Sovereign Wealth Funds Invest in People, Too

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They're big, they're active, and they're hiring.

While Western private equity funds flounder, government-led funds in the Middle East and China are flashing a lot of cash - part of which is going toward headcount expansion.

Citigroup isn't the only one benefiting from their largesse. Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) now control around $2.5 trillion of assets and have invested $37 billion in Western financials alone this year, the Financial Times reports.

With all that money to spend, it's little surprise that some of the largest funds are looking for staff. Dubai International Capital, which made a "substantial investment" in Sony late in November, is hiring everything from associates and senior associates to vice presidents.

Similarly, the China Investment Corporation is advertising for risk managers, compliance managers and an assortment of fund management professionals. Candidates are asked to submit their resumes before Dec. 6.

Open to Outsiders

You don't necessarily need to be Chinese or Arabic to land a job. While some of the jobs in China specify prior experience working for a "state owned enterprise," others actually cite an overseas education or overseas work experience as a prerequisite.

The head of recruitment at a Middle Eastern fund says private equity experience counts for more than an ability to speak Arabic: "We're very open to people moving from London - it's not necessary that you have prior knowledge of the region," he told us.

Pay is decidedly opaque, with no one willing to say whether employees of sovereign funds receive carried interest (we think not), and the China Investment Corporation reportedly telling the FT that pay won't be competitive with the West.

However, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority appears to pay quite well - accounting firm Witan Jardine recently advertised for a regional financial controller for ADIA on 75,000 plus benefits. Not bad, considering it's tax free.

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