The Oyak (Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu) Group, Turkeys first and largest private pension fund, has built itself up to become the countrys third-largest industry conglomerate behind the family-owned Koc and Sabanci groups. Described by some observers as a sleeping giant, Oyak is a hybrid of a military pension fund and private equity investor, which manages funds for its 220,000 members, including senior officers and civilian workers of Turkeys armed forces, through portfolio and equity investments. It also manages the companies it invests in, including a joint venture with French car manufacturer Renault and French insurance company Axa Group. In 2002 its financial services division OyakBank bought Turkeys Sumerbank to create a mid-size bank with a network of more than 270 branches.
CEO Coskun Ulusoy says the funds investment approach stemmed from the fact that Turkeys capital markets were relatively underdeveloped. The fund had to do something to make money, so they invested in companies, he says, to boost the funds income beyond the 10% mandatory wage deduction levied on members. Oyak is now one of Turkeys largest and highly profitable industrial and services companies.