PRIMER: What is a Sovereign Wealth Fund?

A Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is a state-owned investment fund or entity that is commonly established from balance of payments surpluses, official foreign currency operations, the proceeds of privatizations, governmental transfer payments, fiscal surpluses, and/or receipts resulting from resource exports. The definition of sovereign wealth fund excludes, among other things, foreign currency reserve assets held by monetary authorities for the traditional balance of payments or monetary policy purposes, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the traditional sense, government-employee pension funds (funded by employee/employer contributions), or assets managed for the benefit of individuals.

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