SOFAZ executive director talks threat of protectionism

SOFAZ executive director talks threat of protectionism

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 21

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Geopolitical problems, in particular the rise of protectionism, pose a threat to the free flow of capital, which is extremely important for large global institutions, Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) Shahmar Movsumov, who was elected a member of the Board of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF), said in an interview with Top1000funds on the sidelines of a meeting of the IFSWF in Morocco.

The forum participants celebrate 10 years since the adoption of the Santiago principles, which helped to introduce transparency, accountability, best practice rules for the community of sovereign wealth funds.

"When these principles were introduced 10 years ago, they helped to achieve a lot. However, today there are new threats, the threat of protectionism is growing. This may lead to the need to update the principles or possibly to take other measures. The free flow of investment and capital is very important for all of us. The protectionism is becoming a threat to this," Movsumov said.

He noted that the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan was one of the first IFSWF participants to use these principles.

"This helped us to see our own gaps in governance, accountability and information disclosure, and we made some minor adjustments. I would note that thanks to the Santiago principles and IFSWF, we can show that we are rational institutional investors without any hidden goals," Movsumov said.

The State Oil Fund was established in 1999 and at that time its assets amounted to $271 million.

The main objectives of SOFAZ are: accumulation of funds and placement of the Fund's assets abroad in order to minimize the negative impact on the economy, to prevent to some extent the "Dutch syndrome", the accumulation of funds for future generations and maintenance of the current socio-economic processes in the country.

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