Middle East: The shadowy world of Gulf sovereign wealth

By:
Chris Wright
Published on:

The strategies and dimensions of Gulf sovereign wealth funds are an arcane subject made more mysterious by the lack – apart from Abu Dhabi’s fund – of published annual reports. Euromoney pieces together a picture of their structure from the fragments of information available.

In March 2010, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority – probably the world’s biggest sovereign fund – launched its first ever annual report.

It’s hard to overstate just how big a step this was. A couple of years earlier, visitors to Adia’s website, reasonably hoping to learn more about one of the world’s largest and most influential institutional investors, had been greeted with a picture of Adia’s gleaming headquarters on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, a phone and fax number – and absolutely nothing else. They clicked in the hope of reaching other pages, more information, a hint of strategy and approach, but there were no links to click.

So Adia’s annual report, although lacking the magic number of its total assets, was a big deal. And there was a feeling then that this was the start of a new period...