Mubadala sets a model for Middle East wealth funds
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Mubadala sets a model for Middle East wealth funds

Spending state oil revenues on prestige stakes in western brands no longer fits so well with the political climate in the Middle East. Mubadala has an alternative model for what Gulf governments can do with spare cash. If you want its investment money, you’d better bring something else to Abu Dhabi as well. Dominic O’Neill speaks to the firm’s senior management.

LIKE ABU DHABI, Mubadala is taking stock after an initial growth spurt: seeing where it might go from here, weighing up its successes and failures.

In contrast to the more financial returns-focused sovereign wealth funds, Mubadala is much more in line with the fashion post-financial crisis and post-Arab Spring. Indeed, it doesn’t even like to think of itself as a sovereign wealth fund. Its ownership is 100% governmental. But its focus is on domestic development.

"Essentially what we do is deploy capital, not only for financial gain but also to help advance the diversification efforts of Abu Dhabi’s economy," says COO Waleed Al Muhairi in an interview with Euromoney.

This so-called dual bottom line is one that many sovereign wealth funds aspire to when they make strategic investments. But at Mubadala there has been a much more consistent, sustained search for immediate domestic developmental relevance in its foreign equity investments.

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