Sovereign Investment Academy: the experience from the class


The first edition of The Sovereign Investment Academy (SIA), offered by SDA Bocconi School of Management with the endorsement of IFSWF – The International Forum of SWFs, has just ended.

Managers of Sovereign Wealth Funds from strategic areas of the globe gathered in Milan to explore the most innovative frontiers on long-term investment and sovereign wealth management. Participants from ADIA - Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Fundo Soberano de Angola, Palestine Investment Fund, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Samruk-Kazyna (Kazakhstan), National Development Fund (Iran) and World Gold Council (UK) attended the program.

Drawing on the knowledge legacy of the Sovereign Investment Lab, a specialized research center based at Bocconi University, the SIA Academy offered an intensive, cutting-edge, 5-day learning experience that gave participants the chance to access social and networking events with top-tier academics and an influential community of experts and practitioners. These included Massimiliano Castelli (UBS Global Asset Management), James Kester (Aquitane Partners and former Director of the Private Equity Division at ADIA), Eugene O’Callaghan (Irish Strategic Investment Fund), Andrew Rozanov (Board Member of the Kazakh fund), Frédéric Hoogveld (Amundi Asset Management) and Fabio Scacciavillani (Oman Investment Fund), and many others.

“This course is unique in its focus on SWFs,” says Andrew Rozanov, Director of the board of the National Investment Corporation of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, who adds: “I think the broad range of topics it covers – from demographics to technological innovation, from environmental risks to best practices in institution design, governance and investment management - is directly relevant to Sovereign Wealth Funds. Also, the course offers a good balance between academics and practitioners”.

The Academy has also welcomed two guest lectures, one by Sir Alex Carlile, Director of SC Strategy Limited, who pointed out the relevance of credibility, security and cyber activity for SWFs, and one by Paolo Scaroni, Deputy Chairman of Rothschild and former CEO of Eni, who showed reasoned forecasts on the price of oil considering different geopolitical possible scenarios.

The participant’s journey concluded with the attendance of the SIL workshop, a landmark event amongst SWF offered by the Sovereign Investment Lab of Bocconi University, in which a rich panel of professors and professionals discussed the future of sustainability and suggested solutions for SWF investment effectiveness in boosting performance in a slow-growth economy. The workshop was also the setting for the presentation of the lab’s 2017 research report on the state of sovereign funds, which underlined an abrupt switch from safe assets (including real estate, hotels and tourism facilities, infrastructure and utilities) to high tech investments in 2016.

“From our standpoint, this launch edition of SIA has been a complete success, and it proves the great synergies achieved by combining research with education and training to satisfy the needs of sophisticated and special players such as SWFs,” explains  Bernardo Bortolotti, Director of the Sovereign Investment Academy as well as of the Sovereign Investment Lab. “I want to thank our outstanding faculty for the depth of their insights and clarity of exposition, and our fantastic class for their enthusiasm, positive interaction, and contribution to the discussion. I was impressed to observe the variety of cultures, perspectives, and interests represented in the class, and remained even more convinced that through dialogue, information sharing, and collaboration SWFs as a united group will make a global difference.”

Some participants’ experience

“Great! I got the chance to interact with participants and faculty members from all other the world who brought their practical and academic experience to the table to share with us. I am now ready to go back home with some attractive investment ideas, good top-down perspective strategy and asset allocation, frameworks and, most important, a network of contacts that I can reach out to at any time to share and to obtain ideas.”
Kaltham Al Ghafli – Investment Manager, ADIA – Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

“I believe that the knowledge shared in class has given me a broader perspective of the different subjects discussed and will enable me to look at projects with different eyes. Thanks to SDA Bocconi for the experience.”
Edson Da Rosa – Project Analyst, Fundo Soberano de Angola

SDA Bocconi School of Management







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