Targeting Transparency and Governance, Watchdogs Nip at SWFs’ Heels

December 22, 2014 by Craig Mellow

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With a bankroll of $5.3 trillion, it’s hard to be inconspicuous. Yet the sovereign wealth fund community has largely remained under the radar. Naturally, a small industry has grown up to probe the funds and catch media attention by ranking them. Perhaps the funds have themselves to blame for the scrutiny — they’ve provided a yardstick by which others can judge them. In 2008, following protectionist rhetoric from the U.S. and Europe, 24 state-owned investors formed the International Working Group (IWG) of Sovereign Wealth Funds. The IWG signed the 24 generally accepted principles and practices better known as the Santiago Principles, named after the Chilean capital where they were drafted. This voluntary code of conduct is meant to set governance and transparency standards and assure recipients of fund investments that the funds are disinterested investors like most any others. GeoEconomica, a Geneva-based consulting firm, has established itself as…

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