The Norwegian Government Pension Fund is still the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund (SWF). According to data from Global SFW, the fund’s assets under management amount to $1.38 trillion, narrowly exceeding the $1.35 trillion in assets under management from the Chinese Investment Corporation.
Data from the Global SFW shows the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds are located in Asia and the Arab world, with Norway the only, albeit notable exception.
The unique Norwegian fund was set up to invest government revenues from its vast oil and natural gas reserves into sectors deemed more sustainable in order to provide for a future when the country can no longer rely on its income from fossil fuels.
The Norwegian government is free to use up to three percent of the fund’s volume annually for social purposes – that number currently amounts to roughly $40 billion.
The top six SWF ranked by Assets Under Management (AuM), are: Norway, China CIC, UAE-Abu Dhabi, China SAFE IC, Kuwait KIA, Singapore GIC.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is seventh on the list and has made a lot of headlines recently due to its significant investments in golf and football, released its 2022 annual report on Sunday, providing the public with a glimpse into the operations of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.
At the end of 2022, the PIF’s assets under management amounted to roughly $600 billion – a figure that has since grown to $700 billion according to Global SWF, a company tracking sovereign wealth funds.
While gaining more international attention due to its investments in sports, the PIF actually reduced its international strategic investments last year, with their share of total assets under management dropping from 20 to 10 percent, while domestic investments accounted for 77 percent of AuM at the end of the year.
Often accused of “sportswashing”, the PIF is very clear about the purpose of its international investments in its annual report.
Among other things, the fund’s strategic international investments are meant to “establish strategic relationships and partnerships with innovative companies, investment managers, and influential investors to allow Saudi Arabia to extend its global reach and influence”, to “bolster Saudi Arabia’s position on the world stage as a leader and enabler of the future global economy” and to “support government-to-government relationships.”
Nigeria’s SWF managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority or NSIA was ranked 73rd on the list with total assets at year end 2022 standing at N1.032 trillion or $2.29 billion.
Nigeria is vying neck-to-neck with Angola and Colombia for the position.