More from the December Euromoney, this time from Sudip
Roy’s cover story on sovereign wealth funds. Two datapoints jumped out at
"For all of the headlines being generated by the investments in the
US and Europe, it’s a fraction of the money that’s going to the
emerging markets," says Michael Philipp, chairman of Europe, Middle East
and Africa at Credit Suisse in London, who estimates that as much as 80% to
90% of sovereign wealth money is being invested in emerging markets…
Many of the funds are attracted to China. Take Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China’s record-breaking $19.1 billion IPO last year, for example.
Several sovereign funds participated in the deal, particularly funds from
the Middle East, including Kuwait Investment Authority, Adia and QIA. Indeed,
more than half of the top 15 allocations for the IPO went to Middle East investors.
Frankly, I don’t believe the first one. Given the size and the risk aversion
of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund alone (not to mention the likes of Alaska’s),
I can’t imagine that more than 80% of all money in sovereign wealth funds is
invested in emerging markets. On a flow level, however, Philipp might be right:
it could well be that the overwhelming majority of new money flowing
into sovereign wealth funds is being invested in EM. And given that these funds
are likely to multiply in size over the next few years, it’s clear where the
wind is blowing.
I’m also fascinated by the ties between a state-owned Chinese bank, on the
one hand, and state-owned Middle Eastern wealth funds, on the other. Once upon
a time, the main qualification needed to play an important role in international
diplomacy was fluency in French. Nowadays, you’re infinitely better off if you
have control over a multi-billion dollar sovereign wealth fund which can buy
equity stakes anywhere in the world.