Ussher welcomes sovereign funds to London

The UK City Minister has said she is inviting the Chinese government’s sovereign fund to London. The funds continue on a path towards respectability after Sir David Walker persuaded the Qatar Investment Authority to sign up to his proposals on disclosure and transparency.

Kitty Ussher, the UK City Minister, has said the $200 billion (€136 billion) China Investment Corporation is welcome to use London as a base, according to a speech.

Kitty Ussher

The minister said at a UK financial conference: “I want to send a strong message today that Britain is open for business to investors of all nationalities.”

Ussher said next week she would tell Lou Jiwei, the chairman of the sovereign wealth fund: “Using London as a base allows funds to keep close to the world’s financial markets. We welcome funds using London in that way.”

The increase in the number of sovereign wealth funds doing private equity-like deals led Sir David Walker to include them in the scope of his report on transparency and disclosure in private equity. He has already managed to persuade one sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, to sign up to his proposals.

“All investors need to behave commercially and be seen to behave commercially and have to meet the appropriate standards of governance and transparency,” Ussher said. 

The UK has benefitted from sovereign fund investment since the Kuwait Investment Authority opened its office in London in 1953. “Dubai International Capital bought Travelodge last year, for example, and has invested in HSBC [a UK bank] – and the holdings of Temasek, one of Singapore's funds, include Standard Chartered [also a UK bank],” she said.