Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) 2015

A Sovereign Wealth Fund is a state-owned investment fund comprising financial assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate or other instruments and funded by foreign exchange assets.

In the latest 2015 ranking, Norway’s Government Pension Fund–Global with assets for $824.9 billion, ranks first, followed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with US$773 billion. Both funds are financed via oil revenue.

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are managed separately from official currency reserves. They are pools of money governments use to generate profits. Often this money is invested in foreign companies. Their assets can include balance-of-payments surpluses, official foreign currency operations, proceeds of privatizations, fiscal surpluses and/or receipts resulting from commodity exports.

They can be structured as a fund, pool or corporation. They do not include foreign currency reserve assets held by monetary authorities for the traditional balance-of-payments or monetary policy purposes, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the traditional sense, government-employee pension funds or assets managed for the benefit of individuals.

SWFs may originally be created to reduce the volatility of government revenues, to counter the adverse effects of volatility in financial cycles on government spending and the national economy, or to build up savings for future generations.

CountrySovereign WealthAssets USD-BilInceptionOrigin
NorwayGovernment Pension Fund – Global824.91990Oil
UAE – Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi Investment Authority7731976Oil
ChinaChina Investment Corporation746.72007Non-Commodity
Saudi ArabiaSAMA Foreign Holdings668.6n/aOil
KuwaitKuwait Investment Authority5921953Oil
ChinaSAFE Investment Company547**1997Non-Commodity
China – Hong KongHong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio417.91993Non-Commodity
SingaporeGovernment of Singapore Investment Corporation3441981Non-Commodity
QatarQatar Investment Authority2562005Oil & Gas
ChinaNational Social Security Fund2362000Non-Commodity
SingaporeTemasek Holdings193.61974Non-Commodity
UAE – DubaiInvestment Corporation of Dubai1832006Non-Commodity
UAE – Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi Investment Council1102007Oil
AustraliaAustralian Future Fund952006Non-Commodity
South KoreaKorea Investment Corporation84.72005Non-Commodity
KazakhstanSamruk-Kazyna JSC77.52008Non-Commodity
KazakhstanKazakhstan National Fund772000Oil
RussiaNational Welfare Fund73.52008Oil
UAE – Abu DhabiInternational Petroleum Investment Company66.31984Oil
UAE – Abu DhabiMubadala Development Company66.32002Oil
LibyaLibyan Investment Authority662006Oil
RussiaReserve Fund65.72008Oil
IranNational Development Fund of Iran622011Oil & Gas
US – AlaskaAlaska Permanent Fund53.91976Oil
AlgeriaRevenue Regulation Fund502000Oil & Gas
MalaysiaKhazanah Nasional41.61993Non-Commodity
BruneiBrunei Investment Agency401983Oil
US – TexasTexas Permanent School Fund37.71854Oil & Other
AzerbaijanState Oil Fund37.31999Oil
FranceStrategic Investment Fund25.52008Non-Commodity
IrelandIreland Strategic Investment Fund23.52001Non-Commodity
New ZealandNew Zealand Superannuation Fund20.22003Non-Commodity
US – New MexicoNew Mexico State Investment Council19.81958Oil & Gas
CanadaAlberta’s Heritage Fund17.51976Oil
US – TexasPermanent University Fund17.21876Oil & Gas
East TimorTimor-Leste Petroleum Fund16.92005Oil & Gas
ChileSocial and Economic Stabilization Fund15.22007Copper
UAE – FederalEmirates Investment Authority152007Oil
RussiaRussian Direct Investment Fund132011Non-Commodity
OmanState General Reserve Fund131980Oil & Gas
BahrainMumtalakat Holding Company11.12006Non-Commodity
PeruFiscal Stabilization Fund9.21999Non-Commodity
ChilePension Reserve Fund7.92006Copper
MexicoOil Revenues Stabilization Fund of Mexico62000Oil
OmanOman Investment Fund62006Oil
ItalyItalian Strategic Fund62011Non-Commodity
BotswanaPula Fund5.71994Diamonds & Minerals
US – WyomingPermanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund5.61974Minerals
Trinidad & TobagoHeritage and Stabilization Fund5.52000Oil
BrazilSovereign Fund of Brazil5.32008Non-Commodity
Saudi ArabiaPublic Investment Fund5.32008Oil
ChinaChina-Africa Development Fund52007Non-Commodity
AngolaFundo Soberano de Angola52012Oil
US – North DakotaNorth Dakota Legacy Fund3.22011Oil & Gas
US – AlabamaAlabama Trust Fund2.51985Oil & Gas
KazakhstanNational Investment Corporation22012Oil
Nigeria – BayelsaBayelsa Development and Investment Corporation1.52012Non-Commodity
NigeriaNigerian Sovereign Investment Authority1.42012Oil
US – LouisianaLouisiana Education Quality Trust Fund1.31986Oil & Gas
PanamaFondo de Ahorro de Panamá1.22012Non-Commodity
UAE – Ras Al KhaimahRAK Investment Authority1.22005Oil
SenegalSenegal FONSIS12012Non-Commodity
IraqDevelopment Fund for Iraq0.92003Oil
PalestinePalestine Investment Fund0.82003Non-Commodity
KiribatiRevenue Equalization Reserve Fund0.61956Phosphates
VietnamState Capital Investment Corporation0.52006Non-Commodity
GabonGabon Sovereign Wealth Fund0.41998Oil
GhanaGhana Petroleum Funds0.452011Oil
IndonesiaGovernment Investment Unit0.32006Non-Commodity
MauritaniaNational Fund for Hydrocarbon Reserves0.32006Oil & Gas
AustraliaWestern Australian Future Fund0.32012Minerals
MongoliaFiscal Stability Fund0.32011Minerals
Equatorial GuineaFund for Future Generations0.082002Oil
Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea Sovereign Wealth Fundn/a2011Gas
TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Stabilization Fundn/a2008Oil & Gas
US – West VirginiaWest Virginia Future Fundn/a2014Oil & Gas
MexicoFondo Mexicano del Petroleon/a2014Oil & Gas
Total Oil & Gas Related: $4,057.70
Total Other: $3,127.90
TOTAL: $7,185.60

SWFs usually invest globally, although some also invest indirectly in domestic state-owned enterprises. In addition, they tend to prefer returns over liquidity and thus have a higher risk tolerance than traditional foreign exchange reserves. After some SWFs made bad investments in Wall Street financial firms prior to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, there is some evidence – and much speculation – that SWFs may dial back somewhat on their risk tolerance.

Although a few funds were created before 2000, the number of sovereign wealth funds has increased dramatically only in the last 14 years.

Critics of SWFs point out that as this asset pool continues to expand in size and importance, so does its potential impact on various markets. In addition, foreign investment by SWFs raises some national security concerns because of speculation that the purpose of the investment might be to secure control of strategically important industries for political rather than financial gain. Moreover, the lack of transparency for some of the funds – that is, size and source of funds, investment goals, internal checks and balances, disclosure of relationships and holdings in private equity funds – has been another cause for concern by investors and regulators. The International Monetary Fund’s Santiago Principles have tried to address these concerns.