work had? Well, it’s interesting you should ask, because Truman has just published a new paper (this one on Asian SWFs) that updates his scoreboard and offers a sort of “most improved” category for the community of SWFs.

Obviously, the improvements by SWFs aren’t owed to Ted’s work alone, but it is quite interesting to see the dramatic changes that have come about over the past four years. Indeed, many SWFs have made a sincere effort to alter their behavior in order to keep markets free and open for their investments. For details, see the chart below.


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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