IFSWF Auckland 2016

The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) is a global network of 33 members established by and for sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). Guardians’ Chief Executive Adrian Orr was elected Chair of IFSWF in 2015.

Underlying IFSWF membership is a commitment to transparency, accountability and good governance as expressed in a set of best-practice guidelines for SWFs known as the Santiago Principles. The commitment to upholding such principles contributes to the maintenance of a stable, open global financial system with free flows of cross-border capital and investment.

The IFSWF works by encouraging members to share knowledge, benchmark their activities and build partnerships, underscored by their shared commitment to the Santiago Principles. In November 2016, IFSWF’s eighth annual meeting was held in Auckland, New Zealand, hosted by the Guardians.

The event presented Guardians staff and guests with an opportunity to meet and strengthen relationships with our international peers. Among the 260 attendees were some of the world’s largest and most influential investors, along with observers from multilateral and financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The event also had high level involvement from the New Zealand government. Both then-Prime Minister John Key and then-Minister of Finance Bill English gave keynote addresses on the New Zealand economy.

Other speakers included Glenn Stevens, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia; John Lipsky, former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Martin Skancke, Chair of the PRI Association; Bob Prince, Co-Chief Investment Officer at Bridgewater Associates; and Mats Andersson, former Chief Executive at Swedish public pension fund AP4.

The theme of the event was ‘Investing in a Climate of Uncertainty: The Sovereign Wealth Fund Response’, with a twin focus on the risks posed by:

  • an investment environment characterised by low growth and low returns;
  • climate change, including the interacting drivers of climate change risk for long-term investors.

The event began with a day of technical workshops. The focus of the workshops was broad to accommodate the diverse make-up of the IFSWF membership. IFSWF members include SWFs at various stages of development with a variety of different mandates and investment approaches. Sessions were held on the purpose and practice of sovereign development funds, the insourcing of investment activity and the use of performance measurement and benchmarking. Case studies were also presented on global infrastructure investment and on the divestment of tobacco-related investments from portfolios.

The conference sessions covered a range of investment topics. Alongside sessions on climate risk, there were several panels on the New Zealand economy, the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous economic development.

While achieving the objectives of IFSWF, the event also presented an opportunity to enhance the profile of the Fund and New Zealand as an international investment destination. The Guardians were named winners at the Asia-Pacific PR Excellence Awards, under the ‘Finance’ category, for our efforts in organising the event.

Information on IFSWF is available at:

Download the case study (PDF 547KB)