A Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is a government-controlled investment fund designed to handle a nation’s reserves by investing in diverse assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, and other alternative investments. The main goal is to safeguard and increase a country’s wealth for future generations or to advance specific economic and fiscal goals. SWFs are crucial in managing a nation’s financial resources and promoting long-term economic stability.
Certain key metrics, such as Total Assets and others, apply to almost any Sovereign Wealth Fund and can help you have a clear picture of the security of the fund and also if it is a good investment for you.
In this article, we will analyse the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds through their Total Assets (AUM).
Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds by Total Assets 2024
|Sovereign Wealth Fund
|Total Assets (AUMs) 2024 ($ Billion)*
|Norges Bank Investment Management
|China Investment Corporation
|State Administration of Foreign Exchange
|Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
|UAE – Abu Dhabi
|Kuwait Investment Authority
|Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
|Public Investment Fund
|Qatar Investment Authority
|Investment Corporation of Dubai
|UAE – Abu Dhabi
|Mubadala Investment Company
|UAE – Abu Dhabi
|Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company
|UAE – Abu Dhabi
|Korea Investment Corporation
|National Development Fund of Iran
Norges Bank Investment Management oversees Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, managing assets exceeding 15,000 billion kroner (approx. 1.460 billion dollars). Invested in global equities, fixed-income markets, real estate, and renewable energy, our mission is to maximise returns from oil and gas revenues responsibly for the benefit of current and future generations. Committed to safety, efficiency, responsibility, and transparency within government guidelines.
China Investment Corporation (CIC) is a sovereign wealth fund formed by the Chinese government in 2007. Its mission is to maximise returns and enhance governance in state-owned financial institutions. CIC’s capital comes from special treasury bonds, and it follows a structured governance model, including a Board of Directors. The fund invests globally, focusing on equity, fixed-income, and alternative assets while maintaining prudent risk levels. CIC’s risk management framework ensures legitimate and compliant operations, subject to regular internal and external audits.
China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) is a pivotal regulatory agency overseeing the nation’s foreign exchange market and international trade. Established in 1979 and headquartered in Beijing, SAFE operates as an integral part of the People’s Republic of China’s central bank. By the end of December 2020, SAFE held a formidable USD $3.22 trillion in foreign currency reserves. Operating under the central bank, SAFE formulates forex rules, supervises transactions, and actively contributes to the global impact of the renminbi (CNY/RMB). Beyond forex regulation, SAFE plays a pivotal role in global financial activities, enforcing market regulations and contributing to China’s economic positioning.
Established in 1976, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) manages government funds for long-term value creation. Operating independently, it receives surplus funds, and its governance involves a Board appointed by the Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Managing Director implements strategies based on economic objectives, integrating a prudent risk management culture. ADIA’s commitment to ethical investments and transparent governance positions it prominently in the global sovereign wealth fund landscape.
- AUM: $801 billion
- Established: 1953
- Mission: “To achieve a long-term investment return on the financial reserves entrusted by the State of Kuwait to KIA by providing an alternative to oil reserves”
Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is the world’s oldest sovereign wealth fund, established in 1982 with roots dating back to 1953. As Kuwait’s asset manager, KIA oversees the General Reserve Fund (GRF) and Future Generations Fund (FGF), aiming to secure long-term returns as an alternative to oil reserves. KIA is committed to surpassing benchmarks through uncorrelated asset allocation, fostering private sector excellence, and maintaining transparency. The fund, owned entirely by the State of Kuwait, undergoes independent audits and adheres to rigorous risk management practices, ensuring accountability and performance.
- AUM: $769 billion
- Established: 1981
- Mission: “To achieve good long-term returns to preserve and enhance the international purchasing power of these reserves”
GIC Private Limited, a government-owned entity, is entrusted with overseeing Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Established in 1981, GIC, officially known as GIC Private Limited, was created to pursue more aggressive investment strategies in higher-yielding asset classes over an extended investment horizon. A contributor to the Santiago Principles (a voluntary set of 24 guidelines for SWF), GIC emphasises good governance, transparency, and prudent investment practices, observed by over 20 sovereign wealth funds globally.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, founded in 1971, is a major global sovereign wealth fund. Playing a crucial role in Saudi Arabia’s economic development, the PIF funds strategic projects in sectors like petroleum, energy, and infrastructure. Governed by a Board of Directors, the fund aligns with Vision 2030 goals and focuses on building a diversified portfolio for long-term, risk-adjusted returns. It collaborates with asset management firms like Neuberger Berman and Morgan Stanley to optimise portfolio performance, showcasing its commitment to financial growth and stability.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, established in 2005 and headquartered in Doha. Fueled by revenues from the oil and gas sector, QIA follows a long-term investment strategy spanning diverse asset classes globally. Governed by the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, it emphasises transparency, guided by values like integrity and risk management. QIA engages in real estate, infrastructure, financial institutions, and diverse investments. Owned by Qatar’s government, it offers a unique investment landscape.
- AUM: $341 billion
- Established: 2006
- Mission: “To invest in attractive opportunities to achieve appropriate risk-adjusted returns over the long-term by partnering with high-quality managers and investors and engaging responsibly and sustainably across a range of asset classes, sectors and geographies.”
Founded in 2006, ICD, Dubai’s premier investment entity, aims for a thriving future. With a mission for long-term, risk-adjusted returns, ICD strategically partners across global sectors. Its mandate involves consolidating and managing Dubai’s portfolio, maximising long-term value. The investment strategy prioritises financial oversight and diversified global investments, focusing on capital deployment internationally to optimize long-term risk-adjusted returns and contribute to Dubai’s sustained economic growth.
Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund established in 1974, focuses on diverse investments, including technology and real estate. Temasek operates independently, governed by a Board of Directors overseen by the Singapore Ministry of Finance. Committed to responsible governance and community impact, Temasek is a key player in Singapore’s economic landscape.
The Mubadala Investment Company, a sovereign wealth fund established in 2002 by the Abu Dhabi government, aims for economic diversification and sustainable returns. As the UAE’s third-largest fund, Mubadala focuses on long-term, capital-intensive projects, playing a key role in strategic investments across industries, including technology, healthcare, and energy. With a commitment to global impact, Mubadala remains a significant player in the sovereign wealth fund landscape.
Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company PJSC (ADQ), a Sovereign Wealth Fund based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was established in 2018. Committed to Abu Dhabi’s growth, ADQ strategically developed economic clusters to catalyse significant contributions to the nation’s future development. Specialising in diverse sectors, including food and agriculture, aviation, financial services, healthcare, industries, logistics, media, real estate, tourism and hospitality, transport, and utilities, ADQ aims to impact the nation and its people. Serving a global clientele, ADQ is dedicated to fostering economic prosperity through strategic investments.
Established in 2005, the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) manages government and Bank of Korea funds. The mission is to preserve and enhance the international purchasing power of sovereign assets, contributing to domestic finance industry development by consistently outperforming inflation. Guided by the KIC Act, the fund aims for sustainable returns exceeding benchmarks while minimising risks through diversified portfolios. Asset classes include equities, bonds, commodities, private equity, real estate, and hedge funds, with strategic decisions made by the Steering Committee.
The Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, established in 2006, strategically invests in strengthening the nation’s long-term financial position. Overseen by the Future Fund Board of Guardians and supported by the Future Fund Management Agency, it manages five specialised funds, each tailored to specific objectives outlined in legislation. Operating independently, the Future Fund ensures transparency through accountability measures, providing detailed insights into purpose, strategy, and performance on its website. Secure Australia’s financial future with the Future Fund.
Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, located in Tehran, Iran, Middle East, was founded in 2011 and strategically invests in sectors like agriculture, industry, and transportation. The fund, reportedly cooperating with Bank Sepah, has faced U.S. sanctions, restricting its transactions. Led by the Iranian President, the Petroleum Minister, and the CBI governor, the fund’s board oversees diverse investments. Despite sanctions, it continues to shape Iran’s economic landscape, navigating challenges and contributing to strategic initiatives.
In this article, we presented the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in 2024, government-controlled investment entities aimed at preserving and growing a nation’s wealth for the future.
These SWFs play pivotal roles in shaping global economies, actively investing in diverse sectors, contributing to economic development, and navigating challenges for sustained growth. This comprehensive overview offers valuable insights into the missions, assets, and strategic directions of the world’s most prominent Sovereign Wealth Funds.
What is a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF)?
A Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is a financial linchpin for nations, representing a state-owned reservoir of wealth driven by surplus reserves and diverse revenue streams. These funds, often stemming from natural resource revenues, trade surpluses, and privatisations, are pivotal in fortifying a country’s economic foundation. With targeted objectives, SWFs serve as strategic tools for wealth preservation and economic stabilisation and, in some cases, as quasi-venture capital entities nurturing private sector growth. The dynamic and purposeful nature of Sovereign Wealth Funds safeguards a nation’s financial future and catalyses economic development, exemplifying a synergy between fiscal prudence and strategic national growth.
Which types of SWF exist?
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) vary in types, each with distinct investment rules and purposes. Governments often prioritise specific fund types based on national needs, guided by unique investment rules.
- Stabilization Fund: Designed for financial stability, these funds act as safeguards during economic crises, funded by commodity exports, currency reserves, or taxation surpluses. Deployed during market shifts, resource price hikes, or social and political instability, governments use them to stabilise currencies and mitigate potential impacts.
- Savings or Future Generation Fund: Ensure long-term financial security, funded by taxation surpluses, state-owned enterprise profits, or foreign currency reserves. Their purpose is to prevent the current generation’s depletion of savings, create a financial buffer for unexpected economic shocks, and address future expenditures tied to an ageing population.
- Reserve Investment Fund: This account is designed to generate funds for high-yield, long-term investments earmarked for specific initiatives. Serving as a reserve for strategic opportunities, these funds ensure ample capital availability for long-term financial objectives.
- Pension Reserve Fund: A pension reserve fund relieves the government’s budget by providing ample funds for pension payments. It facilitates strategic planning, ensuring sufficient resources for future needs, and is an investment tool for the government’s long-term pension schemes.
- Strategic Development Sovereign Wealth Funds: Designed to financially support initiatives that boost economic development, such as investments in physical infrastructure and human capital projects. They aim to enhance prosperity, generate returns, sustain economic development, create jobs, and uplift citizen well-being.