8th March 2022

Sovereign wealth funds, a pressure tool in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine

The sovereign wealth funds are a tool of economic pressure in the Ukrainian conflict, which joins other sanctions imposed on Russia in the face of the attacks that have been recorded in recent weeks.

The action of these funds is part of a huge range of tools that we have to exert pressure, try to reverse and contain what is happening on the ground. Globally, the 98 active sovereign wealth funds in 2021 -belonging to 70 countries- increased their operations to 450 transactions, thus exceeding 10.4 trillion dollars (9.5 trillion euros) in assets under management, which represents a 11% increase from the previous year.

The study indicates that this is a record investment volume, only surpassed by the years 2011 and 2009 in the historical series, when the Emirati Mubadala took control of Cepsa. In addition, it doubles the figures of the previous report with the same number of operations.

In addition, the Singapore GIC fund and the Abu Dhabi Mubadala have been the most active in Spain by volume and number of operations.

The United States, the first investment destination. By country, the United States (28.8%) continues for yet another year as the first investment destination for the funds. Likewise, India is in second position (14.7%) ahead of China (10.5%). The UK, Singapore, Russia and Brazil round out the next four largest destinations, together accounting for almost 73% of all SWF operations.

As for the sectors with the greatest interest for the funds by number of operations between 2020-2021, technology stands out with more than 40% of the agreements and some 190 companies. It is followed by health sciences with 18.5%, services (12.5%), industry (6.9%) and utilities (6%).

Sovereign wealth funds were born to respond to the needs of countries: either to channel the savings of future generations, or to provide greater economic stability to the country by functioning as a kind of central bank, or as a tool to manage natural resources.