APAC's biggest sovereign wealth funds, and who they hire
Want to work for a government sovereign wealth fund?
If you do, you have plenty of options. There is around $8tn in AUM by sovereign wealth funds globally. The majority of that money comes from petrochemical-related exports – so if you’re squeamish for ESG related reasons, look away now.
We’ve made a list of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in APAC (notably excluding the gulf Arab petro states) to get an idea of who the biggest players in the game are.
China Investment Corporation
Founded in 2007 with $200bn under management and now the second largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with $1.35tn under management, the China Investment Corporation is based exclusively in Beijing. It is run by chairman & CEO Peng Chun, an accountant who climbed up the ranks of the state-run Bank of Communications.
SAFE Investment Company
Beijing-based with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, and New York, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) Investment Company manages the substantial foreign exchange reserves of Mainland China, which stands at some $3tn. Its chairman, Pan Gongsheng, spent most of his career in the state-run Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.
GIC Private Limited
Similarly to SAFE, GIC was founded in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign currency reserves. Headquartered in Singapore, it has eleven offices worldwide, including Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. CEO Chow Kiat Lim has spent over 30 years at the firm, primarily in fixed income, before joining the management team.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio
Hong Kong’s investment portfolio is run by its central bank – the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. It has approximately $500bn in AUM, with 30% or so managed externally. Last year, it added Yang Bai as a private markets portfolio manager from private equity firm Hamilton Lane.
Probably APAC’s best known sovereign wealth fund, Temasek manages approximately $500bn for the Singaporean government. It has 12 worldwide offices, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Hanoi. It owns a broad portfolio, including significant a significant chunk of DBS. It added an AVP from Lazard, Julian Barszczewski, earlier this month.
National Social Security Fund
With a huge $375bn under management, China’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF)’s role is to manage part of the “surplus of the basic old-age insurance fund entrusted by local provinces.” One of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds has just a part of the Chinese insurance pie. Chairman Liu Wei is a technocrat, the PRC’s former vice-minister of finance, and has not served in the private sector.
Korea Investment Corporation
South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund, the Korea Investment Corporation, has five offices – in Seoul, Singapore, London, New York, and San Francisco, with over $200bn under management per their latest annual report. It added Shelby Kim, an associate from boutique Pacific Lake Partners, to its private equity team in New York earlier this year.
The sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan and primarily invested in the Central Asian country, the largest landlocked nation in the world. AUM totals around $65bn, and the fund’s only presence is in Kazakhstan itself – in its capital, Astana (formerly Nur-Sultan). Fund CEO Nurlan Zhakupov is a former banker, having worked at Credit Suisse, UBS, and Rotschild. He was the country advisor for Kazakhstan & Central Asia at the former.
Brunei Investment Agency
The secretive fund managing some $73bn derived from the tiny Southeast Asian state’s substantial oil and gas exploitation. Its primary office is in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital, although the fund does seem to have some sort of presence in London (where it owns at least one luxury hotel).
Kazakhstan National Fund
Another showing from the fiscally prudent people of Kazakhstan, the KNF is a sovereign wealth fund with $55.8bn under management. Unlike Samruk-Kazyna, the Kazakhstan National Fund is directly financed from surplus oil, gas, and mineral revenue. Galymzhan Pirmatov, the head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan (which governs the fund), was the head of investment banking for Halyk Bank, the country’s largest bank.
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