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SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is a fund owned by a state (or a political subdivision of a federal state) composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds are entities that manage the national savings for the purposes of investment. The accumulated funds may have their origin in, or may represent, foreign currency deposits, gold, special drawing rights (SDRs) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve position held by central banks and monetary authorities, along with other national assets such as pension investments, oil funds, or other industrial and financial holdings. These are assets of the sovereign nations which are typically held in domestic and different reserve currencies such as the dollar, euro and yen. The names attributed to the management entities may include central banks, official investment companies, state pension funds, sovereign oil funds, among others.

Some countries may have more than one SWF. Also, while the United States does not have a federal sovereign wealth fund, several of its constituent states have their own SWFs, and one state, Texas, has two.
They are called sovereign wealth funds some special public investment vehicles which belong directly to the governments of the relevant countries, which are used to invest in financial instruments (shares, bonds, real estate) and other activities tax surpluses or foreign exchange reserves.

Sovereign wealth funds are born especially in oil-exporting countries: the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Norway, but also Singapore, where, thanks to the significant fiscal surplus, the government has set up the fund Temasek, one of the first born, and one of the most active, especially in companies of South-East Asia. Very active are also sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai, which owns a 5% stake in Ferrari.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Although sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have existed for over 60 years, their number has increased rapidly since 2000. In particular, countries dependent on natural resources have sought to diversify their economic exposure and SWFs have been promoted as a useful vehicle for this. Their low leverage and exposure to alternative assets gave them resilience during the global financial crisis, and consequently 15 new SWFs have been created since 2008. The value of assets held by the funds has similarly been increasing, to a record $5.78 trillion in 2013. This is due in part to the creation of the 15 new SWFs

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ASIA-PACIFIC SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Spurred by the region’s rapid economic development, sovereign wealth funds in Asia have increased in both size and number over the past decade. These funds have become large and active participants in global financial markets and they frequently make high-profile foreign investments. Given their size and close links to governments, sovereign wealth fund investments often attract media attention and are scrutinized for political motivations. The perception that many Asian sovereign wealth funds are not transparent in their activities and investments has also raised concerns. This Asia Focus provides an overview of sovereign wealth funds, evaluates the structure and activities of major funds in Asia, and compares the transparency of Asian funds relative to international best practices.

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CENTRAL-ASIA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Central Asian sovereign wealth funds differ in that they are primarily funded out of government revenues, foreign exchange reserves, or the contributions of retirees. This direct relationship to national and personal finances can produce different expectations regarding the operation and performance of these funds. For example, sovereign wealth funds in Singapore and China have faced public scrutiny in the past over investment losses or market underperformance. In contrast, funds financed by natural resources, such S 2 as Middle Eastern oil funds, lack an explicit liability for their funds and therefore are subject to less public scrutiny

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LATIN AMERICA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Some countries such as Chile and rinidad and obago have consolidated their sovereign wealth funds. Venezuela and Mexico have experienced continued declines. Brazil, with mixed results, falls more closely into the category of funds with shortcomings. Te last three years have seen another group of countries discussing sovereign fund start-ups, including Panama, Colombia.

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MENA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Saudi Arabia’s plan to create a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund has set an ambitious new standard for state-run investment vehicles. These funds are an increasingly common sight around the world, but particularly in the Middle East, where oil-rich governments like to squirrel away money when oil prices are high in preparation for leaner times. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWF Institute) lists 79 funds in its rankings, with 20 of them in the Middle East and North Africa.

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NORTH AMERICA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Canada - Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Mexico - Oil Income Stabilisation Fund USA - Alaska Permanent Fund USA - Alabama Trust Fund USA - New Mexico State Investment Office Trust USA - Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund

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EUROPE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS

Ireland - National Pensions Reserve Fund Italian Strategic Fund France - Strategic Investment Fund Norway - The Government Pension Fund - Global Russia - National Wealth Fund North America

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PUBLIC FUNDS - NON SWFs

According to the Community Tool Box, public funds are funds that come from the public treasury. It is revenue generated from tax payments, and it is used to fund things that benefit the public, including health, human service, environmental development, community development and other public service programs.

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