Sheikh Tahnoon appointed head of Abu Dhabi’s $790 billion sovereign wealth fund

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan has been appointed chairman of the $790 billion Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the UAE capital’s largest sovereign wealth fund, in a sign of his growing influence.

Sheikh Tahnoon is the UAE’s national security adviser, but he also heads state-owned holding company ADQ, the country’s largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and International Holding Company. IHC is a publicly traded group linked to the ruling family and has enjoyed a stunning rise to become the region’s second-largest company by market cap, behind oil giant Saudi Aramco.

He replaces as Chair of Adia the late Sheikh Khalifa, the former President of the United Arab Emirates who died last year and was succeeded by Sheikh Tahnoon’s brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The new President has yet to appoint an heir.

Founded in 1976, Adia has spent decades investing in foreign capital markets, becoming one of the region’s premier sources of funding for global wealth managers. It has also expanded into asset classes such as private equity, real estate and infrastructure.

The sovereign wealth fund acts as a vehicle to use excess hydrocarbon revenues to generate long-term returns for the government.

Sheikh Tahnoon has risen to prominence, dealing with sensitive foreign policy issues as a national security adviser. This has included restoring ties with Qatar and Turkey, with which the UAE clashed during the Arab Spring, and attempting to contain tensions with regional rival Iran.

His long-standing interests as a national and global investor should also be emphasized. IHC, a publicly traded vehicle that emerged from the private Royal Group that Sheikh Tahnoon has long controlled, has confused bankers with its rise on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange in recent years. ADQ has also become one of the most active investors in regional markets.

Its rise comes as Abu Dhabi, buoyed by high oil prices, has cemented its position as one of the few global hubs of excess capital. Bankers and companies have been drawn to the UAE capital to raise funds.

But the UAE, like other Gulf States, is also trying to reinvest the income domestically. The country is trying to adapt its oil-dependent economy to a post-oil future and gain greater control over how its capital is deployed abroad.

Earlier this week, ADQ and IHC, both chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon, partnered with General Atlantic to create a global wealth management firm based in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Tahnoon appointed head of Abu Dhabi’s $790 billion sovereign wealth fund

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