Developed world tackles Western jitters over foreign cash
( dpa )- The industrialized world was told Thursday it had nothing to fear from Sovereign Wealth Funds run by governments in developing countries that have propped up Wall Street and some European banks.
An estimated 69 billion US dollars has been pumped into ailing financial organizations hit by the subprime fiasco from the rainy day investment funds set aside by often oil-rich countries from their foreign reserves.
Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Authority Al Sa'ad said: "There is a lot of worry about Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) based on either assumptions or expectations but no real cause to fear."
He said Kuwait's fund was probably the oldest, set up 54 years ago to channel money from volatile assets such as oil during good times and had been used to fund the country's budget during hard times.
"The decisions on investment were never politically enforced but commercially decided," he said during the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos , Switzerland.
The reliance on cash from foreign governments has sent a wave of unease over the developed world at a growing reliance on foreign government cash and led to calls for tighter regulations.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksey Kudrin said controls were not necessary: "They ( SWFs ) play a very positive role on the global market. Any concern about the political underlining of these funds is exaggerated."
Vice Governor of the Saudi Arabian central bank Al Jasser , which manages the government's reserves, said transparency was like "motherhood and apple pies" - no one could be against it.
He said there was no problem in understanding who is investing where. Existing stock market regulations required a declaration.
SWFs are said to be worth around 2.3 trillion dollars at present but still amount to small change compared to the investment capital held by global pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies.
CEO of global financial services organization Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld , said the funds were held by 15 countries with just five of them holding 70 per cent of the value.
He predicted they would grow dramatically over the next five years owing to the oil surplus, and said the impact would be huge.