From April 30-May 1, 2008, representatives of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) met at IMF Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The meeting facilitated a useful exchange of views among the SWFs, recipient countries, and representatives from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission. Participants agreed that SWFs invest on the basis of economic and financial risk and return related considerations. An International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IWG) was formally established by the meeting to present by October 2008 a set of SWF principles that properly reflects their investment practices and objectives.
The IWG is comprised of representatives from 25 IMF member countries,1 and is co-chaired by a senior representative of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Mr. Hamad al Suwaidi, and the Director of the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department, Mr. Jaime Caruana, who were selected by the participating SWFs.
The IWG aims to agree on a common set of voluntary principles for SWFs, drawing on the existing body of principles and practices, to help maintain the free flow of cross-border investment and open and stable financial systems. The creation of the IWG also responds to calls by the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) in October 2007 and in April 2008.
The IWG will conduct working level meetings over the coming months. The IWG will provide SWFs with opportunities to give and receive feedback and will strive to enhance good mutual understanding among its members and other parties.
Throughout this effort, the IMF will provide the secretariat to facilitate the group's discussions and meetings.
(1) IWG member countries are: Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Botswana, Canada, Chile, China, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Ireland, South Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Vietnam. Saudi Arabia, the OECD, and the World Bank will participate as permanent observers.