Last updated: 08:57 / Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Study by Cerulli

New Sovereign Wealth Funds, Opportunities For External Managers

New Sovereign Wealth Funds, Opportunities For External Managers
  • New Sovereign Funds in Emerging and Developing countries could benefit from mandates
  • Some funds are deciding on in-house specializing and outsourcing mainstream allocations

The growing number of resource-rich countries establishing sovereign wealth funds present an ideal opportunity for asset managers not sufficiently specialized or alternative to win mandates from established sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), according to the latest issue of The Cerulli Edge - Global Edition.

Cerulli says that new SWFs are likely to need help in the early stages, even in mainstream asset classes and geographies. It cites, as an example, oil-rich Nigeria, which is in the early stages of a complex three-fund approach to sovereign wealth. The structure comprises: a stabilization fund, an infrastructure fund, and a future generation fund. The latter, which Cerulli likens to a classic sovereign fund, is to receive 40% of oil surpluses, with a target allocation of 80% for growth assets. "It is likely that much of that will need the assistance of external managers," says Barbara Wall, Europe research director at Cerulli.

The firm notes that while some SWFs are only interested in managers that either provide a specialist alternative that cannot be replicated internally, or a partnership model that opens the door to new investment possibilities, others appear committed to outsourcing the majority of their funds to external managers.

Funds from as far afield as Angola to Kazakhstan, Mongolia to East Timor or Papua New Guinea are potential opportunities. "An increasing number of countries feel they need a sovereign fund in order to diversify assets for the long term. These funds--some of which may grow to have tens of billions of dollars under management--will be lucrative sources of outsourcing mandates in their early years," adds Wall.

In its review of the changes taking place within the SWF arena, Cerulli notes that established heavyweight Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is bringing more of its assets in-house. "What's unusual about this move is that instead of bringing passive assets under its own supervision, the management that is being brought back in-house appears to be quite technical and specialist," says David Walker, who leads Cerulli's European institutional research practice. "For example, last year, ADIA created two new mandates within its internal equities department: U.S. equities and high conviction. The latter in particular is not normally the sort of mandate that a fund like this would take in-house, not when two-thirds of the fund is still outsourced."

Walker adds that two of ADIA's three most significant hires over the past two years have been for internal rather than external asset management: Christof Ruhl as global head of research and John Pandtle as head of the United States in the internal equities department. Other areas of increasing internal expertise include real estate and infrastructure.