Washington, DC--Officials from the U.S. Treasury, the governments of Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and sovereign wealth funds ADIA and GIC met today in Washington, DC to discuss issues surrounding sovereign wealth funds, recipient country inward investment regimes, and efforts to develop best practices. Joining Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and Deputy Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt were Government of Abu Dhabi Executive Council Member Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, ADIA Executive Director Hareb Masood Al-Darmaki, Singapore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and GIC Deputy Chairman Tony Tan.
"We had a good discussion today on the issues surrounding sovereign wealth funds. Singapore and UAE have long-established, well-respected funds and are showing real leadership by joining with us today. The U.S. welcomes sovereign wealth fund investment and looks forward to continuing to work with these two countries and others to support the initiatives underway at the IMF and OECD to develop best practices for sovereign wealth funds and recipient countries," said Paulson. "The principles we agreed to here today will further those efforts."
Following today's meeting the three nations released the following joint statement and accompanying policy principles:
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) represent government-owned investment vehicles, funded by foreign exchange assets and commodity export receipts, etc., which invest internationally for financial objectives such as stabilization and intergenerational savings.
The United States, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore, being a group of nations with SWFs and a country receiving investments from SWFs, have a common interest in an open and stable international financial system. We support the processes underway in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to develop voluntary best practices for SWFs and inward investment regimes for government-controlled investment in recipient countries, respectively. International agreement on a set of voluntary best practices will create a strong incentive among SWFs and investment-recipient countries to hold themselves to high standards. We hope that the IMF and OECD's work can build upon these basic principles:
Policy Principles for Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs)
1. SWF investment decisions should be based solely on commercial grounds, rather than to advance, directly or indirectly, the geopolitical goals of the controlling government. SWFs should make this statement formally as part of their basic investment management policies.
2. Greater information disclosure by SWFs, in areas such as purpose, investment objectives, institutional arrangements, and financial information – particularly asset allocation, benchmarks, and rates of return over appropriate historical periods – can help reduce uncertainty in financial markets and build trust in recipient countries.
3. SWFs should have in place strong governance structures, internal controls, and operational and risk management systems.
4. SWFs and the private sector should compete fairly.
5. SWFs should respect host-country rules by complying with all applicable regulatory and disclosure requirements of the countries in which they invest.
Policy Principles for Countries Receiving SWF Investment
1. Countries receiving SWF investment should not erect protectionist barriers to portfolio or foreign direct investment.
2. Recipient countries should ensure predictable investment frameworks. Inward investment rules should be publicly available, clearly articulated, predictable, and supported by strong and consistent rule of law.
3. Recipient countries should not discriminate among investors. Inward investment policies should treat like-situated investors equally.
4. Recipient countries should respect investor decisions by being as unintrusive as possible, rather than seeking to direct SWF investment. Any restrictions imposed on investments for national security reasons should be proportional to genuine national security risks raised by the transaction.