Sovereign Wealth Funds and Their Role on the Global Capital Market
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Publish date: 2012-09-30
Gospodarka Narodowa 2012;258(9):39–59
The article examines the role of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) on the global capital market. Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned investment funds that invest globally in financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals and other financial instruments. The author defines sovereign wealth funds and describes their market position. She also refers to some controversial issues related to the operations of sovereign wealth funds and discusses the policy of the European Union vis-à-vis SWFs. The research method used by the author is based on analyzing data on the operations of sovereign wealth funds published by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The article also reviews a body of research conducted in EU countries and source documents. The study shows that sovereign wealth funds are becoming an increasingly important participant in the global financial system, the author says. In recent years, SWFs have grown in number and their investments have increased significantly. In particular, this applies to SWFs based in emerging-market countries. Although these funds provide the desired capital and contribute to the stabilization of the financial market, their growing significance raises some concerns, the author says. These concerns stem from the low transparency of many SWFs in terms of their organizational structures and objectives and from the potential implications of their international operations. A further concern is the rapid development of such forms of investing public funds in the wake of changes in the structure of global production, accompanied by a widening imbalance in international trade, and changing relations between developed and emerging economies. Sovereign wealth funds have been investing governments’ foreign assets for decades, but it is only recently that such funds have emerged as managers of large excess reserves, the author notes. SWFs are likely to continue growing and increase their importance on global financial markets, the author says.