IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book

Sovereign Wealth Funds: Threat or Salvation?


  • Edwin M. Truman

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


This study examines the role of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the global economy and financial system. Sovereign wealth funds are not a new phenomenon in international finance. Governments of a few countries have used similar entities to manage their international financial assets for several decades. Moreover, countries have always held international reserves, and government-owned entities have made cross-border investments for many years. Sovereign wealth funds or their equivalent pose profound issues for the countries that own them with respect to macroeconomic policy and the potential for corruption. They also raise issues for countries that receive SWF investments as well as for the international financial system as a whole because government ownership introduces potential political and economic power issues into the management of these cross-border assets. This study traces the origins of SWFs. It describes the issues raised by these large governmental holdings of cross-border assets for the countries that own them, for the host countries, and for the international financial system. The study lays out what is known about the 50-plus SWFs of various countries. Some countries have more than one such entity, and a sample of government-managed pension funds is included in this analysis because they raise most of the same basic policy issues. Using publicly available information that is provided on a systematic basis, the author has previously developed a "scoreboard" for these funds involving a number of elements grouped in four categories: structure, governance, transparency and accountability, and behavioral rules. The 2008 edition contributed to the development of a set of generally accepted principles and practices, the Santiago Principles, for SWFs by the International Working Group operating under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund. This publication presents an updated scoreboard for an expanded list of funds, evaluates the Santiago Principles, and examines current compliance with those principles. The study also examines the policies of recipient countries and the role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) investment codes. Finally, the study discusses the evolving role of SWFs in the context of the global economic and financial crisis and its aftermath and will make recommendations for the policies of countries both managing such funds and those that expect to receive investments from them in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin M. Truman, 2010. "Sovereign Wealth Funds: Threat or Salvation?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4983.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:4983

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew K & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Contagious Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 1453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1998. "Currency and banking crises: the early warnings of distress," International Finance Discussion Papers 629, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann, 1996. "The Roots of Banking Crises: The Macroeconomic Context," Research Department Publications 4026, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. repec:idb:wpaper:318 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andrew Berg & Catherine Pattillo, 1999. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? A Test," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1-1.
    6. Gerard Caprio & Patrick Honohan, 2008. "Banking Crises," Center for Development Economics 2008-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    7. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Sovereign risk assessment and agency credit ratings," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 2(2), pages 247-256.
    8. Kaminsky, Graciela L & Reinhart, Carmen M, 1998. "Financial Crises in Asia and Latin America: Then and Now," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 444-448, May.
    9. Morris Goldstein, 1997. "Case for an International Banking Standard, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa47.
    10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    11. Rodrigo Valdés, 1997. "Emerging Market Contagion: Evidence and Theory," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 07, Central Bank of Chile.
    12. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Mendoza, Enrique G., 1996. "Mexico's balance-of-payments crisis: a chronicle of a death foretold," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 235-264, November.
    13. Robert P Flood & Jagdeep S. Bhandari & Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1991. "Speculative Attacks and Models of Balance of Payments Crises," IMF Working Papers 91/99, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-325, August.
    15. Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "The role of macroeconomic factors in growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
    16. Morris Goldstein, 1998. "The Asian Financial Crisis," Policy Briefs PB98-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    17. Diebold, Francis X & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1989. "Scoring the Leading Indicators," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(3), pages 369-391, July.
    18. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1999. "What caused the Asian currency and financial crisis?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-373, October.
    19. Doukas, John, 1989. "Contagion effect on sovereign interest rate spreads," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 237-241.
    20. Barry Eichengreen & Andrew K. Rose, 1998. "Staying Afloat When the Wind Shifts: External Factors and Emerging-Market Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 6370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Edward, Sebastian, 1986. "Are Devaluations Contractionary?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 501-508, August.
    22. Morley, Samuel A, 1992. "On the Effect of Devaluation during Stabilization Programs in LDCs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 21-27, February.
    23. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
    24. Guillermo Larraín & Helmut Reisen & Julia von Maltzan, 1997. "Emerging Market Risk and Sovereign Credit Ratings," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 124, OECD Publishing.
    25. Carmen M. Reinhart & Sara Calvo, 1996. "Capital Flows to Latin America: Is There Evidence of Contagion Effects?," Peterson Institute Press: Chapters,in: Guillermo A. Calvo & Morris Goldstein & Eduard Hochreiter (ed.), Private Capital Flows to Emerging Markets After the Mexican Crisis, pages 151-171 Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    26. Velasco, Andres, 1987. "Financial crises and balance of payments crises : A simple model of the southern cone experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 263-283, October.
    27. J. Saul Lizondo & Peter J. Montiel, 1989. "Contractionary Devaluation in Developing Countries: An Analytical Overview," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(1), pages 182-227, March.
    28. Rose, Andrew K. & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1994. "European exchange rate credibility before the fall," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1185-1216, June.
    29. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Jagdeep S. Bhandari & Robert P. Flood, 1992. "Speculative Attacks and Models of Balance of Payments Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(2), pages 357-394, June.
    30. Blanco, Herminio & Garber, Peter M, 1986. "Recurrent Devaluation and Speculative Attacks on the Mexican Peso," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 148-166, February.
    31. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann, 1996. "The Roots of Banking Crises: The Macroeconomic Context," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6067, Inter-American Development Bank.
    32. Lee, Suk Hun, 1993. "Are the credit ratings assigned by bankers based on the willingness of LDC borrowers to repay?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 349-359, April.
    33. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Sergio L. Schmukler, 1996. "Crisis, contagion, and country funds: effects on East Asia and Latin America," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 232-266.
    34. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann, 1996. "The Roots of Banking Crises: The Macroeconomic Context," Research Department Publications 4026, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    35. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 73-96, Fall.
    36. P. Honohan, 2000. "Banking System Failures in Developing and Transition Countries: Diagnosis and Prediction," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 29(1), pages 83-109, February.
    37. Goldfajn, Ilan & Valdes, Rodrigo O., 1998. "Are currency crises predictable?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 873-885, May.
    38. Kamin, Steve B. & Rogers, John H., 2000. "Output and the real exchange rate in developing countries: an application to Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 85-109, February.
    39. Jason Furman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1998. "Economic Crises: Evidence and Insights from East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 1-136.
    40. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
    41. Vicente Galbis, 1993. "High Real Interest Rates Under Financial Liberalization; Is there a Problem?," IMF Working Papers 93/7, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:843-860 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Allie Bagnall & Edwin M. Truman, 2013. "Progress on Sovereign Wealth Fund Transparency and Accountability: An Updated SWF Scoreboard," Policy Briefs PB13-19, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    3. Mardi Dungey & Renee Fry-McKibbin & Verity Linehan, 2014. "Chinese resource demand and the natural resource supplier," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 167-178, January.
    4. Allie Bagnall & Edwin M. Truman, 2011. "IFSWF Report on Compliance with the Santiago Principles: Admirable but Flawed Transparency," Policy Briefs PB11-14, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    5. Naotaka Sugawara, 2014. "From Volatility to Stability in Expenditure; Stabilization Funds in Resource-Rich Countries," IMF Working Papers 14/43, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Kamiński, Tomasz, 2017. "Sovereign Wealth Fund investments in Europe as an instrument of Chinese energy policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 733-739.
    7. David Kemme, 2012. "Soverign Wealth Fund Issues and the National Fund(s) of Kazakhstan," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1036, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050, August.
    9. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2012. "The Natural Resource Curse: A Survey of Diagnoses and Some Prescriptions," Scholarly Articles 8694932, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    10. Borisova, Ginka & Fotak, Veljko & Holland, Kateryna & Megginson, William L., 2015. "Government ownership and the cost of debt: Evidence from government investments in publicly traded firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 168-191.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:4983. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peterson Institute webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.