See More on Facebook

Analysis, Economics

5 sovereign wealth funds to keep an eye on in Asia

In recent years, sovereign wealth funds have made headlines for a variety of reasons.

Written by

Updated: February 1, 2018

In Malaysia, corruption allegations stemming from 1Malaysia Development Berhad thrust Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration into an uncomfortable spotlight while funds from the Middle East and China were accused by the United States of acting unfairly in the market.

In light of recent events, here are five important wealth funds from around the region.

1Malaysia Development Berhad

Perhaps the most infamous sovereign wealth fund in Asia, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was created by current Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to further develop the country’s economy in a sustainable manner through foreign direct investment and strategic global partnerships. The company was involved in a number of large-scale projects, including the multi-billion-dollar Tun Razak Exchange and urban development project Bandar Malaysia. In 2015, 1MDB made headlines around the world for the alleged misappropriation of funds.

China Investment Corporation (CIC)

The second largest sovereign wealth fund in the world according to SWFI rankings, China Investment Corporation was created in Sept 2007 to diversify the country’s foreign exchange holdings. CIC currently has three subsidiaries: CIC international, which manages overseas assets, CIC Capital, which focuses on making direct investments to enhance the company’s portfolio, and Central Huijin, which makes equity investments in state-owned financial institutions in China, as stated on the company’s official website.

According to the New York Times, the company places a particular emphasis on infrastructure, and its portfolio includes major projects such as Heathrow Airport and the Port of Melbourne. The investor has not always received a warm welcome, however, with the United States preventing it from making similarly large investments within US borders last year amid fears of growing Chinese influence.

Temasek Holdings – Singapore

Established in 1974, Temasek holdings is a large investment company which focuses primarily on investments within Asia. Although it is headquartered in Singapore, it has an additional 11 international offices and owns a portfolio worth S$275 billion as of 31 March 2017. Its portfolio spans a wide range of industries.

Crown Property Bureau – Thailand

While not technically a Sovereign Wealth Fund, Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau is a wealth fund belonging to a sovereign. It manages the royal family’s real estate and investments and is thought to control billions of US dollars’ worth of assets, according to The New York Times. Established in 1936, the agency is under the control of a board appointed by the monarchy and the government. Its governing board comprises Thailand’s Minister of Finance and an additional six members appointed by the King. It holds shares in Siam Cement group, the largest building material company in Thailand, and Siam Commercial Bank, the country’s oldest bank and holds a minority stake in Kempinski Hotels Group.

Korea Investment Corporation

Korea Investment Corporation is a sovereign wealth fund created in 2005 to preserve and increase South Korea’s national wealth by investing public funds in various international financial assets, according to The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds. Assets that the company invests in include public equities, bonds, commodities, private equity, real estate, and hedge funds. It is headed by the Steering Committee, which includes the chairman, CEO, six private sector professionals, the Minister of Strategy and Finance and Governor of the Bank of Korea.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Economics

Iran sanctions alarm Korean petrochemical sector

Korea, major player in crude oil market, seeking alternative countries would drive up costs. As the US is set to end sanction exemptions for countries buying oil from Iran, South Korean petrochemical companies are anticipated to struggle in having to reduce their Iranian oil supplies. From May 2, eight nations, including Korea, Japan, China and India, will be banned from buying oil from Iran as the US government’s 180-day waiver ends. Iran is the fifth-largest exporter of crude oil to Korea, following Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the US and Iraq. Imports of crude oil from Iran to Korea accounted for 8.6 percent of total imported crude oil in February, according to Korea National Oil Corp. “We were a bit shocked. We didn’t expect a complete ban. Every company (affected) will be busy securing condensate, which is not abundant in the market,” said an anonymous official of a local firm in the petroc

By The Korea Herald
April 24, 2019

Analysis, Economics

IMF to visit Pakistan in April

IMF says its mission will visit Pakistan ‘before end of April to continue constructive discussions’. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday said that it held “constructive discussions” with Pakistani authorities during last week’s spring meetings in Washington and that its mission will be visiting Pakistan “before the end of April to continue the discussions” on a bailout package. The announcement was made by the Office of the Resident Representative of the IMF in a press release following reports that the IMF mission’s visit of Pakistan for finalising the package may be delayed as both sides are still engaged in an intense discussion. “The Pakistani authorities and IMF staff held constructi

By Dawn
April 16, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Malaysia avoids termination fee by renegotiating rail deal

The Chinese-Malaysian venture will go ahead. The government decided to go back to the negotiation table on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project because its termination would cost RM21.78bil with “nothing to show for it”, says Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir said in renegotiating the project, the government called for a more equitable deal, where the needs of Malaysians would be prioritised. He explained that the Pakatan Harapan government’s main objection to the ECRL project was based on the way and speed at which the original contract was negotiated and signed in 2016. “It was unjustified, a hefty lump sum price which lacked clarity in terms of technical specifications, price, and, by extension, economic justification.

By The Star
April 16, 2019

Analysis, Economics

A FAQ on Indian Elections

Asia News Network’s Ishan Joshi takes a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the Indian election. Termed the “biggest democratic exercise’ in the world, India’s mega election spans over a number of days and involves a significant percentage of the world’s population. Asia News Network Associate Editor Ishan Joshi takes a look at some of the most pressing questions as the elections continue in India.  Why do the Indian elections take so long? Primarily, because of the logistics involved in conducting elections in this continent-sized country. India has close to 900 million eligible voters spread across 29 states and 7 union territories. Some of these areas are battling armed Islamist/Maoist insurgencies, others are considered sensitive due to issues of social unrest/law and order, and all of them are robus

By Asia News Network
April 16, 2019

Analysis, Economics

China and Central European countries agree to boost ties

China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) on Friday agreed to enhance connectivity to achieve more development. The agreement was part of the Dubrovnik Guidelines for Cooperation between China and the CEECs, which was released after the eighth China-CEEC leaders’ meeting in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. According to the guidelines, China and the CEECs are willing to promote railway projects cooperation in line with respective laws and regulations and through consultations, in particular by strengthening exchanges and cooperation on railway planning, railway organization development, management, technology development, logistics and freight terminal construction. China and the CEECs will jointly explore utilization and construction of logistics hubs, said the guidelines, adding that China is welcome to participate in joint development of new freight lines in connecting markets

By China Daily
April 15, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Seoul calls on Washington for auto tariff exclusion

Finance minister meets with US counterpart over trade, FX agendas. South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki has asked the US government for an exemption from a new tariff on imported vehicles, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Sunday. He also met with representatives of major credit ratings agencies, to persuade them to reflect the peninsula’s eased geopolitical risk in their upcoming sovereign rating adjustments. The fiscal chief met US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Washington last week. This was the first face-to-face encounter between the two since Hong took office in December. “I sat with Secretary Mnuchin in a 30-minute, close-door meeting without any attendees,” Hong told reporters.

By The Korea Herald
April 15, 2019