The Rising Power of Central Banks and Sovereign Funds as Investors

David Marsh, left, describes his group's new survey of "global public investors." Other panelists who discussed issues surrounding these investors are (from left to right) Sara Bonesteel, managing director and head of portfolio strategy at Prudential Financial; Sonja Gibbs, director of capital markets & emerging markets policy at the Institute of International Finance; Clay Lowery, vice president of Rock Creek Global Advisors; and Dr. Rakesh Mohan, executive director for India at the International Monetary Fund.

Global Public Investors’ Hold $29 Trillion in Global Assets—and Raise Regulatory Questions

The Atlantic Council hosted a panel discussion September 22 on the increasing role in capital markets of the world’s hundreds of central banks, sovereign wealth funds and government pension funds. The top 400 of these “global public investors” hold about $29 trillion in assets—equal to about 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, noted David Marsh, the managing director of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), a London-based advisory group. While central banks are given broad autonomy and little oversight to facilitate their roles in setting monetary policy, this autonomy and secrecy are now being applied to their increasingly important roles as owners of stock portfolios and other private assets.

The Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Finance Initiative and OMFIF hosted an audience of embassy officials, financial policy specialists, IMF staff members, journalists and others to discuss the growth of these investments, their diversification through the global economy, and the increasingly important regulatory questions that they raise. The discussion (watch our webcast, below) focused on a new publication that offers the first broad survey of these investors and where they are putting their money. The report, by OMFIF, is titled Global Public Investor (GPI) 2014: Driving World Economic Growth.

Global Public Investors’ Hold $29 Trillion in Global Assets—and Raise Regulatory Questions