Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

Interested parties are invited to comment.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sovereign Wealth Funds in the Global Investment Landscape

I was at a conference organised by the City of London and the OECD with IMF participation, and there was an interesting collection of experts from the SWF, private financial institution and recipient government community. The day was designed to examine how SWFs and recipient governments can build mutual confidence and trust.

Among the more notable speakers were Reuben Jeffery, Under Secretary of State, US Department of State, and David Marchick, from the Carlyle Group, Washington DC. I ran up to Reuben Jeffery and asked him a question about the subject, to which he gave the only directly quoteable answer of the conference- that the principles of the IMF and the OECD are very clear, and are articulated so that all policy should be based on best practice. Being the only one to get a question to him, I was a little narked to find Reuters and Bloomberg hot on my tail recording his words too, then I remembered that I would have been doing exactly the same had I been in their position with a valuable speaker not really talking to the press.

Michael Skancke, Director General at the Norwegian Ministry of Finance gave me an interview (Reuters/Bloomberg were almost stuck to my shoulder by now but they seemed harmless enough) and was really interesting on the home country benefits of Sovereign Wealth Funds. Norway is held up as a good example and he was quite candid on the way his ministry conducts itself. Credit Suisse’s Julia Bond was clear and concise on the business view of recipient country benefits of SWFs.

David Marchick from the Carlyle Group talked engagingly about national security concerns. Udaibir S. Das, (there always seems to be at least one South Asian in these kinds of positions), Head of Sovereign Assets and Liability Management at the IMF, gave me my best headline of the day.

The Kuwait Investment Office backed out of speaking at the last minute, a telling omission, and a disappointment to the organisers. The absence led to an unspoken conclusion about the Kuwait Investment Office’s position within the debate as described in the title of the conference.

No comments: