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Public fears of sovereign wealth funds

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Scott Jagow: Does the term sovereign wealth funds mean anything to you? Essentially, it's a pile of money invested by a government. China has one, Dubai has one, lots of places have one. We talked about them earlier this year, when they were investing in American banks. Some people are worried that those kinds of investments are politically motivated. So, a group of sovereign wealth funds gathered today in Singapore to address those fears. John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: Sovereign wealth funds pose a dilemma for the U.S. On the one hand the economy craves capital investment from overseas -- especially these days when domestic banks are skittish about lending.

But could investments made by governments in Beijing or Dubai be used for strategic competitive advantage over the U.S.? The meeting, convened by the International Monetary Fund, will try to hammer out a set of best practices to assure Western countries that sovereign wealth fund investments are no threat.

The guidelines will be voluntary, but that should be good enough says Edwin Truman, who tracks sovereign wealth funds at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Edwin Truman: I think there's gonna be a strong degree of naming and shaming or international public opinion that will put pressure on certain funds to comply.

To be credible, Truman says the funds should agree to disclose their assets and profits, and how they decide to make investments.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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