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Qatar Slammed For Breaking Disclosure Agreement

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

GMB Slam Qatar's Refusal To Comply With Good Governance And Financial Disclosure Regulations They Signed Up To In Santiago Agreement

No different in ignoring international norms is their treatment of migrant workers and FIFA's decision to award Qatar a World Cup that will be built by virtual slave labour should be reversed says GMB.

GMB commented on the report that Qatar Investment Authority, which manages an estimated $304bn of holdings including stakes in Hong Kong department store, Harrods and Barclays, ranked last as the least transparent and least likely to comply with corporate governance norms they signed up to in Santiago in 2008. See notes to editors for copy of report in FT.

Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, said "Qatar's refusal to comply with the principles of good governance and financial disclosure regulations of the Santiago Agreement, to which their sovereign wealth fund signed up to in 2008, is what we have come to expect from a ruling elite who believe that their vast wealth allows them to ignore globally accepted standards of behaviour.

No different in ignoring international norms is their treatment of migrant workers in the Gulf State which is nothing short of disgraceful. FIFA's decision to award Qatar a World Cup that will be built by virtual slave labour should be reversed.”

End

Contact: Bert Schouwenburg, 0207 391 6757 or 07974 251764 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Report from the Financial Times October 27, 2014 4:54 pm

QIA leads fund rankings for missing Santiago governance standards

Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, Private Equity CorrespondentAuthor alerts

The world’s most active sovereign wealth funds are also among the least transparent and least likely to comply with corporate governance norms, according to a review by consultancy GeoEconomica.

The Geneva-based political risk group ranked 31 funds against principles of good governance and financial disclosure standards that they all signed up to in Santiago in 2008, and found that many of the most active groups fell short.

GeoEconomica’s conclusion underscores the opaque nature of some funds, which have the deepest pockets, even as they pervade the corporate world by expanding abroad and ramping up their direct investments in companies and infrastructure projects.

Sovereign wealth funds are state-backed entities that typically invest their country’s reserves or revenues from natural resources such as oil and gas. The index represents a combined $4tn in assets.

Qatar Investment Authority, which manages an estimated $304bn of holdings including stakes in Hong Kong department store chain Lifestyle International, Harrods and Barclays, ranked last in GeoEconomica’s Santiago index. It declined to comment.

China Investment Corporation, the world’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund with $650bn of assets including stakes in Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, London’s Canary Wharf and Heathrow airport, was rated “partly compliant” – in the C grade category. CIC declined to comment and has a general policy of not commenting to international media.

Singapore’s GIC, which manages an estimated $315bn of holdings including shares in luxury shoe designer Jimmy Choo, US-listed technology company IMS Health and British roadside recovery company RAC, was also given a C. “It is worth noting that GIC is welcomed in all our investee countries,” GIC said.

Sven Behrendt, managing director at GeoEconomica, said: “The fact that some of the most active of those investors make so little case of transparency should be a big concern?.?.?.?They are transforming the investment scene by taking direct stakes but they reveal little information about themselves.” The highest ranked institutions are East Timor’s and Chile’s funds, of relatively small sizes, according to the index. Government Pension Fund of Norway, the world’s largest state fund with $841bn of holdings, Australia’s Future Fund – with $92bn in assets – and New Zealand Superannuation Fund were rated as fully compliant and given an A minus.

“Many of the sovereign wealth funds thought that by simply signing the principles, the international community would believe they would implement them,” Mr Behrendt said. “This implementation needs to be disclosed so that it can be verified by third parties.”

Some of the oldest sovereign wealth funds in Asia and the Middle East, such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Kuwait Investment Authority and GIC, are rated “partly compliant”, showing that “maturity does not necessarily mean more transparency,” Mr Behrendt said. Russian Direct Investment Fund, the $10bn state-backed fund set up by then President Dmitry Medvedev three years ago, sits in the same category.

A spokesman for ADIA said: “The Santiago Principles have provided a consistent framework for governing the practices of a highly diverse group of investors, and this has been positively received by recipient countries?.?.?.?A byproduct of this initiative has been increased transparency, and ADIA has for the past five years devoted a page on its website to those Principles requiring public disclosure, in addition to publishing a comprehensive Annual Review of our activities.”

KIA did not provide a comment.

 

 

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