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Q&A with Dr. Mohammad Reza Farzin, Chairman of the Managing Board of National Development Fund of Iran

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Mohammad Reza Farin

This interview will appear in the 4Q Y2012 (Jan 2013) issue of the Sovereign Wealth Quarterly.

This is a Q&A with Dr. Mohammad Reza Farzin, Chairman of the Managing Board of National Development Fund of Iran.

Dr. Mohammad Reza Farzin was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at the end of May 2012 by the NDFI’s Board of Trustee.

1. What was the genesis of creating the National Development Fund of Iran?

The NDFI can be traced back to the Third Development Plan (2000) when a Foreign Currency Reserve Account (known as Oil Stabilization Fund) was established to stabilize the annual budget and prevent the oil shocks doing harm to the economy. The other objective of OSF was to save a portion of oil revenues for future generations through making productive investments. Given the failure of OSF, it was in the Fifth Development Plan (2011) that NDFI was formed to transform a portion of oil revenues to productive investments and the OSF remained in place only with the single task of keeping the annual budget balanced.

NDFI is mandated with transforming the revenues of export of oil, gas, gas condensates and oil products to sustainable and productive economic wealth and investments, as well as saving the share of future generations from these resources.

The General policies of establishment of NDFI were notified by the Supreme Leader.

2. What are some notable achievements of the National Development Fund of Iran since its establishment in 2011?

Since inception in 2011, the resources accumulated in NDF amount to $42 billion. The by-laws and regulations executed and approved, the structure of NDFI is being modified and some highly-educated and experienced people have joined the Fund. A portion of resource has been allocated to the identified domestic sectors, and a portion is frozen for specific projects. Contracts with 12 banks entered into to act as correspondent and agent intermediaries. Our staff is participating in international forums and workshops and we are expanding our net of communications and relations.

3. Will the National Development Fund of Iran invest internationally? If so, are their certain asset classes or geographic markets of interest?[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Mergermarket Gets Ready to be Sold

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Private equity firm BC Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the sales of Acuris. Acuris is a collection of financial news and data sites, which includes Mergermarket, Dealreporter, and Debtwire. In 2017, BC Partners sold around a 30% stake in GIC Private Limited.

Before the rebranding to Acuris, Mergermarket was part of The Financial Times Group until 2013 when it was sold off to BC Partners.

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Why Japan Post Sees Promise in Aflac

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Aflac Inc. is an American insurance company founded in 1955. The company is the biggest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. Aflac also has major operations in Japan.

In December 2018, Japan Post Holdings (JPHLF) signaled it was spending US$ 2.64 billion for a 7-8 % stake in Aflac. The goal is that, in four years time, Aflac will become an affiliate of Japan Post. Japan Post hopes to accomplish this by becoming the largest voting shareholder of the company. The world’s 13th largest company, with 400,000 employees, Japan Post needs to expand to chase further growth, mainly because Japan Post expects the postal business to decline. Diversification is seen as the optimal route to long term stability for the holding company. Japan’s economy is worrying. Japan’s aging population means that many insurance companies are facing a shrinking customer base, Japan Post settled on a plan to expand overseas.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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RDIF and Development Agency of Serbia Agree to Explore Joint Investments

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Development Agency of Serbia, also known as Razvojna agencija Srbije, reached an agreement to work together to identify attractive investment projects to strengthen bilateral economic ties and increase investment flows between Russia and Serbia. Russian capital and businesses are keen on investing in Serbia.

In addition, the two countries signed an agreement to cooperate on civil nuclear energy, according to state-owned Russian reactor builder Rosatom (Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation). Rosatom continues to expand it business of nuclear cooperation deals in a wide number of countries.

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