The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Azerbaijan: Sofaz steps out of its comfort zone

The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan has always feared risk. Now it’s seeking higher yields, branching out into listed securities, real estate, gold and emerging market debt. But is this ultra-cautious fund really ready?

Shahmar Movsumov is a rock star in Azerbaijan. This must be true because he is described as such by his minders, by local businessmen and, most compellingly and personally, by Ell & Nicki, a bouncy Azeri pop duo, winners of the 2011 Eurovision song contest, who also describe him as "pretty cool".

Rock star or not – and if he is one, he is more Chris Martin than Keith Moon – the amenable Movsumov, who also bears more than a passing resemblance to Robert McNamara, the US secretary of defence during the Vietnam War, is one of the most important people in this tiny Central Asian state. He is certainly more opinionated than any of the bland seat-fillers in its rubber-stamp parliament.

As executive director of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (Sofaz), the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, Movsumov dictates how and where the country reinvests its single recognizable asset – the cash generated by selling oil and gas to Europe, the US and East Asia.

Shahmar Movsumov, executive director of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan

Shahmar Movsumov

Not that Movsumov appears fazed by such power and responsibility.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree