The Principality of Monaco has taken a step into the universe of sovereign wealth investment management, with the launch last week of what is being called the Monaco Investment Corp, “supported” by the jurisdiction’s Prince Albert II.
One of the members of a steering committee of “industry veterans” who have been lined up to run the new SWF is Bob Diamond, founder and chief executive of Atlas Merchant Capital, and a former chief executive of Barclays.
The MIC is envisioned as leading a global direct investment programme that will focus on “acquiring controlling positions in companies around the world”, according to a statement announcing the new sovereign wealth entity.
The SWF is being managed by Scepter Partners, an investment syndicate and merchant bank whose founders included financier Rayo Withanage, and which has offices in New York, Hong Kong, Bermuda and Monaco.
Other founders of Scepter Partners are a number of members of Asian and Gulf-based ruling families – including Brunei’s Prince Abdul Ali Yil Kabier – who, according to the statement, assembled a standing syndicate of sovereign investors around US$14bn of discretionary assets from Scepter stakeholders.
In addition to Diamond, other members of the new sovereign wealth fund’s management steering committee include Brady Dougan, former CEO of Credit Suisse, and William Doyle, former CEO of PotashCorp of Saskatchewan.
Scepter is currently moving its leadership to Monaco, where it is establishing its global headquarters, according to the statement.
The SWF’s target clients are described as “select investors” who will be “invited” to invest by Scepter Partners and the principality.
Withanage, whose role with Scepter is executive chairman, added that the MIC would be “a supra-national investment vehicle, exclusively open to sovereign and institutional investors”, although, during its inaugural year, might invite “select Forbes 500 families who are residents or friends of Monaco” to participate.
‘Change the way investors engage’
The new Monaco Investment Corp “will change the way sovereign wealth and private investors engage with large cap investments globally”, according to Prince Albert, who added: “The founders of Scepter and I have both reaffirmed our commitment to back this institution, and we will proactively use our capital and relationships for its success.
“We believe in the financial initiatives and strong leadership of Scepter, and we are confident that the MIC will grow into an institution [about] which we can all be very proud.”
Brunei Prince Kabier added: “Their Highnesses and I are collectively committed to supporting Monaco becoming a major player in global direct investment and building value for stakeholders through the lens of sustainable development.
“We have absolute confidence in Scepter’s leadership, and support the development vision of Prince Albert II of Monaco.”