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Powerful Investment Funds: Peaceful Or Ticking Bombs?


Kuwait’s Investment Authority recently announced that it will be selling it’s stake in Citigroup, an American Bank Holding Company that owns Citibank (one of the largest national banks in the world), to book a profit of about $1.1 Billion to it’s sovereign wealth fund.

Kuwait bought it’s stake in Citi, just a year ago when this multinational company was cash strapped in the credit fiasco of 2008. One begins to wonder why this short profit decisions was made as Kuwait recently stated that it would not sell it’s stake in companies such as Citigroup and Bank Of America as their investment strategies were “long-term.”

This comes in the face of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. unloading their stake in Barclays, providing a $2.5 billion profit, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund selling their stake, worth about $2.25 billion, of Barclays as well.

It would seem that the big players of the UAE are pulling out their investments of these companies after making strong profits. It begs the question of any of these profits being politically motivated or collaborated . Of course UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has answered that question by characterizing any reports on the UAE’s vast foreign investments as “exaggerated.” Sheikh Khalifa has made it very clear that the UAE’s investments are not in any way politically motivated. But the UAE is home to the many of the largest and most powerful investment funds in the world. Large hedge funds played the role of selling CDS (for an explanation of a CDS, Wikipedia does a great job in lay men terms) to the point of destroying AIG and Lehman, one has to at least realize that these funds are capable of making and destroying markets.

While many call the U.S. financial bailout a terrorist attack in itself, much more rationale minds must consider the damaging effect a large fund could do to a company or small country.

For now, there is no evidence of foul play, but the regulator’s of the financial sector, and it’s legislators have yet another factor to consider when working on new financial legislation in the coming months.

Image via Abandon all fear (AaF) blog, via Matthew Couper (artist) here.

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