Over the past decade the world saw explosive growth in the assets under management by sovereign wealth funds, but in recent years that trend has started to slow. The combined assets of the world’s 25 largest funds fell by 1 percent in our sixth annual ranking of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global takes the top spot for its fifth consecutive year, but the China Investment Corp. and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have fallen out of the top 3.
Joseph Konzelmann, managing director and senior sovereigns strategist at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, warns that it’s hard predict the direction of future asset growth. “Sovereign fund asset growth has been impacted by a number of broad-based factors, including commodities market corrections, equity market deceleration, and currency-driven capital flows,” Konzelmann says. “However, such downward pressure has been mitigated by growth in excess foreign exchange reserves (particularly in Asia-based funds) and the monetization of state assets. Additionally, sovereign fund assets under management will also be influenced by countries' decisions with regard to national budgets, sovereign debt issuance, and central bank reserves."
Norway’s assets declined by $22.05 billion over the past year. China Investment Corp. moved to No. 7 in the ranking, with $250 billion in assets under management, as a result of a decision to focus solely on CIC’s foreign assets held by CIC International and CIC Capital. Previous rankings included its domestic assets managed by Central Huijin Investment ($356.9 billion). ADIA slipped to fourth place from No. 3 after losing $31.42 billion, according to Institutional Investor’s Sovereign Wealth Center estimates.