Raising Capital: The Role of Sovereign Wealth Funds
In their efforts to weather the subprime crisis and shore up balance sheets, many commercial and investment banks have been raising new capital. One important source of new capital has come from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). For example, Morgan Stanley received $5 billion from the Chinese SWF China Investment Corporation. The United Arab Emirates’ SWF Abu Dhabi Investment Authority purchased a 4.9% equity share in Citibank, and Merrill Lynch received $5 billion from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. While there is no generally agreed upon definition of an SWF, the U.S. Department of the Treasury defines SWFs as government investment vehicles funded by foreign exchange assets that are managed separately from official reserves. More colloquially, SWFs are investment funds controlled by governments. In addition to their recent investments in global financial institutions, SWFs are of interest because of their size and their potential to grow even larger.