Sovereign Wealth Fund Portfolios
Using a novel, hand-collected dataset of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) investments in public equities, private firms, and real estate, we establish what SWF portfolios look like. SWF allocations are balanced across risky asset classes, very home-region biased, and very biased toward certain industries, in particular, toward finance (owning 4.8% of world equity) and transportation, energy and telecommunication. SWFs invest actively (with control rights) in both public and private sectors, but mainly in these industries in their home regions. We use these allocations to understand better the objectives that drive SWF investment decisions. We find evidence for financial portfolio investor benchmarking and for hedging of income covariance risk. We introduce and test an industrial planning hypothesis as an alternative objective and find this has considerable explanatory power. We find that both measures to capture financial portfolio and industrial planning objectives together explain 14.4% of SWF portfolio variation. Of this, industrial planning accounts for 45%. There is significant variation in the power of industrial planning objectives across SWFs revealing important heterogeneity in this investor class. Industrial planning helps to explain active ownership, predicting higher ownership stakes.
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